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User Experience

How To Deploy a Production Strapi App with a ReactJS Frontend

05 November 2023 by Sara Wahba

Deploying a web application involves various steps and considerations to ensure the app is secure, scalable, and reliable. For developers utilizing Strapi as their backend and ReactJS as the front end, achieving a seamless Strapi deployment process is crucial. In this post, Kapsys will guide you through deploying a Strapi app with a ReactJS frontend, focusing on Strapi Vercel deployment methods for a smooth production launch.

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Understanding Strapi and ReactJS Integration

Before diving into the deployment process, it's essential to understand how Strapi and ReactJS work together.


What is Strapi?

Strapi is a headless CMS that allows developers to build APIs quickly. It's open-source, JavaScript-based, and provides a great deal of flexibility with a customizable admin panel and API.


What is ReactJS?

ReactJS is a JavaScript library for building user interfaces maintained by Facebook. Its component-based architecture makes it an excellent choice for developing dynamic web applications.

Combining Strapi's backend capabilities with ReactJS's frontend prowess results in a full-stack application that's scalable and easy to maintain.

What is ReactJS

Preparing for Deployment

Before deploying, ensure your Strapi application and ReactJS frontend are ready for production.

Setting Up Your Strapi Application

Ensure that your Strapi application is set up correctly, with environment variables, security settings, and database configurations properly configured.

Optimizing Your ReactJS Frontend

Optimize your React app for production by running npm run build to create an optimized production build.

Strapi Deploy: The Basics

Deploying a Strapi application involves hosting the CMS and making it accessible online.

Choosing a Hosting Provider

Select a hosting provider that meets your needs. Providers like Heroku, AWS, and DigitalOcean are popular choices for Strapi applications.

Database Setup

Choose a production-ready database such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, or MongoDB. Ensure it's accessible by your hosting provider.

Deploying Strapi on Vercel

Vercel is a cloud platform that enables developers to deploy sites and web services with ease. Let's explore how to deploy Strapi on Vercel step-by-step.

Setting Up Your Project for Vercel

To deploy Strapi on Vercel, your project should be in a Git repository, as Vercel uses Git hooks for deployment.

Configuring Environment Variables

Configure your environment variables on Vercel to match those in your development environment, ensuring that sensitive information is not pushed to the repository.

Vercel Deployment Settings

Adjust your project’s settings in the Vercel dashboard to match your project's requirements, like build commands and output directory.

Strapi Vercel Deploy Step-by-Step

Deploying a Strapi application on Vercel is a multi-step process that requires careful preparation of both your Strapi backend and your frontend, such as ReactJS. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you through the Strapi Vercel deploy process.

Step 1: Prepare Your Strapi Application for Deployment

Before deploying your Strapi application, you must ensure it is ready for production.

  • Clean Up Your Code: Go through your code to remove any unnecessary console logs, debuggers, or comments.
  • Configure Environment Variables: Set up your environment variables for production. Strapi requires several environment variables, such as database credentials, which should not be hard-coded into your application.
  • Optimize Performance: Look for any opportunities to optimize your Strapi application, such as by using plugins for caching.

Step 2: Set Up a Git Repository

Vercel deploys from a Git repository. If your Strapi app isn't already in a repository, you must create one.

  • Initialize a Git Repository: Run git init in your Strapi project folder.
  • Commit Your Code: Add your files git add . and commit them using git commit -m "Initial commit".

Step 3: Push Your Code to a Git Provider

Create a new repository on your Git provider (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) and push your local code to it.

  • Create a Remote Repository: Follow your Git provider's instructions to create a new repository.
  • Push the Code: Link your local repository to the remote and push your code with git push -u origin master.

Step 4: Sign Up/Login to Vercel

If you haven't already, create a Vercel account.

  • Visit Vercel: Go to the Vercel website and sign up or log in.
  • Connect Your Git Provider: In the Vercel dashboard, connect your Git provider by following the provided instructions.

Step 5: Import Your Project into Vercel

Now, you will import your project from your Git provider into Vercel.

  • Import Project: In the Vercel dashboard, choose "Import Project."
  • Select Your Repository: Choose the repository where your Strapi application resides.

Step 6: Configure Your Strapi Project on Vercel

During the import process, Vercel will ask for various configurations.

  • Override Build Command: If necessary, override the build command. Strapi doesn't require a build, but you may want to run a build script for your frontend.
  • Set Environment Variables: Add all the environment variables required for your Strapi application to run.
  • Configure Output Directory: This step is typically for static sites. For Strapi, you can leave this blank.

Step 7: Deploy Your Strapi Application

Once configured your project settings, you can deploy your Strapi application.

  • Deploy: Click on the "Deploy" button in Vercel. Vercel will clone your repository, run your setup commands, and deploy your Strapi app.

Step 8: Configure Your Production Database

For Strapi to run properly, you need a production database.

