Laravel 5.1 Beauty - Homestead and the Laravel Installer

About the two composer commands, the daily workflow, and six steps for new Laravel 5.1 projects

Posted on March 14, 2015 in L5 Beauty
Note this is the third step of the tutorial and it is assumed all software from previous steps have successfully been installed.

This chapter explores the two composer tools previously installed: homestead and laravel. A typical daily workflow is examined, as are the six steps to set up any new Laravel 5.1 project.

Chapter Contents

The Homestead Tool

Console Defined

Whenever you are prompted to do something from the console, context is important.

The homestead console means connecting to the Homestead VM via SSH. For Windows, this means using PuTTY (explained in the chapter on setting up a Windows machine). With other operating systems you can execute the homestead ssh command from within the terminal. Whenever you see the $ prompt in this book you are in the homestead console.

The OS console means either the Windows command prompt or the terminal application you use. (The % prompt in the book is used for your OS specific console.)

From the console of your host operating system, you can easily see what the valid homestead commands are by typing the homestead command without any arguments.

Homestead Commands

% homestead
Laravel Homestead version 2.0.9

  [options] command [arguments]

  --help           -h Display this help message.
  --quiet          -q Do not output any message.
  --verbose        -v|vv|vvv Increase the verbosity of messages: 1 for normal \
output, 2 for more verbose output and 3 for debug.
  --version        -V Display this application version.
  --ansi              Force ANSI output.
  --no-ansi           Disable ANSI output.
  --no-interaction -n Do not ask any interactive question.

Available commands:
  destroy     Destroy the Homestead machine
  edit        Edit the Homestead.yaml file
  halt        Halt the Homestead machine
  help        Displays help for a command
  init        Create a stub Homestead.yaml file
  list        Lists commands
  provision   Re-provisions the Homestead machine
  resume      Resume the suspended Homestead machine
  run         Run commands through the Homestead machine via SSH
  ssh         Login to the Homestead machine via SSH
  status      Get the status of the Homestead machine
  suspend     Suspend the Homestead machine
  up          Start the Homestead machine
  update      Update the Homestead machine image

The main command you’ll use each day is the homestead up command to start the Homestead Virtual Machine.

Overview of Common Homestead Commands

Here’s a quick overview of commonly used Homestead commands.

homestead up
Starts the Homestead Virtual Machine. It turns on the power to the VM. If you use the provision option (homestead up --provision) then any new sites you’ve added will be provisioned.
homestead halt
Stops the Homestead Virtual Machine. In other words, powering off.
homestead suspend
Suspends the Homestead Virtual Machine. It’s like hibernate.
homestead resume
Resumes the suspended Homestead Virtual Machine.
homestead edit
Edit the Homestead.yaml file. This launches whatever editor is associated with YAML files on your operating system.
homestead status
See the current status of the Homestead Virtual Machine.

Examining Homestead.yaml

The configuration settings for Laravel Homestead are contained in the Homestead.yaml file. This file is located in the .homestead directory of your Host OS’s home directory.

If you view the contents of this file, you’ll see what’s below.

Contents of Homestead.yaml

ip: ""
memory: 2048
cpus: 1

authorize: ~/.ssh/

    - ~/.ssh/id_rsa

    - map: ~/Code
      to: /home/vagrant/Code

    - map:
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/Laravel/public

    - homestead

    - key: APP_ENV
      value: local

Here’s a definition of each of the settings.

The internal IP used to access the machine.
How much memory the VM will use.
The number of CPUs the VM will use.
This should point to your public SSH key.
Your private SSH key.
The shared folders. These are the directories in your Host Operating System and where they will appear within the VM. For Windows the ~/Code equates to something like C:\Users\YOU\Code. In OS X, this is /Users/YOU/Code. Under Linux it’s usually something like /home/YOU/Code. Whenever you edit a file in this directory tree on your host machine, it’s instantly available to the Homestead Virtual Machine.
A list of sites (paths each domain points to) that will be set up on the Homestead Virtual Machine each time you provision.
A list of database Homestead should automatically create.
Variables to make available to the homestead environment.

A configuration note

The only change I usually make to the configuration is to change the list of databases to have one database named xhomestead instead of homestead. This way if I forget create an app’s database when creating a new Laravel application, an error occurs. (Otherwise, since the default database for a new application is homestead, no error will occur and I’ll be using the homestead db without realizing it.)

For now, don’t change any homestead configuration values except the databases setting (and then, only if you want to.)

The Homestead Virtual Machine Details

What Value
Hostname homestead
IP Address
Username vagrant
SU Password vagrant
Database Host
Database Port 33060
Database Username homestead
Database Password secret

Adding Software to the Homestead VM

When you need to install new software inside the Homestead Virtual Machine, use the Ubuntu utility apt-get.

It’s an easy two step process.

  1. Upgrade Ubuntu
  2. Install with apt-get

For example, here’s how to install unzip, a handy utility for dealing with zip archives.

First, Upgrade Ubuntu

Upgrading Latest Ubuntu Software

vagrant@homestead:~$ sudo apt-get update
vagrant@homestead:~$ sudo apt-get upgrade

You may have to choose “Y” to continue. If prompted during the installation to pick a configuration it’s generally best to go with the existing or default.

