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Next.js and PlanetScale Netlify Template Tutorial

Build and deploy a Next.js admin dashboard with NextAuth.js, PlanetScale, Prisma, and Netlify.


This guide will show you how to get up and running with the Netlify, Next.js, and PlanetScale starter template. The template includes the following features:

You can see a live demo of the starter application here.

Example of the dashboard applicationExample of the dashboard application

If you're coming from the Netlify Template and you already clicked deploy, you're in the right place! This tutorial will walk you through how to set up your PlanetScale database so that you can fill in the environment variables in the Netlify dashboard. You'll also learn how to set up your local environment so you can continue to develop and extend this starter template. Just read through the prerequisites and then skip the first section to go straight to the local setup.

If you're starting fresh and haven't deployed yet (or don't want to deploy), you can start from the beginning of this tutorial.


To follow along with this guide, you'll need the following:

One-click deploy to Netlify

The one-click deploy button allows you to connect Netlify to your GitHub account to clone the nextjs-planetscale-starter repository and automatically deploy it. Be sure to sign up for a Netlify account before clicking the deploy button.

Deploy to Netlify buttonDeploy to Netlify button

Once you click the button, you'll be taken to Netlify’s direct deploy page with the pre-built project’s repository passed as a parameter in the URL. Click the "Connect to GitHub" button to authorize access.

Next, you'll be asked to configure your site variables. For the Secret value, navigate to to generate a secret and then paste that in. You can leave the Database URL and NextAuth URL values blank for now. Click "Save & Deploy".

Your site will take about a minute to build and then you'll be taken to a settings page. A unique Netlify URL will be generated for the project. You can click that now to see your live site! The next section will show you how to set the project up locally and create your PlanetScale database to connect to your live site.

Set up the project locally

If you already went through the Netlify deployment, find the repository that was created for you in your GitHub account and clone it.

If you didn't deploy and just want to run the template locally, you can clone the nextjs-planetscale-starter repository.

Enter into the folder and install the dependencies:

yarn install

Run the application with:

yarn next

Navigate to http://localhost:3000/ in your browser to view the PlanetScale Next.js Starter app.

Next.js PlanetScale Starter application homepageNext.js PlanetScale Starter application homepage

Database setup

Next, you need to set up your PlanetScale database. If you don't already have a PlanetScale account, you can sign up for a free one here.

Create your database

To begin, create a new database. You can either do this in the dashboard or using the PlanetScale CLI.

In the dashboard, click on the "Create a database" button. Name your database "netlify-starter", or whatever name you wish. Select the region closest to you, and click "Create database".

Next, go to the "Settings" page for your database and check the "Automatically copy migration data" box, select "Prisma" from the "Migration framework" dropdown, and click "Save".

Alternatively, sign in and create a database with the CLI by running the following:

pscale database create <database-name> -regionSlug

The list of region slugs can be found in our Regions documentation. You'll still need to go into the dashboard to enable automatically copying the migration data.

Set up Prisma shadow branch

Next, you need to set up the Prisma shadow branch. This is a temporary database used for Prisma development.

To create the Prisma shadow branch:

  • Click on your netlify-starter database in your PlanetScale dashboard.
  • Click on the "New branch" button.
  • Name the branch shadow.
  • Leave the base branch as main.
  • Select the region closest to you or your application.
  • Click "Create branch".

Connect to your database branches locally

To connect locally, make sure you've authenticated in the CLI. If not, follow the directions in the sign-in section of our quick start guide.

Next, connect to your main and shadow branches locally by running the following in your terminal in two separate tabs:

pscale connect <database-name> main --port <port>
pscale connect <database-name> shadow --port <port>

Choose any unused port. This tutorial uses 3309 and 3310. You'll see the response "Secure connection to database netlify-starter and branch main is established!" along with the local address that your application is on. Take note of that address for the next step.

Set up local environment variables

For the last part of setup, you need to fill in your environment variables.

Make a copy of the .env.example file at the root of your project and rename it .env:

cp .env.example .env

The DATABASE_URL and SHADOW_DATABASE_URL values come from your PlanetScale database and will be in the following form:


  • user the database user
  • address the local address returned in the previous step
  • port the port you specified in the previous step
  • database the name of your database

Below is an example of the .env file based on this tutorial:

# Navigate to to generate a secret for the variable below

Remember, these are the values for your local environment. The values needed for the Netlify environment variables will be covered shortly.

