Deploy PERN Fullstack App on Heroku and Netlify(Automatic Deploy)

Deploy PERN Fullstack App on Heroku and Netlify

This article will walk you through how to deploy a PERN full-stack app with automatic deployment.


What is PERN?

The PERN stack consists of PostgreSQL, Express, React, and Node. With the Express.js framework, PostgreSQL is used as a backend database. React.js serves as the frontend, and Node.js serves as the backend server.

Deployment Process

Fork this repository to get started.

Take a look at the code provided. There are two folders:

  • client — which contains the front-end code built with React.js, and

  • server — which has the backend developed using Express.js

Let’s make sure the app is running well locally.

Change directory to the server and install the dependencies

cd server

npm install

Open a new terminal. Change directory to the client and install dependencies

cd client

npm install

Create database

Since we are using PostgreSQL for the database. Make sure you have it installed.

Open your terminal and login into Postgres

psql -U postgres

Enter postgres as password.

Create a database named yelp and connect to it.

create database yelp;

\c yelp

We only need two tables for the app.

Create restaurants table

CREATE TABLE restaurants (


  name VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,

  location VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,

  price_range INT NOT NULL check(

    price_range >= 1

    AND price_range <= 5



Create the second table, reviews

CREATE TABLE reviews (


  restaurant_id BIGINT REFERENCES restaurants(id) ON DELETE CASCADE,

  name VARCHAR(50) NOT NULL,

  review TEXT NOT NULL,

  rating INT NOT NULL check(

    rating >= 1

    AND rating <= 5



Populate a row in the restaurants table.

INSERT INTO restaurants(name, location, price_range)

VALUES ('Iya Toyosi Canteen', 'Sagamu', 3);

Set environment variables

Change directory into the server folder and create a .env file. Add the following contents.







Start the app

Open your terminal and navigate to the client folder. Start the client.

npm start

Open a new terminal and navigate to the server folder and start the server.

npm start

Open your browser and go to http://localhost:3000 to see the app running like the screenshot below. You can play around with it.

Server Deployment Process

Let’s start with deploying the server on Heroku.

  1. Visit Heroku and create an account if you don’t have one.

  2. Install the Heroku CLI.

  3. Open your terminal and run the heroku login command after installing the CLI. To complete your login, you will be prompted to enter any key to navigate your web browser. The CLI will then automatically log you in.

  4. Create a new Heroku app

    heroku create

Heroku will generate a random name for your app or pass a parameter to specify your own app name.

heroku create your-app-name

The output

The app name is alluring-bryce-canyon-75245, and the URL to view the app is Relax, it won’t work yet.

Setup Heroku Postgres Database

To create a Postgres database, run this command in your terminal

heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev --app your-app-name

This will create a database and sets a DATABASE_URL environment variable.

Run command heroku addons to check the new addon you just created. You will see the Postgres database created with a name generated automatically, for example postgresql-pointy-04867

nameless-journey-88760  postgresql-pointy-04867  heroku-postgresql:hobby-dev  free   created

To create the tables in the Postgres database, log into the Heroku database

heroku pg:psql database-name  --app your-app-name

Copy and paste the contents from server/config/db.sql to create the two tables and insert a row.

Don’t forget to replace the database name and app name with your own Heroku info.

Test the app locally.


heroku local web

Running this will show you how it will run on Heroku. Open http://localhost:7000/api/v1/restaurants to see the app running locally.

Deploy the server

Finally, it is time to deploy the server on Heroku.

Open your terminal. From the root folder of the project, run this command

heroku git:remote -a alluring-bryce-canyon-75245

You can replace alluring-bryce-canyon-75245 with anything, preferable your Heroku app name.

To push the code, specifically, the server folder, run

git subtree push --prefix server heroku main

The server should be up and running now. Visit https://your-heroku-app-name/api/v1/restaurants

Automate server deployment from a subfolder

Since our project has two folders, server and client, we can let Heroku know the path that leads to the server folder. We won’t have to run the above command every time we want to deploy the server.

  • Go to the Heroku dashboard and choose the app you are working on

  • Click on the Settings tab. You will see the Config Vars section. Click on reveal vars.

  • Set the input with placeholder KEY with PROJECT_PATH and the input with placeholder VALUE with server and click on Add.

  • Still on the Settings tab, you must add a Buildpack that instructs Heroku to locate your folder.

  • Under the Config Vars section, you will see the Buildpack section. Click on add Buildpack and enter as the URL. Save changes.

Ensure it’s at the top of the Buildpack chain (drag the lines on the left to move it above any other Buildpacks you’ve added).

Next, we will enable automatic deployment. To enable it, you must connect the GitHub repository of the project.

  1. Go to the deploy tab. From the deployment method, choose GitHub.

  2. Search and connect the Github repo.

  3. Finally, enable automatic deployment.

Anytime you run git push , the server will deploy automatically. You don’t have to run the below command anymore.

git subtree push --prefix server heroku main

Client Deployment Process

Before deploying, open the project folder and navigate to client/src/apis. Open the RestaurantFinder.js file.

Commit the change and push.

Let’s get started

  • Go to Netlify and login into your account. Create if you don’t have one.

  • After logging in, click on the button new site from git

  • Choose your git provider.

  • Choose the repository you want to deploy.

  • Under Basic Build Settings, fill the inputs as below.

  • Click on Deploy site.

  • After deploying successfully, you will see a link to preview the app.

Netlify also supports automatic deployment. By default, it is enabled.

Anytime you run git push, automatic deployment will start for both Heroku(server) and Netlify(client).

That’s all! You’ve just deployed a full-stack PERN web app successfully.