Laravel Tutorial: Database Migrations

Table of Contents


Laravel provides an easy and powerful way to create database structure using code. This method allows you to define your database tables and columns in text files, which makes it easy to edit and develop as needed. Laravel also provides a built-in rollback method which allows you to revert any database structure changes as needed. Learn more about Laravel database migrations and how to use them.


  • A 1&1 Cloud Server with Laravel and PHP 7.0+ installed.

To install Laravel, follow the instructions in our article Install the Laravel PHP Framework on Ubuntu 16.04.


For this project we will be creating an example website for restaurant reviews. Visitors will be able to submit restaurant reviews using a PHP form, and view existing restaurant reviews which are stored in a MySQL database.

Create the Database

To begin, you will need to create a database for your project, and a database user for Laravel to use. Log in to the MySQL client:

mysql -u root -p

Create a database for the reviews:


The following command will create a user review_site with password JxSLRkdutW and grant the user access to the reviews_db database:

GRANT ALL ON reviews_db.* to review_site@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'JxSLRkdutW';

Create the Laravel Project

Use su to switch to your Laravel user:

su - jdoe

Go to your web directory:

cd /var/www/html

Create the Laravel project:

laravel new reviews

This will create the reviews directory. Move into this directory:

cd reviews

Next, we will set the MySQL credentials in the Laravel environment file. Open the .env file for editing:

nano .env

Find the section which reads:


Change the DB_DATABASE, DB_USERNAME, and DB_PASSWORD lines to include your project's MySQL database name, username, and password:


Save and exit the file.

Create and Run the Migration

Laravel migrations act as a version control system for your database. This allows your team to easily collaborate and edit database design.

Use the make:migration Artisan command to create a migration named create_reviews_table. We will also include the --create flag to create the table user_reviews:

php artisan make:migration create_reviews_table --create=user_reviews

The new migration will be located in the database/migrations directory, and will have a name which includes the timestamp:

jdoe@localhost:/var/www/html/reviews$ ll database/migrations
total 20
drwxrwxr-x 2 jdoe jdoe 4096 Oct 26 16:16 ./
drwxrwxr-x 5 jdoe jdoe 4096 Oct 26 16:15 ../
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jdoe jdoe  746 Oct 26 16:15 2014_10_12_000000_create_users_table.php
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jdoe jdoe  683 Oct 26 16:15 2014_10_12_100000_create_password_resets_table.php
-rw-rw-r-- 1 jdoe jdoe  602 Oct 26 16:16 2017_10_26_161616_create_reviews_table.php

Each migration class includes two methods: up() and down(). The up() method will add new architecture (tables, columns, indexes, etc.) to the database. The down() method will reverse operations which have been performed by the up() method.

Open the database migration file for editing:

nano database/migrations/2017_10_26_161616_create_reviews_table.php

Each migration automatically includes the auto-incrementing id column, and the timestamps() columns. We will be adding three columns to the table:

  • reviewer_name: A string with a maximum of 100 characters.
  • star_rating: An integer.
  • details: A text field.

For a full list of column types, see the official Laravel documentation on migrations.

Locate the up() method section in the migration file:

public function up()
    Schema::create('user_reviews', function (Blueprint $table) {

Add the new column definitions so that this section reads:

public function up()
    Schema::create('user_reviews', function (Blueprint $table) {
        $table->string('reviewer_name', 100);

Save and exit the file. Then run the migration:

php artisan migrate

If you need to reverse (roll back) a migration, use the command:

php artisan migrate:rollback


Tags: Laravel / PHP