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Set up a free PocketBase database with Fly.io

4 min read

I was playing around with Linode recently to try set up a PocketBase instance then I came across this guide on the PocketBase GitHub discussions.

The whole thing took around ten minutes and I now have a SQLite database I can read/write to.

There’s a lot more I’ll need to do to get a project running but this was one thing I wanted to make sure I could do before progressing.

Anyways I’ll go through the steps I did to get set up so I can refer back to it when I need it again!

A lot of this guide will be verbatim from the GitHub discussion linked earlier!

There’ll be a lot of terminal commands!

Set up PocketBase Dockerfile

First thing I’ll do is set up a project folder on my machine which will have the Docker file in it to run the PocketBase instance.

# make a directory for the project
mkdir pocketbase
# change directory into the folder
cd pocketbase

Then in the directory I’ll create a Docker file and copypasta the config from the GitHub discussion:

# create Dockerfile
touch Dockerfile

The contents of the Dockerfile are:

FROM alpine:latest

ARG PB_VERSION=0.7.6

RUN apk add --no-cache 
    unzip 
    # this is needed only if you want to use scp to copy later your pb_data locally
    openssh

# download and unzip PocketBase
ADD https://github.com/pocketbase/pocketbase/releases/download/v${PB_VERSION}/pocketbase_${PB_VERSION}_linux_amd64.zip /tmp/pb.zip
RUN unzip /tmp/pb.zip -d /pb/

EXPOSE 8080

# start PocketBase
CMD ["/pb/pocketbase", "serve", "--http=0.0.0.0:8080"]

So, from my limited understanding of Docker it looks like this file is provisioning the latest version of PocketBase from the GitHub releases page, exposing port 8080 then serving PocketBase from the /pb directory.

Set up Fly.io

I’ll follow the Fly.io install guide, I use Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) with Ubuntu so I’ll use the Linux install instructions.

curl -L https://fly.io/install.sh | sh

Then use the CLI for signup and login, signup first:

flyctl auth signup

The CLI then directs me to create an account on Fly.io, I’ll do that then come back to the CLI and login:

flyctl auth login

Set up Fly.io app

From within the project directory I’ll run the following command to set up the Fly.io app:

flyctl launch

This will ask me a few questions, I’ll answer them as follows:

? App Name (leave blank to use an auto-generated name): pocketbase
? Select region: lhr (London, United Kingdom)
? Would you like to set up a Postgresql database now? No
? Would you like to deploy now? No

The CLI creates a fly.toml in the same location as the Dockerfile file which I’ll need to edit now to add the storage volume.

Create free 1GB storage volume

I’ll use the Fly.io CLI to create a storage volume, pb_data is where PocketBase writes to:

flyctl volumes create pb_data --size=1

I’m prompted to pick a region, I’ll pick the same one I picked when I run the flyctl launch command.

Now I need to add the [mounts] section to the fly.toml file:

[mounts]
  destination = "/pb/pb_data"
  source = "pb_data"

Here’s what my full TOML file looks like after adding in the [mounts] config:

# fly.toml file generated for pocketbase on 2022-10-02T17:22:41+01:00

app = "pocketbase"
kill_signal = "SIGINT"
kill_timeout = 5
processes = []

[env]

[experimental]
  allowed_public_ports = []
  auto_rollback = true

[mounts]
  destination = "/pb/pb_data"
  source = "pb_data"

[[services]]
  http_checks = []
  internal_port = 8080
  processes = ["app"]
  protocol = "tcp"
  script_checks = []
  [services.concurrency]
    hard_limit = 25
    soft_limit = 20
    type = "connections"

  [[services.ports]]
    force_https = true
    handlers = ["http"]
    port = 80

  [[services.ports]]
    handlers = ["tls", "http"]
    port = 443

  [[services.tcp_checks]]
    grace_period = "1s"
    interval = "15s"
    restart_limit = 0
    timeout = "2s"

Deploy

Now to deploy the app to Fly.io with the following command:

flyctl deploy

That’s it!

Now I can access the PocketBase instance on Fly.io at https://pocketbase.fly.dev/_/ there’s an initial setup page which I’ll go through to set up the an admin user.

I can now start creating collections and adding users!

Next steps

I’ll be playing around with the PocketBase JavaScript SDK to use in an as yet undetermined SvelteKit project.

There’s still the backup and downloading of data I need to check out, but for a quick and easy way to get a PocketBase instance up and running this is a great way to do it!

That’s it, this guide is here primarily for me to refer back to when I need to do this again, if you find it useful feel free to share it!

There’s lots more useful information covered in the GitHub discussion as well which I’ll be referring to in the future!

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