Migrate the database

Now that your PlanetScale database is connected to your application, it's time to run migrations and seed the database with some sample users.

In your terminal, run:

yarn db:migrate

Name your migration initial-migration. This will create a new migration file under db/migrations.

You can view the schema in your PlanetScale dashboard by clicking the netlify-starter database > "Branches" > main > "Schema" > "Refresh schema".

You'll now see the following tables:

  • Account
  • Session
  • User
  • VerificationToken
  • _prisma_migrations

You can also verify it worked using the PlanetScale CLI. Run the following to start a MySQL shell (where netlify-starter is your database):

pscale shell netlify-starter main

Once in the shell, view the tables with:

SHOW tables;

Type exit to exit the MySQL shell.

The database schema, db/schema.prisma, has been loaded and your PlanetScale database is now ready for data.

Seed the database

To seed the database, run the following:

yarn db:seed

This will add three mock users to the User database, as described in db/seed.ts. To verify that they were added, click on the "Console" tab in your PlanetScale dashboard on the main branch of your netlify-starter database.

Run the following:

SELECT * from User;

You can also run this command from the CLI using the same pscale shell command mentioned above.

Netlify environment variables

Now that you have your site running locally, let's shift back to the live Netlify site.

The final step in the site deployment is configuring your production environment variables. In the Netlify dashboard under your site's settings page, click on "Build & deploy" > "Environment" in the left nav.

Click on the "Edit variables" button and enter in the following key/value pairs:

  • DATABASE_URL To find this value, go back to your PlanetScale dashboard, click on the netlify-starter database, and select the main branch under "Branches". Click on the "Connect" dropdown and then click the "Generate new password" button. Next, click on the "General"" dropdown in that modal and select "Prisma". Copy the value for url and paste that back in the Netlify dashboard as the value for DATABASE_URL. Be sure to save your PlanetScale password somewhere as you won't be able to access it again after closing the modal.
  • NEXTAUTH_SECRET You may have already filled this out, but if not generate a new secret at and paste in the value that's returned.
  • NEXTAUTH_URL Paste in the Netlify site name that was generated for you. For example,

Click "Save". Now, redeploy the site with these new variables by going to "Deploys" in the top nav and clicking the "Trigger deploy" > "Deploy site" button.

Set up your admin account

Now that your site is live and connected to your PlanetScale database, you need to set up your admin account for your application. Go to /admin/setup on your live Netlify site (or locally if you didn't deploy), and fill in the form to set up your account. This will be automatically saved to your PlanetScale database.

Creating an admin account gives you access to the /admin route in your application, which is the dashboard to manage your users.

Once you're signed in as an admin, navigate to /admin to see a list of your users.

Customize and extend

And that's it! If you followed this tutorial completely, you now have a local and production version of your Next.js + PlanetScale + Prisma admin dashboard. So what's next?

Now, it's time to extend it! Next.js Authentication is baked into this starter, so you can explore the Next.js docs to manage authentication in your application.

You also have a fully functional PlanetScale MySQL database built for scale using the power of Vitess. You might have noticed that this tutorial uses the same database locally as it is in production. This was just for simplicity, but with PlanetScale, you can take advantage of our powerful branching feature to create development branches of your database specifically for testing locally. All you have to do is create a new branch and swap out the DATABASE_URL environment variable in your local .env file.

Finally, you have Prisma ORM already configured in your application. If you want to add any more fields to your User table or create any new tables, Prisma makes it easy with the schema.prisma file. If you want to make any schema changes, it's a perfect time to try out the PlanetScale branching feature. If you mess up, those changes won't touch production. And once you're satisfied with the changes, you can deploy to production without causing downtime thanks to PlanetScale's non-blocking schema changes.

Hopefully this tutorial has been helpful. We'd love to hear how you're extending your starter application. Tweet us @PlanetScaleData and share what you built!

Need help?

Get help from PlanetScale's support team, or join our GitHub Discussion board to see how others are using PlanetScale.

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Last updated on November 20, 2021
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