Quick Tip: Get a Homestead Vagrant VM Up and Running

This quick tip will show you how to get a working Homestead Vagrant Box up and running in no time. Note, this quick tip is based on homestead_improved, my own version of Homestead which doesn’t ask you to deal with SSH keys and automatically forwards port 5000 in order to accommodate Heroku’s Foreman tool.

Relevant articles (optional additional reading):

Step 1 – prerequisites

Make sure you have the newest Vagrant and VirtualBox installed for your operating system.

If on Windows, also install Git Bash via git tools.

Step 2 – cloning

Using a command line (terminal in *nix, git bash on Windows), cd into the folder where you’d like your virtual box to run from. For example, I use Windows as my host OS and have all my Vagrant things on D:\VM\vagrant_boxes.

Run the following command ($DIR is the name of the directory you want your VM to reside in, e.g. “Homestead”):

git clone https://github.com/Swader/homestead_improved $DIR

Step 3 – set up sites and folders

Now cd into $DIR, open Homestead.yaml and change your “folders” section and/or your “sites” section.

“sites” adds new virtual hosts for Nginx, so if you need to access multiple apps on one VM, add them here:

    - map: myapp.com
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/myapp/public
    - map: myapp2.com
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/myapp2/public

Under “folders”, “map” is the location of the folder on the host machine and “to” is the location of the folder in the VM.

For example, if you keep your code in /var/www/myapp and want to test/host it inside the VM, you could change the folders to this:

    - map: /var/www/myapp
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/myapp

To add more of these bindings, just add a new map-to block underneath the current one, like so:

    - map: /var/www/myapp
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/myapp
    - map: /var/www/myapp2
      to: /home/vagrant/Code/myapp2

Note: This is no longer explicitly necessary, because by default HI will now map the current folder (the one the Vagrantfile is in) to the Code folder on the VM. This completely removes the need for changing the folders block, unless you keep your code somewhere else, not specific to this VM’s instance.

Step 4 – hosts

Open your host machine’s hosts file and add a line for each of your added sites listed under the aforementioned sites block: myapp.com myapp2.com

For instructions on how to edit your hosts file on any given OS, see here.

Step 5 – vagrant up

Run vagrant up while inside $DIR, and when the procedure is finished, run vagrant ssh to enter the VM through SSH.

You can now access your sites through the browser on your host machine via http://myapp.com:8000/ and http://myapp2.com:8000/. You can connect to MySQL from the host machine’s Workbench or any other database management tool by selecting the following connection parameters:

  • port: 33060
  • host:
  • username: homestead
  • password: secret

That’s it.

Win an Annual Membership to Learnable,

SitePoint's Learning Platform

  • https://twitter.com/dmathisen36 dmathisen

    Great post, and I know this is setting up Homestead, but I used a similar Vagrant / VirtualBox setup and used PuPHPet (https://puphpet.com/) to set up our VM. Worked out really well.

    • http://www.bitfalls.com/ Bruno Skvorc

      Cheers. We’ve dealt with PuPHPet before (see http://www.sitepoint.com/tag/puphpet/) but it’s been known to fail rather often. Homestead is more standardized, being Laravel-endorsed, and always works. But definitely, tools like PuPHPet and Vaprobash are priceless when you need to change things up.

      • https://twitter.com/dmathisen36 dmathisen

        Yeah, I’ve had issues with version upgrades, etc. So it’s definitely not perfect. I’m not familiar with Homestead… will have to check it out.

  • http://www.bitfalls.com/ Bruno Skvorc

    You should install Laravel via Composer into the Code folder, did you do that? If you did, not sure, it should work, I use this procedure every day.

    See the error logs of Nginx inside Homestead with `sudo less /var/log/nginx/myapp.com-error.log` and press SHIFT+G to go to the bottom of the file. It should tell you which path it’s looking for the input file in.

    • saim

      Hi Bruno,

      My mistake – I had incorrectly declared my ‘folders’ path. Thank you for your quick reply and again, the great tutorial!

      Thanks again!

      • http://www.bitfalls.com/ Bruno Skvorc

        No problem, glad you liked it!

  • Phyo Thu Aung

    when I do “vagrant up”, I got an error saying “the shared folder guest path must be absolute”. any idea why?