Lab Homework 10: Deploying a Dynamic Website

In this lab, you’ll learn how to deploy your website to a live web server.

Learning Objectives


Lab Homework Deadline Slip Days Credit Solution
All Parts Sun 5/3 at 11:59pm Max: 2 days 20 points (completion) Not Provided


  1. Clone your lab repository.

    Clone the following URL:\ Replace YOUR_GITHUB_USERNAME in the URL with your Cornell GitHub username.

  2. Work together.

    Feel free to work with your peers to complete this lab. Use your section specific chat rooms. Organize a Zoom hangout to work on the assignment together. Take this as an opportunity for some virtual human contact!

    Note: You are encouraged to work together so long as you do your own work and you don’t give away answers.

  3. Ask questions or say hi during your registered section live Zoom Q & A.

    Your section leaders will hold a Zoom Q & A during your registered section time. Feel free to pop in and say hi or ask a question! Again, use this as another opportunity to keep up with your fellow Cornell community members!

  4. Submit.

    When you’re finished, follow the instructions in to submit your assignment.

Part I: Hosting Your Website

In order to share your web page with the world, you’ll need to deploy it to a server that can host it on the Internet. Heroku is a service provider or web host that can host your web sites written in a variety of languages, including PHP.

Install and Configure Heroku

Objective: Install and configure Heroku’s tools on your computer.

  1. Sign up for a Free account at Heroku (

    Skip this step if you have already have a Heroku account.

    • Please choose PHP as your “Primary development language”.
    • Verify your account using the email you registered with.
    • Set a password.
  2. Download the installer for the Heroku Command Line (

    1. If you are on a Mac, click “Download the installer” under macOS, and if you are on Windows click “64-bit installer” under Windows.
    2. Run the installer and DO NOT change the default settings. Just click next until it starts running.
  3. Log into Heroku using the Heroku Command Line Interface (CLI) tools.

    1. Launch a terminal or command line prompt.
      • On Windows: open Git Bash. (NOT the Integrated Terminal in VS Code and NOT “Command Prompt”)
      • On Mac: Open a new Integrated Terminal in VS Code or open Applications/Utilities/Terminal.
    2. Enter this command: heroku login
    3. You will be prompted to write the email and password of the Heroku account you just created.
      • You have successfully logged in if you see logged in as [YOUR HEROKU EMAIL].

Connect Project Repository to Heroku

Objective: Configure Project 2 or Project 3 to be deployed to Heroku.

You’ll notice this lab only has a few files. This is because for this lab you’ll be deploying either your Project 2 or Project 3 to Heroku (you pick which project you want to deploy to a live web server).

Let’s start off by going to your Project 2 or 3 in the command line prompt:

  1. First open the project in VS Code.
  2. Open index.php for your project.
  3. From the comand palette select “File: Copy Path of Active File”

  4. Then, navigate to the directory in the terminal.

    • On Mac: open a terminal and change directories to the folder by typing cd and pasting the full path on your clipboard (remove index.php from the path):
      cd PASTE_HERE
    • On PC: navigate to your project folder in the file explorer. Right click and select “Git Bash Here.”
  5. You should now be in your project’s directory. Verify this by checking your path with the pwd command (print working directory).
  6. Now, create your Heroku project with the command:

     heroku create

    This will add the Heroku project as a Git remote named heroku to your local Git repository. The command generates a project and a Git remote with a random name, like dry-beach-36503. You will notice that this project/remote is now present in your heroku dashboard (

    Note: You should only type this command once or else it will continue to generate random remotes. If you mess this step up and have multiple remotes, first remove the bad remote with: git remote rm REMOTE_NAMEand then add the good remote with: heroku git:remote -a NAME_OF_HEROKU_PROJECT.

  7. Test that you have configured the Heroku Git remote correctly:

     git remote -v

    From this command you should see two remotes: heroku and origin. If you see these 2 remotes, your repository is correctly hooked to your Heroku project.

Server Configuration Files

Your lab repository contains a few files that are necessary to get Heroku to properly run. You don’t have to understand exactly what all of these do, but you will need to include them in any site you want hosted on Heroku.

Objective: Copy and paste the resources folder, the composer.json file, and the composer.lock file into your Project 2 or Project 3 git repository. All of these files are necessary for Heroku to setup your project.

Deploy to Heroku

Now that your project is connected to Heroku via a Git remote and you have the necessary configuration files, let’s push our work up to the Heroku server.

Objective: Before you can deploy your site to Heroku, you need to make sure you have staged and committed the changes you want to deploy. Otherwise, Git won’t know about the changes and won’t be able to send them to Heroku.

Objective: Once your website is ready and committed, you can push your work to the Heroku server using Git from the command line at our project:

git push heroku master

This pushes your local copy of the website (in “master”) to Heroku’s server (“heroku”), which you added in Step 2. When you run the command, you should see output that looks roughly like this:

The last line is the most unique, it is saying to take the work on your default branch (master) and to push it onto the heroku remote that we created above. This maintains a development/production relationship.

The server will start to install all dependencies and deploy your code. Once it’s finished, you can go to your live url by typing in the command: heroku open. This will open your default browser to your Heroku URL and you should see your project!


Objective: Add the URL of your deployed Heroku website (e.g. to in your repo.

IMPORTANT! Failure to properly deploy your Project 2 or 3 site to Heroku and provide a valid URL in will result in a 0 for this assignment.

Part II: Notes about Deploying a Site

There are a couple of gotchas that you need to be aware of when deploying your site.

A Note About SQLite & File Uploads on Heroku

SQLite is not a typical database system that should be used in a production environment (like Heroku). Being that the entire database operates through a single file, it is highly volatile and is particularly discouraged on Heroku. Heroku discourages this through what is known an an ephemeral filesystem. Basically, it refreshes all files (include file uploads) every 24 hours, which means that any database changes (or uploaded files) will be reset or deleted every 24 hours.

For this reason, it is recommended that you use a more robust database system for any production systems like PostgreSQL or MySQL. In particular, Heroku provides free startup plans for PostgreSQL databases: However, we will not be covering how to do this in this class. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the resources we’ve linked to here.

In order to use PostgreSQL you will also need to port your SQL queries from SQLite to PostgreSQL. This is out of scope for this class, but if you’re interested, take a look at PGLoader which can port SQLite SQL to PostgreSQL SQL semi-automatically:

Your file uploads will also be deleted every 24 hours. To support file uploads you need to use storage service, like Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3):

Note: The teaching staff is not qualified to help you with this. We also do not have the resources to help you with this and also grade your Project 3. If you decide to try and configure a custom domain with SSL on Heroku, you are on your own.

A Note About Domains and HTTPS

Heroku’s free plans host your web page as a subdomain of the domain. For example: If you wish to have your own domain name that’s not, like, you will need to register a domain name and configure it with Heroku. More information can be found in Heroku’s Dev Center:

If you would like to secure your website using SSL so that you can serve your web site using HTTPS instead of HTTP, see the Dev Center: Also visit to learn more about SSL Certificates and Keys.

Note: The teaching staff is not qualified to help you with this. We also do not have the resources to help you with this and also grade your Project 3. If you decide to try and configure a custom domain with SSL on Heroku, you are on your own.


Follow the instructions at the beginning of this document to submit your assignment.


The following individuals made contributions to this assignment: