Running Craft on Laravel Homestead

We’ll walk through setup using Laravel Homestead, a tool for managing your local development environment on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Why Homestead? #

Homestead provides a great local development environment:

  • it’s free, available on multiple platforms, and straightforward to install
  • it runs its included software inside a virtual environment, which can be updated, rebuilt or destroyed without affecting your system
  • it’s highly configurable and well documented
  • it can run multiple projects on one or several machines

Homestead provisions Vagrant boxes based on several virtualization providers that do the lower-level work of emulating hardware, on which Vagrant and Homestead manage software.

Step 1: Install a virtualization provider #

Whatever system you’re on, you’ll need to choose a package and run its installer.

Step 2: Install Vagrant #

Once you’ve installed a provider, you’ll need to download and install Vagrant for your operating system.

Step 3: Install the Homestead machine #

Now we’ll install the virtual machine Homestead uses to power your local development projects.

Run the following command in your terminal:

vagrant box add laravel/homestead

Step 4: Install Homestead #

Next we’ll add configuration files to a project folder for controlling how Homestead creates environments for our web projects to use.

First, use git to clone a copy of the Homestead repository. If you don’t have git installed, you can alternatively visit the Homestead repository, choose “Clone or download” and “Download ZIP”, then extract the contents of the archive to the ~/Homestead directory.

git clone ~/Homestead
cd ~/Homestead
git checkout release

Once those files are established, run the setup script from that directory:

# Mac / Linux...

# Windows...

You may also need to run chmod +x on macOS or Linux in order to execute the setup script.

This will create a configuration file named Homestead.yaml.

Step 5: Configure Homestead #

Open Homestead.yaml in your code editor to customize it.

Set your provider #

provider: virtualbox

If you didn’t install VirtualBox, this should be set to whichever is relevant: vmware_fusion, vmware_workstation, parallels, or hyperv.

Configure shared folders #

The folders property lists the directories that should be available to your Homestead machine. Each line will map a folder on your computer to a location inside /home/vagrant on the virtual machine.

  - map: ~/projects/my-project
    to: /home/vagrant/my-project

The ~/ syntax does not work on Windows. Use the full path instead, like C:\Users\oli\projects\my-project.

You can add a folder for each new project and have as many as you’d like:

  - map: ~/projects/my-project
    to: /home/vagrant/my-project
  - map: ~/projects/my-other-project
    to: /home/vagrant/my-other-project

Add a site #

Now we’ll tell Homestead to map a hostname to Craft’s web root.

If you’ve not installed Craft CMS yet, that’s okay. You can either point to the directory to be created, or come back to this step after installation.

  - map: my-project.test
    to: /home/vagrant/my-project/web

If you’re updating sites later and need your changes to be applied, run vagrant reload --provision.

Add the hostname #

To have your special host name work locally, you’ll need to make a quick edit to /etc/hosts so your local machine knows to route that special domain to your computer instead of the internet.

On macOS and Linux, you’ll need to open /etc/hosts in your code editor. On Windows, it may be at C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts\.

Don’t edit anything else in that file, just add the following and save the file: my-project.test

Make sure the IP address listed matches the one in your Homestead.yaml file.

Launch the Vagrant box #

From your Homestead directory, run vagrant up. The virtual machine will be brought to life.

If Craft is installed, you should be able to visit my-project.test in your browser and see your Craft site.