Project Setup

Nitro is no longer supported. Please see our announcement and DDEV migration guide.

Setting up sites and working with databases after you’ve installed Nitro.

# Setting Up Sites

Nitro needs a few things in order to set up a site:

  • A container needs to be added to serve your site.
  • The container has to mount a local folder with your sites code.
  • Your system’s hosts file needs to be updated to associate your site’s hostname with Nitro.

# Adding a Site with nitro add

You can navigate to an existing project folder and add a site for it using the add command:

$ cd /path/to/project
$ nitro add
Adding site…
Enter the hostname [mysite.test]:
  ✓ setting hostname to mysite.test
  ✓ adding site ~/dev/support/mysite.test
Enter the web root for the site [web]:
  ✓ using web root web
Choose a PHP version:
  1. 8.0
  2. 7.4
  3. 7.3
  4. 7.2
  5. 7.1
  6. 7.0
Enter your selection: 2
  ✓ setting PHP version 7.4
  … saving file ✓
Site added 🌍
Apply changes now [Y/n]? y
Checking network…
  ✓ network ready
Checking proxy…
  ✓ proxy ready
Checking databases…
  … checking mysql-8.0-3306.nitro ✓
  … checking postgres-13-5432.nitro ✓
Checking mounts…
  … checking ~/dev/craftcms/cms-3 ✓
Checking services…
  … checking mailhog service ✓
Checking sites…
  … checking mysite.test ✓
Checking proxy…
  … updating proxy ✓
Modifying hosts file (you might be prompted for your password)
Adding sites to hosts file…
  … modifying hosts file ✓
Nitro is up and running 😃

# Creating a New Site with nitro create

The add command establishes a site from an existing project, but you can use create to initialize a brand new project and create a site for it.

By default it sets up a Craft CMS project just like you’d get running composer create-project craftcms/craft my-project to get a fresh Craft installation.

Below we’ll install Craft in a new tutorial/ directory with tutorial.nitro as its hostname:

$ nitro create tutorial
Downloading ...
  … setting up project ✓
New site downloaded 🤓
Enter the hostname [tutorial.nitro]:
  ✓ setting hostname to tutorial.nitro
  ✓ adding site ~/dev/tutorial
Enter the web root for the site [web]:
  ✓ using web root web
Choose a PHP version:
  1. 8.0
  2. 7.4
  3. 7.3
  4. 7.2
  5. 7.1
  6. 7.0
Enter your selection: 1
  ✓ setting PHP version 8.0
Add a database for the site [Y/n]
Select the database engine:
  1. mysql-8.0-3306.database.nitro
  2. postgres-13-5432.database.nitro
Enter your selection: 2
Enter the new database name: tutorial
  … creating database tutorial ✓
Database added 💪
Should we update the env file? [Y/n] y
.env updated!
  … checking /Users/oli/dev/tutorial/composer.json ✓
No lock file found. Updating dependencies instead of installing from lock file. Use composer update over composer install if you do not have a lock file.
Loading composer repositories with package information
Updating dependencies
Lock file operations: 87 installs, 0 updates, 0 removals
# removed for brevity

nitro create performs the following steps:

  1. Creates a project using the latest craftcms/craft (opens new window) boilerplate from GitHub.
  2. Creates the tutorial directory and copies the craftcms/craft contents into it.
  3. Prompts for the new Nitro site’s hostname.
  4. Prompts for the site’s PHP version.
  5. Copies .env.example to .env.
  6. Prompts for database creation. If you choose to create a database, you’ll be prompted for its name and Nitro will offer to update the .env database settings automatically.
  7. Installs Composer dependencies using nitro composer.
  8. Prompts you to run nitro apply in order to update Nitro’s settings and your hosts file.

If you’re installing Craft, don’t forget to run the setup wizard with nitro craft setup after nitro create has finished!

