Quickly Deploy Directus On Fly.io

Roger Stringer

Roger Stringer / October 7, 2022

5 min read

Quickly Deploy Directus On Fly.io

Directus is one of the nicer headless CMSes out there, their UX, API, Insights and no-code data studio make it a powerful tool.

Fly.io hosts Directus nicely and I've set up this repo to quickly get started on Fly.io, it uses SQLite for the database, and also includes https://github.com/dimitrov-adrian/directus-extension-wpslug-interface extension already setup to handle generating slugs, it's quick to change the db to postgres or other if you like.

By the way, I highly recommend taking a look at the Directus examples repo to get a feel for what you can do using Directus with various frameworks like Next, Remix, Nuxt, Astro, etc.

Important 🚧

Fly requires a globally unique name for all the apps, and we've used the directory name and random hash as the app name. Of course, you can change this anytime you want BEFORE launching the app with Fly CLI. But it's not a big deal since you can reassign the internal Fly URL to any custom domain by adding a [CNAME][cname] record to your custom domain pointing to the Fly internal URL. We'll see that later when deploying the app to production.

Fly Setup 🛠

  1. Install Fly

  2. Sign up and log in to Fly

flyctl auth signup

Deployment 🚀

Initial setup 👀

Before proceeding to deploy our app, we have some steps to take care of:

  • Create a GitHub account GitHub
  • Create a new app on Fly
flyctl launch --name [YOUR-APP-NAME] --copy-config --no-deploy

⚠️ Note: Make sure this name matches the app set in your fly.toml file. Otherwise, you will not be able to deploy.

⚠️ Remember not to deploy since we have some setup steps left to complete!

Environment variables and Secrets 🤫

This template comes with GitHub actions workflows to automatically deploy the app to Fly.io. First, we need to set up our GitHub actions and the Fly app with some secrets. Let's do that now.

To push the build image to the remote Fly registry from GitHub action, we need an access token from Fly. We can generate that using the Fly command line, run:

flyctl auth token

The command will generate an access token. You can then add this token to your GitHub actions secrets by visiting your GitHub repository's settings page https://github.com/:owner/:repo/settings/secrets/actions and then click New repository secret. Next, GitHub will prompt for a key and a value. The key should be FLY_API_TOKEN, and the value will be the token generated by the command line.

We also need to set the Fly app name as a secret, the key should be FLY_APP_NAME, and the value will be the app name specified in fly.toml

Now we need to set up secrets in our Fly app.

We also need a secret to sign our session. We can do that by running the command:

flyctl secrets set KEY=$(openssl rand -hex 32)
flyctl secrets set SECRET=$(openssl rand -hex 32)
flyctl secrets set ADMIN_EMAIL=[YOUR@EMAIL.com]

The last secret, is your PUBLIC_URL, you can get the initial domain from fly by typing: flyctl info

To get the current app URL and IP address. The app URL will be https://YOUR-APP-NAME.fly.dev.

flyctl secrets set PUBLIC_URL=https://[YOUR-APP-NAME].fly.dev

You can change this by following Fly's DNS docs and then just update the secret anytime

Volumes 💾

We also need to create a volume in Fly to persist our app data (SQLite DB) so that Fly can persist the data stored across deployments and container restarts. Again, we can do that using the Fly command line.

flyctl volumes create data --region [REGION] --size 1

Note: REGION should be the region selected when launching the app. You can check the region chosen by running flyctl regions list.

It's important to note that Volumes are bound to an app in a region and cannot be shared between apps in the same region or across multiple regions.

You can learn more about Fly Volumes here

You should also update the region in your fly.toml file to whichever region you selected:


The other variables you can leave alone.

Deploy 🥳

We are ready for our first deployment.

You have two ways to deploy:

  • Via npm run deploy: deploy the current folder
  • Via Github actions.

GitHub actions workflows are configured to run on push to the main branch.

So let's push the local branch main to remote, triggering the workflows.

Once all the checks are passed, and the deployment is complete


You can check the logs using the command flyctl logs from the project directory, containing the fly.toml file in the project's root. You can also check the logs from the console by visiting fly.io/apps.


You can also log in to the remote console using the flyctl ssh console command.

Connecting to your database

The sqlite database lives at /data/database/data.db in your deployed application.

You can connect to the live database by running flyctl ssh console -C database-cli.

Adding extensions 🔌

There are two ways to add extensions:

  1. Via package.json like the included directus-extension-wpslug-interface extension or
  2. Installed inside the extensions folder.

This works the same as any other Directus installation

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