After the Ubuntu OS within the Homestead VM is updated, install unzip.

Next, Install unzip with apt-get

Installing unzip in the Homestead VM

vagrant@homestead:~$ sudo apt-get install unzip

Daily Workflow

The daily workflow when working with homestead consists of three steps:

Step 1 - homestead up - Start the day by booting your Homestead Virtual Machine.

Step 2 - homestead ssh or PuTTY - SSH to the Homestead VM to access files directly and execute artisan commands.

Step 3 - write beautiful code - In your favorite code editor, on your host operating system, write code.

Optional 4th Step - homestead halt - When you are done for the day, you can optionaly power off the Homestead Virtual Machine with the halt command.

Six Steps to Starting a New Laravel 5.1 Project

There are six simple steps to follow whenever starting a new Laravel 5.1 application.

Let’s say we want to create a project called and use test as the project folder.

Step 1 - Create the app skeleton

Using the Laravel Installer (the laravel command installed in a previous chapter) it’s easy to create a new project skeleton.

Creating a new app skeleton

~/Code % laravel new test
Crafting application...
Generating optimized class loader
Compiling common classes
Application key [rzUhyDksVxzTXFjzFYiOWToqpunI2m6X] set successfully.
Application ready! Build something amazing.

Step 2 - Configure the web server

After there’s an application skeleton in place you can set up the Nginx webserver within the homestead environment to serve pages from your app’s public directory.

The homestead environment makes this easy with the serve command.

Setting up a new virtual host in Homestead

~/Code$ serve ~/Code/test/public
dos2unix: converting file /vagrant/scripts/ to Unix format ...
 * Restarting nginx nginx                                                [ OK ]
php5-fpm stop/waiting
php5-fpm start/running, process 2169

This command sets up a new configuration file in /etc/nginx/sites-available for the domain we’ll be using ( and a symbolic link to this file within the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory.

Even when you reboot the machine, this configuration file will be there.

Why not edit Homestead.yaml

Yes. Another alternative is to set up the parameters for the virtual host using the homestead edit command and adding a new entry to the sites: section. But this is easier, and there’s no need to continuously reprovision the Homestead VM.

But, if you’re setting up an app you always want configured, it’s not a bad idea to edit Homestead.yaml and set up the configuration there.

Step 3 - Add the Host to Your Hosts File

Since does not exist in any DNS, an entry must be added to the Host OS’s hosts file. Edit /etc/hosts in Linux or OS X. In Windows the file is C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. In this hosts file point to the IP specified in Homestead.yaml.

Add the following line to this file.

Host entry for

Windows requires admin privileges to edit hosts

In Windows you must launch your editor (such as Notepad, Wordpad, or Sublime Text) as an administrator. In Linux or OS X you can use the sudo command.

Editing hosts with Linux or OS X

sudo nano /etc/hosts
// or
sudo vi /etc/hosts

Step 4 - NPM Local Installs

In order to later use gulp it’s important to make sure all the required npm modules are locally installed.

You can skip this step if you know you will not use gulp.

Change to your project directory in your Host OS’s console and execute the following.

NPM Local Installs

~% cd Code/test
~/Code/test% npm install
npm WARN package.json @ No repository field.

> v8flags@1.0.5 install /Users/chuck/Code/test/node_modules/gulp/\
> node fetch.js

flags for v8 cached.


This will install everything required by gulp locally into the node_modules directory of your project.

Step 5 - Create the app’s database

If your application requires a database, it’s easy to create it within the Homestead VM using the mysql console.

Creating a Database in the Homestead VM

$ mysql --user=homestead --password=secret
mysql> create database test;
mysql> exit;

Once the database is created, edit the .env file in your project’s root directory and change the DB_NAME appropriately.

Change DB_NAME in .env

// Change the following line

// To the correct value

Easy. Now you’ll be able to migrate and create tables. This is covered in a later chapter.

Step 6 - Testing in the Browser

Point your browser to and you should see the page below.

Figure 5.1 - Default Laravel 5.1 Page

Default Laravel Page

If you see anything else then something didn’t work.

Other Homestead Tips

Edit Source Code in your Host Operating System

Although this has been mentioned in an earlier chapter, it bears repeating. Always edit your source code in your Host OS. Through the magic of shared folders, changes you make within the ~/Code directory are immediately seen within the Homestead Virtual Machine.

Use the .homestead/aliases file

Each time you re-provision Homestead with homestead up --provision or homestead provision, the .homestead/aliases file updates the aliases in the Homestead Virtual Machine.

This is a handy place to add aliases, or functions, or even other environment variables.

Keep the Homestead VM up-to-date

As mentioned earlier, two commands will keep the Ubuntu operating system within the Homestead Virtual Machine up to date.

Keeping Ubuntu Updated

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade


This chapter provided details on the homestead and laravel commands. And the Six Steps to a New Laravel 5.1 Project were outlined.

In the next chapter where we’ll do just a bit of testing.

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