How to set up Prisma and Postgres in Next.js 14

How to set up Prisma and Postgres in Next.js 14

Every day, new technologies are released, making it easier to build full-stack applications!

Gone are the days when extensive backend knowledge was required to set up everything from simple to quite complex databases. Today, with tools like Prisma, you can get up and running incredibly fast.

Prisma is an Object-Relational Mapping (ORM) tool that is advantageous when building SaaS or fullstack applications, where quick and efficient database interactions are crucial.

Unlike traditional ORMs that rely heavily on dynamic programming, which can complicate type management, Prisma uses its own schema definition language to create a thin, simple abstraction layer that transforms database data into easily manageable objects for programmers.

This article guides you through the setup process of using Prisma in your Next.js application with a Postgres database.

Create your Postgres database

There are several ways to set up a Postgres database.

1: Create postgres database locally with Docker

When setting it up locally, I prefer to use Docker. This is straightforward!

If you have Docker already installed on your computer, run the following command to pull the Docker image for Postgres:

docker pull postgres

Next, you can start a Postgres instance by running the command below:

docker run --name some-postgres -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword -p 5432:5432 -d postgres

This starts a new Docker container named some-postgres using the official PostgreSQL image.

It sets an environment variable to configure the PostgreSQL superuser password as mysecretpassword, maps port 5432 on the host to port 5432 on the container to allow network access to the database, and runs the container in the background (detached mode).

With the image running, you can now set up Prisma.

2: Create hosted postgres database with Kinsta

Like I said, there are various ways to set up a Postgres database. One easy way is to use platforms like Kinsta, Neon, and Vercel.

Setting up with Kinsta is straightforward:

  1. Log in to your MyKinsta dashboard or create an account.
  2. On the left sidebar, click Databases and then click Add database.
  3. Select PostgreSQL as the Database type and your preferred version. Then, choose a name for your database and modify the username and password if you wish.
  4. Select a data center location.
  5. Choose your database size.
  6. Click Create database.

Once the database is created, navigate to its Overview page and scroll to the External Connections section, where you see various info you will use when setting up Prisma.

Set up Prisma in Next.js 14

Setting up Prisma with Next.js 14 involves the following key steps.

1: Create a Next.js application

If you don't already have a Next.js application, you can create one using the following command.

This command creates a new Next.js project by leveraging the create-next-app tool, which sets up a boilerplate Next.js application based on your preferences.

npx create-next-app

2: Install Prisma

Once your Next.js application is set up, navigate into your project directory and install Prisma as a development dependency.

Prisma is added as a development dependency because it includes the Prisma CLI, which is used during development and not typically in your production code.

npm i -D prisma

3: Install Prisma Client

Next, install the Prisma Client.

The Prisma Client is the query engine that lets you interact with your database through Prisma. It translates your queries into actual database queries, so your application must communicate with the database.

npm i @prisma/client

4: Initialize Prisma

Once Prisma and the Prisma Client are installed, initialize Prisma in your project by running:

npx prisma init

This command creates a new prisma directory in your project root with a schema.prisma file inside it. This file is where you define your database schema using Prisma’s modeling language.

Additionally, a .env file is generated in your project root to manage environmental variables, such as your database connection string.

5: Configure database connection

After initializing Prisma, configure the connection to your PostgreSQL database. This involves setting the database URL in the .env file that was created in your project directory.

If you use a hosted database service like Kinsta, navigate to the External connections section of your hosting control panel. Copy the provided connection string and assign it to DATABASE_URL in your .env file.

If you are connecting to a local PostgreSQL database, you can use the following format for your connection string:


Here, postgres is the default username, mysecretpassword should be replaced with your actual password, localhost is the host, 5143 is the port, and postgres is the database name.

Create a Prisma Schema

After setting up and configuring your database connection, the next crucial step is to create a Prisma schema. This schema defines your application's data model and how it maps to your database.

The Prisma schema file, typically named schema.prisma, contains the definitions of your database models.

Add the following basic User schema to the schema.prisma file:

model User {
    id       Int     @id @default(autoincrement())
    email    String  @unique
    name     String?
    password String

Once your model is defined in the schema file, you can use Prisma's migration tool to update your database structure.

