Deploying Node.js apps to Heroku

Published January 18, 2023Last updated January 27, 20234 min read

This post covers the main notes from setting up the Heroku CLI tool to CI/CD pipeline with Github actions.


  • Run the following command to install the CLI tool
curl https://cli-assets.heroku.com/install.sh | sh
  • Create an account or log in if you already have an account
heroku login

Node server

  • Run the following commands for packages setup
npm init -y
npm i express
  • Write basic server
// server.js
const express = require('express');
const app = express();
const PORT = process.env.PORT || 8080;
app.get('/', (_, res) => res.send('Hello world'));
app.listen(PORT, () => {
console.log(`Server is running on port ${PORT}`);
  • Configure start script
// package.json
"scripts": {
"start": "node server.js"

Project setup

The following command will create a project with the provided name. Project URL will be <PROJECT_NAME>.herokuapp.com

heroku create -a <PROJECT_NAME>
git init
heroku git:remote -a <PROJECT_NAME>

Create a Procfile with a command for starting the server.

# Procfile
web: npm start

Environment variables

The following commands can be used to set the provided environment variable and restart the server, show the list of already set variables, remove the provided variable and restart the server, and append the set variables to a local file (.env in this case). Heroku will set up the server port's environment variable (PORT).

heroku config:set VARIABLE_NAME=value
heroku config
heroku config:remove VARIABLE_NAME
heroku config -s >> .env


The following commands add and remove specified add-ons.

heroku addons:create <ADDON_NAME>
heroku addons:remove <ADDON_NAME>



Run the following commands to provision the Redis database. Heroku will set the environment variables for the database connection.

heroku addons:create upstash-redis:free


Run the following command to bootstrap a Postgres database.

heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql

The previous command will set the database connection string in DATABASE_URL environment variable.

Check the database info with the following command.

heroku pg:info

Release command in Procfile can run migrations.

# Procfile
release: npm run migrate

The following commands create the database backups, check the progress of the last backup, and show the list of the previous backups.

heroku pg:backups:capture
heroku pg:backups:info
heroku pg:backups


  • Get the real-time logs
heroku logs --tail
  • Get the specific number of lines of logs
heroku logs -n 20
  • Get the info about the app
heroku info
  • Get the state of the project to check if there are any issues
heroku status
  • Run bash on the app dyno
heroku run bash
  • Restart the app dynos
heroku restart


Manual deployment

Deploy and open the deployed version with the following commands.

git add .
git commit -m "Initial commit"
git push origin master
heroku open

If the command for opening the project in the browser doesn't work in Windows Subsystem for Linux, set BROWSER environment in the corresponding shell configuration file (e.g., ~/.zshrc)

export BROWSER=wslview

CI/CD pipeline

Connect the app with Github on Deploy Deployment method page and enable CI and automatic deploys.

Add .github/workflows/config.yml file with the following configuration for the CI pipeline.

name: CI pipeline
- master
runs-on: ubuntu-latest
container: node:18.12.1-alpine3.15
- name: Github checkout
uses: actions/checkout@v3
- uses: actions/setup-node@v3
node-version: 18
- run: npm ci
- run: npm run lint
- run: npm test
- run: npm audit



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