Continuous Integration for your Laravel Application with GitLab CI

Oct 12, 2018

Continuous Integration is the practice of regularly vetting code via automated testing, code analysis and/or whatever else your team uses to gauge validity of your code. Over time, implementing continuous integration into your software development lifecycle should increase your software’s quality by catching errors more frequently.

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GitLab CI - Free and Easy Continuous Integration

If you have a Laravel application you want to add continuous integration to it is insanely easy with GitLab CI. GitLab CI is available under the free tier of and allows up to 2000 minutes of continuous integration pipelines per month.

In this article I will go over the steps to get continuous integration up and running to automatically run tests on a new Laravel application.

Repository Setup

If you already have a Laravel application up and running you can skip to the Enabling GitLab Continuous Integration portion of this article.

Installing Laravel

There are several different methods of installing Laravel, but I’m going to use composer to install a new project.

$ composer create-project --prefer-dist laravel/laravel laravel-ci-example

Once the repo has been created you can verify that the repo already has some sample tests setup.

$ cd laravel-ci-example
$ vendor/bin/phpunit

PHPUnit 7.3.5 by Sebastian Bergmann and contributors.

..                                                                  2 / 2 (100%)

Time: 264 ms, Memory: 14.00MB

OK (2 tests, 2 assertions)

Adding a GitLab Project

Follow the steps here to add a new project to GitLab.

Pushing to GitLab

After creating a new project you can follow these steps to push to your newly created GitLab project.

$ cd laravel-ci-example
$ git init
$ git remote add origin [email protected]:{user}/laravel-ci-example.git
$ git add .
$ git commit -m "Initial commit"
$ git push -u origin master

Enabling GitLab Continuous Integration

Enabling CI for a GitLab project is as simple as 3 clicks.

  1. Setup CI/CD
  2. Choose Laravel Template
  3. Commit

After committing this config you will notice your first pipeline run will fail, we just need a couple more changes to conform to the template's desired setup:

$ cd laravel-ci-example 
$ git pull
$ cat .env > .env.testing

Make the following edits to .env.testing:


Then finally:

$ git add .env.testing
$ git commit -m "CI Setup"
$ git push

Now upon every commit to the code base these tests will run. You can see the state of this repository here:, and the results of the pipelines here:

Depending on your project's requirements you may need to modify .gitlab-ci.yml further.

For additional help you can see the CI Quickstart.

In a future article I will go over optimizing the Docker container for GitLab continuous integration to speed up test execution.

Thanks for reading.

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