  • Set Up a Database: Use a service like Amazon RDS, DigitalOcean Managed Databases, or another cloud provider to set up a production database.
  • Configure Strapi: Update your Strapi configuration to use the production database credentials.

Step 9: Update DNS Settings

After your Strapi app is deployed, you want to update your domain's DNS settings.

  • Set Up a Domain: In your Vercel dashboard, create a custom domain for your Strapi application.
  • Configure DNS: Update your DNS provider’s settings to point to Vercel’s servers.

Step 10: Test Your Deployment

After your Strapi app is live, perform thorough testing to ensure everything works as expected.

  • Check Endpoints: Make sure all of your Strapi endpoints are accessible.
  • Test Functionality: Test the functionality of your Strapi application to ensure all features are working correctly.

Step 11: Deploy Your Frontend

With your backend deployed, you can now deploy your ReactJS or other frontend frameworks.

  • Repeat Steps: Repeat the import, configuration, and deployment steps for your frontend application.
  • Point to Strapi: Ensure your frontend points to the correct Strapi API URL.

Step 12: Verify Everything Works Together

Once your Strapi backend and frontend are deployed, verify that they work harmoniously.

  • End-to-End Testing: Perform end-to-end testing to ensure that the frontend communicates properly with the Strapi backend.

Step 13: Monitor Your Deployment

Finally, keep an eye on your deployment.

  • Monitor Performance: Use Vercel’s integrated monitoring tools or third-party services to monitor your application's performance.
  • Watch for Errors: Keep an eye on your logs for any errors or issues that may arise.

Deploying your Strapi app to Vercel can be a straightforward process with the right preparation and steps. With this guide, you should be able to perform a strapi vercel deploy with confidence, knowing you’ve followed a comprehensive approach for a successful launch.

Deploying ReactJS Frontend on Vercel

Deploying a ReactJS frontend on Vercel is a straightforward process, thanks to the platform's support for frontend frameworks and static site generation. Vercel is designed to offer a smooth deployment experience for React applications with features like serverless functions, automatic SSL, and global CDN.

Deploying ReactJS Frontend on Vercel

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deploy your ReactJS application on Vercel:

Step 1: Prepare Your React Application

Before deploying, ensure your React app is production-ready:

  • Optimize Your Code: Use tools like Webpack or Create React App's built-in scripts to bundle and minify your code.
  • Remove Unused Code: Eliminate dead code to reduce bundle size.
  • Test Locally: Ensure your app runs without errors and as expected.

Step 2: Push Your Code to a Git Repository

Vercel works well with Git. If you haven't already:

  • Initialize a Git Repo: Run git init if you haven't initialized your project repository.
  • Commit and Push: Commit your changes and push the code to a Git provider (GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket).

Step 3: Sign Up or Log Into Vercel

If you are new to Vercel:

  • Create an Account: Go to the Vercel website and sign up for an account.
  • Log In: If you already have an account, simply log in.

Step 4: Import Your Project

Once logged in:

  • Import Your Git Repository: On the Vercel dashboard, click the "New Project" button and import your Git repository where your React app is.

Step 5: Configure Your Project

During the import process, Vercel will automatically detect that you are running a React application and suggest build settings. You can:

  • Review Build Settings: Check that the build commands and output directory are correct (usually npm run build and the build folder for React apps).
  • Add Environment Variables: If your application requires them, add environment variables through the Vercel dashboard.

Step 6: Deploy Your React Application

After configuring your project:

  • Deploy: Click on the "Deploy" button. Vercel will clone your repository, install dependencies, run the build command, and deploy your application.

Step 7: Update Your Domain Settings (Optional)

After your first deployment:

  • Set a Custom Domain: If you want to use a custom domain, you can configure it in the "Settings" tab of your Vercel project.
  • Configure DNS: Point your custom domain to Vercel's nameservers or use the provided CNAME record.

Step 8: Automatic Deployments on Git Push

One of the benefits of Vercel is the automatic deployment of each git push:

  • Push New Changes: Every time you push new changes to your connected Git branch, Vercel automatically deploys the new version.

Step 9: Monitor and Scale

After your application is deployed:

  • Monitor Your App: Use Vercel Analytics or integrate with third-party services to monitor your app's performance.
  • Scale if Necessary: Although Vercel automatically scales your deployments, you can customize scaling behavior as needed.

Step 10: Additional Configurations

For advanced use cases:

  • Serverless Functions: If you need backend functionality, Vercel supports serverless functions that you can add to your project.
  • Rewrites and Redirects: Configure custom routes if you need to set up rewrites or redirects.

Final Checks and Troubleshooting

  • Check Deployment: Visit the provided .vercel.app URL to check your deployment.
  • Review Logs: If there are issues, review the deployment logs in the Vercel dashboard for clues on what went wrong.
  • Consult Documentation: Vercel’s extensive documentation can help troubleshoot common problems.

By following these steps, you should have your ReactJS application running on Vercel quickly. Remember, every deployment is automatically aliased to a unique .vercel.app domain, which you can use for testing before updating your production domain.

Post-Deployment Steps

After deployment, there are several steps you should follow to ensure the ongoing stability and security of your application.

Monitoring Your Application

Use Vercel's built-in monitoring tools or integrate with services like Datadog to monitor your app's performance.

Setting Up Domain and SSL

Configure your custom domain on Vercel and ensure SSL is in place for security.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Deployment can come with its fair share of challenges. Here’s how to troubleshoot some common issues.

Debugging Deployment Failures

Use the logs provided by Vercel to identify and resolve issues during the deployment process.

Database Connection Issues

Ensure your database is configured correctly to accept connections from Vercel's servers.

Best Practices for Strapi Deploy

Best Practices for Strapi Deploy

Deploying a Strapi application is a crucial step towards making your content accessible to the world. To ensure that your deployment is not just successful but also maintains high performance, security, and reliability, following best practices is key. Here are some essential best practices to consider when deploying your Strapi application.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Automate Your Deployment

  • Use CI/CD Pipelines: Automate your deployment process with CI/CD pipelines to reduce human error and streamline updates. Services like GitHub Actions, GitLab CI/CD, and Jenkins can help automate your Strapi deployment.
  • Run Tests: Always run your test suite in your CI/CD pipeline before deploying to catch any issues early.

Environment Configuration

Manage Environment Variables Securely

  • Keep Secrets Safe: Use environment variables for sensitive information and never commit secrets to your repository.
  • Use Different Configurations: Set up separate configurations for development, staging, and production environments.

Database Management

Optimize Your Database

  • Connection Pooling: Implement connection pooling to improve database connections and response times.
  • Regular Maintenance: Perform regular database maintenance tasks like indexing and cleanups.

Backup Regularly

  • Data Redundancy: Ensure your database is backed up regularly to prevent data loss.
  • Test Your Backups: Regularly test backups to ensure they can be restored successfully.

Security Measures

Keep Strapi Updated

  • Apply Updates Promptly: Keep your Strapi application updated with the latest patches and versions for security and functionality.

Implement SSL/TLS

  • Encrypt Data: Use SSL/TLS encryption to secure data transmitted between the client and server.

Regular Security Audits

  • Audit Dependencies: Regularly audit your dependencies for vulnerabilities using tools like npm audit or snyk.
  • Review Permissions: Regularly review and minimize permissions for database access, file system, and admin users.

Server Configuration

Scale Efficiently

  • Load Balancing: Use load balancers to distribute traffic and reduce the load on a single server instance.
  • Horizontal Scaling: Consider scaling your Strapi app horizontally by adding more servers as demand increases.

Monitor Server Health

  • Resource Utilization: Monitor server resource utilization to identify and alleviate bottlenecks.
  • Uptime Monitoring: Implement uptime monitoring with tools like Uptime Robot, Pingdom, or New Relic.

Performance Optimization

Cache Content

  • Use Caching: Implement caching strategies for your API responses to reduce load and server response times.

Optimize Assets

  • Compress Images: Use image compression to reduce the size of your assets.
  • Use CDNs: Serve static assets through CDNs to reduce latency and speed up content delivery.

Code Management

Version Control

  • Branching Strategy: Adopt a branching strategy like Git Flow to manage different stages of development and deployment.

Code Reviews

  • Merge Requests: Use merge requests and code reviews to maintain code quality and catch issues before deployment.

Documentation and Maintenance

Keep Documentation Updated

  • Document Changes: Maintain up-to-date documentation for your deployment process and environment configurations.

Schedule Downtime Appropriately

  • Plan Maintenance Windows: Schedule downtime for off-peak hours and notify users beforehand.

Regular Health Checks

  • Automated Checks: Implement automated health checks to ensure your API responds as expected.

By following these best practices for Strapi deploy, you can create a robust deployment pipeline that ensures your Strapi application is secure, stable, and scalable. Remember, the needs of your application may evolve over time, so it's essential to revisit and refine your deployment strategy regularly to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Deploying a Strapi app with a ReactJS frontend to production can seem daunting, but with the right tools and processes, it's a streamlined procedure. By utilizing Strapi Vercel deploy methods, you can enjoy a scalable, efficient, and powerful application ready for your users.

Remember, deployment is just the beginning. Maintain, monitor, and update your application regularly to ensure it performs at peak. Happy deploying!

Following this comprehensive guide, you should have a solid understanding of deploying a Strapi app with a ReactJS frontend. Both Strapi and Vercel provide excellent documentation to further assist developers during the deployment process, which you can find on their websites. Good luck with your Strapi deploy endeavors!