Run the following command to create a migration file, which Prisma uses to align your database with the new schema:

npx prisma migrate dev --name init

This command also applies the migration to your database, creating the necessary tables and fields as defined in your Prisma schema. In the prisma folder, you notice a migration folder which contains some SQL commands written for you.

You're now ready to query your database!

Seeding your database

Before interacting with your database in the Next.js client, it's beneficial to understand how to seed your database.

Seeding is the process of populating your database with initial data, which is especially useful during development and testing. This allows you to work with realistic data sets and perform integrations and functionality tests without starting from scratch.

Prisma makes seeding straightforward. In your project, create a seed.ts file in the prisma folder for the seeding logic.

In your seed file, import Prisma Client and write the logic to insert the data into your database:

// Import Prisma Client
import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client';

// Initialize Prisma Client
const prisma = new PrismaClient();

// Define the main function that will handle database operations
async function main() {
	// Create a new user in the database using Prisma Client
	const user1 = await prisma.user.create({
		data: {
			email: '',
			name: 'Alice',
			password: 'securepassword123', // Note: In a real application, ensure passwords are hashed!

	// Output the email of the newly created user
	console.log(`Created user: ${}`);

// Execute the main function and handle disconnection and errors
	.then(() => prisma.$disconnect()) // Disconnect from the database on successful completion
	.catch(async (e) => {
		console.error(e); // Log any errors
		await prisma.$disconnect(); // Ensure disconnection even if an error occurs
		process.exit(1); // Exit the process with an error code

The code above begins by importing and initializing PrismaClient. The main function performs the database insertion operation. Here, a new user is created with an email, optional name, and password.

After the main function is executed, .then() ensures that the database connection is properly closed on success, while .catch() handles any errors by logging them, closing the database connection, and exiting the process with an error code.

You can also decide to create an array and then, in the main function, loop through and add each user:

async function main() {
	for (let user of users) {
		await prisma.user.create({
			data: user,

Next, you need to run the seed.ts file. To run this TypeScript file, install the ts-node dependency:

npm i -D ts-node

To execute the seed, you can run:

npx prisma db seed

You now have data in your Postgres database. You can view this data and also manipulate the data with the Prisma Studio. To open the Prisma Studio, run:

npx prisma studio

This opens a browser window where you can view and interact with your database data. You can now use the data in your Next.js application.

Integrating Prisma data with your Next.js application

Now that you have successfully seeded your database with initial data using Prisma, the next step is interacting with this data from your Next.js client.

However, directly using Prisma Client in various parts of your application, as you did in the seeding script, is not the most efficient or optimal approach, especially for a server-side environment like Next.js.

To manage this more effectively, create a dedicated module that ensures Prisma Client is used as a singleton across your application. This approach is crucial for maintaining efficient and reliable database connections.

To implement this pattern, create a lib folder in the root of your project and create a prisma.ts file. This file contains the logic to instantiate Prisma Client if it doesn't already exist or use the existing instance if it does.

In the file, paste the following code from Prisma docs:

import { PrismaClient } from '@prisma/client';

const prismaClientSingleton = () => {
	return new PrismaClient();

declare const globalThis: {
	prismaGlobal: ReturnType<typeof prismaClientSingleton>;
} & typeof global;

const prisma = globalThis.prismaGlobal ?? prismaClientSingleton();

export default prisma;

if (process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production') globalThis.prismaGlobal = prisma;

With this, you can now use the Prisma client anywhere in your Next.js 14 application via the App router.

For example, in the Page.tsx file, pull all the users and display them:

import prisma from '@/lib/prisma';

const page = async () => {
	const data = await prisma.user.findMany();

	return (
			{ => (
				<div key={}>{}</div>

export default page;

In the code above, the Prisma Client is imported from a singleton setup defined in lib/prisma.ts. The page component then asynchronously fetches user data by calling prisma.user.findMany(), which retrieves all user entries from the database.

This data is mapped over in the returned JSX to render each user's name within individual div elements.

This is just some basic code to show it works. You can also perform other database operations easily.

Wrap up

The article serves as a foundation for a couple of other articles I plan to publish on my blog.

I may also publish basic Prisma articles but my focus is around server actions, full stack ,functionalities and more.

I hope this article is a good read. Have fun coding!

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