Tutorial: How to use PostgreSQL

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use PostgreSQL with your project ✨ πŸš€ 😊

You can find the result of this tutorial on Github here

This tutorial is a natural follow-up of How to write Controllers. You can either go for that tutorial first and come back later or be a rebel, skip it and read on 😊


1. Install Homebrew
2. Install PostgreSQL
3. Create and generate a new project
4. Configure your project to use PostgreSQL
5. Where to go from here

1. Install Homebrew

If you don’t have it yet I highly recommend to get it. It makes it super easy for you to install dependencies like PostgreSQL. To install Homebrew execute the following in your terminal:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

We will also install brew services. It will make it incredibly easy to start the PostgreSQL server and let it start alongside with your mac! It’s awesome ✨!

brew tap homebrew/services

Now whenever you want to know what services are running just execute:

brew services list

2. Install PostgreSQL

Installing PostgreSQL with Homebrew is so easy, what am I even here for πŸ˜„?

brew install postgresql

That’s it. Done. Now to init postgresql just execute the following command:

initdb /usr/local/var/postgres

Next start postgresql using services with:

brew services start postgresql

See how easy brew services makes it? Postgresql now starts alongside your mac!

Now let’s create a database that we want to use in our project. To create a new database we stay in our terminal and just execute:

createdb mycooldb;

Terminal Cheatsheet:

connect to mycooldb database:     psql mycooldb
within postgresql list databases: \l
within postgresql to exit server: \q

Alrighty! You are ready for step 3. Create and generate a new project 😊

3. Create and generate a new project

We will use the outcome of the tutorial mentioned in the beginning as a template to create our new project:

vapor new projectName --template=vaporberlin/my-first-controller

Before we generate an Xcode project we will have to replace FluentSQLite by FluentPostgreSQL and adjust the target as well as we will change the package name within Package.swift:

// swift-tools-version:4.0
import PackageDescription
let package = Package(
name: "projectName", // changed
dependencies: [
// πŸ’§ A server-side Swift web framework.
.package(url: "https://github.com/vapor/vapor.git", from: "3.0.0"),
.package(url: "https://github.com/vapor/leaf.git", from: "3.0.0-rc"),
.package(url: "https://github.com/vapor/fluent-postgresql.git", from: "1.0.0-rc") // changed
targets: [
.target(name: "App", dependencies: ["Vapor", "Leaf", "FluentPostgreSQL"]),
.target(name: "Run", dependencies: ["App"]),
.testTarget(name: "AppTests", dependencies: ["App"]),

Now in the terminal at the root directory projectName/ execute:

vapor update -y

It may take a bit fetching the dependency, but when done you should have a project structure like this:

β”œβ”€β”€ Package.swift
β”œβ”€β”€ Sources/
β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ App/
β”‚ β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Controllers/
β”‚ β”‚ β”‚ └── UserController.swift
β”‚ β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ Models/
β”‚ β”‚ β”‚ └── User.swift
β”‚ β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ app.swift
β”‚ β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ boot.swift
β”‚ β”‚ β”œβ”€β”€ configure.swift
β”‚ β”‚ └── routes.swift
β”‚ └── Run/
β”‚ └── main.swift
β”œβ”€β”€ Tests/
β”œβ”€β”€ Resources/
β”œβ”€β”€ Public/
β”œβ”€β”€ Dependencies/
└── Products/

Before we can run our project we’ll have to configure PostgreSQL. Let’s go πŸš€

4. Configure your project to use PostgreSQL

Our first step is to change everything FluentSQLite related to our new FluentPostgreSQL and register the database information within our configure.swift:

import Vapor
import Leaf
import FluentPostgreSQL // added
public func configure(
_ config: inout Config,
_ env: inout Environment,
_ services: inout Services
) throws {
// Register routes to the router
let router = EngineRouter.default()
try routes(router)
services.register(router, as: Router.self)
try services.register(LeafProvider())
try services.register(FluentPostgreSQLProvider()) // changed
config.prefer(LeafRenderer.self, for: ViewRenderer.self) let postgresqlConfig = PostgreSQLDatabaseConfig(
hostname: "",
port: 5432,
username: "martinlasek",
database: "mycooldb",
password: nil
var migrations = MigrationConfig()
migrations.add(model: User.self, database: .psql) // changed

For me the username is martinlasek but you can find out yours by typing whoami in the terminal. The second step before we can run our project is to adjust our User model in User.swift:

import FluentPostgreSQL  // changed
import Vapor
final class User: PostgreSQLModel {
var id: Int?
var username: String
init(id: Int? = nil, username: String) {
self.id = id
self.username = username
extension User: Content {}extension User: Migration {}

If you now cmd+r or run we should be able to access the /users route 😊!

Note: make sure to select Run as a scheme next to your button before running the app

And that’s it! You successfully configured your project to use postgresql πŸŽ‰πŸš€

5. Where to go from here

You can find a list of all tutorials with example projects on Github here:
πŸ‘‰πŸ» https://github.com/vaporberlin/vaporschool

I am really happy you read my article! If you have any suggestions or improvements of any kind let me know! I’d love to hear from you! 😊

I'm an always optimistic, open minded and knowledge seeking fullstack developer passionate about UI/UX and changing things for the better :)