You can pass your own repository to nitro create and use that as the scaffold:

nitro create my-project

# Mounting Your Entire Development Folder

If you manage all your projects within a single dev folder, you can mount that folder once within Nitro and point each site’s web root to the relevant sub-directory within it.

Open your ~/.nitro/nitro.yaml file in a text editor (or run the edit command), and add sites that each point their path setting to your dev folder.

Pretend you use a dev directory that lives in your home folder, with each project in a subdirectory:

├── happy-lager
├── ...
└── web
├── spoke-and-chain
├── ...
└── web
└── starter-blog
    ├── ...
    └── web

You can point to the dev folder for every site’s path, with a specific webroot for each one:




 - hostname: happylager.nitro
   path: ~/dev
   webroot: happy-lager/web
   version: "7.4"
   xdebug: false
 - hostname: spokeandchain.nitro
   path: ~/dev
   webroot: spoke-and-chain/web
   version: "7.4"
   xdebug: false
 - hostname: starterblog.nitro
   path: ~/dev
   webroot: starter-blog/web
   version: "7.4"
   xdebug: false

Run nitro apply to apply your nitro.yaml changes.

If you have a large number of files in the development folder, it may be more performant to mount sites individually using nitro add.

If your projects contain any symlinks, such as path Composer repositories, those symlinks must be relative (../), not absolute (/ or ~/).

# Adding Site Aliases

If you need a given site to have more than one domain name associated with it, as you might with a multi-site Craft install for example, you can add any number of domain aliases with the alias command.

If we wanted the project at spokeandchain.nitro to also be available at en.spokeandchain.nitro and fr.spokeandchain.nitro, for example, we would add those domains as aliases like this:

$ nitro alias
 Select a site:
  1. happylager.nitro
  2. spokeandchain.nitro
  3. starterblog.nitro
Enter your selection: 2
No existing aliases are set for spokeandchain.nitro
Enter the alias domain for the site (use commas to enter multiple): en.spokeandchain.nitro,fr.spokeandchain.nitro
Adding aliases:
Apply changes now [Y/n] y

# Connecting to the Database

To connect to the machine from a Craft install, set the following environment variables in your .env file:

# `nitro` is the default database

Use the context command to get the database hostname:


$ nitro context
Craft Nitro 2.0.0-alpha

Configuration:   /Users/oli/.nitro/nitro.yaml

  hostname:  happylager.nitro
  php:   7.4
  webroot:   happy-lager/web
  path:  ~/dev
  hostname:  spokeandchain.nitro
  php:   7.4
  webroot:   spoke-and-chain/web
  path:  ~/dev
  hostname:  starterblog.nitro
  php:   7.4
  webroot:   starter-blog/web
  path:  ~/dev
  engine:    mysql 5.7  hostname: mysql-5.7-3306.database.nitro
  username:  nitro  password: nitro
  port:  3306
  engine:    postgres 12    hostname: postgres-12-5432.database.nitro
  username:  nitro  password: nitro
  port:  5432

Then from your SQL client of choice, create a new database connection with the following settings:

  • Host: hostname from nitro context.
  • Port: Database port. (3306 for MySQL or 5432 for PostgreSQL by default).
  • Username: nitro
  • Password: nitro

Your .env file may need different connection settings than your host machine. Use the engine’s default port in your .env file, and any custom port on your host machine. See How Nitro Works for more.

# Adding a Database

Nitro creates its initial nitro database for you. You can add as many databases as you’d like running the following command, which will prompt for your desired database engine and name:

$ nitro db add

# Adding Multiple Database Engines

To run multiple database engines on the same machine, open your ~/.nitro/nitro-dev.yaml file in a text editor (or run the edit command), and list additional databases under the databases key:

 - engine: mysql
   version: "5.7"
   port: "3306"
 - engine: mysql
   version: "5.6"
   port: "33061"
 - engine: postgres
   version: "11"
   port: "5432"

Each database engine needs its own unique port.

Run nitro apply to apply your nitro.yaml changes.