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How can I use GitHub Actions with Vercel?

You can use Vercel with GitHub Actions as your CI/CD provider to generate Preview Deployments for every git push and deploy to Production when code is merged into the main branch.

This approach is useful for developers who want full control over their CI/CD pipeline, as well as GitHub Enterprise Server users, who can’t leverage Vercel’s built-in git integration.

You can view the completed example here or follow this guide to get started.

Building Your Application

You can build your application locally (or in GitHub Actions) without giving Vercel access to the source code through vercel build. Vercel automatically detects your frontend framework and generates a .vercel/output folder conforming to the Build Output API specification.

vercel build allows you to build your project within your own CI setup, whether it be GitHub Actions or your own in-house CI, and upload only those build artifacts (and not the source code) to Vercel to create a deployment.

Configuring GitHub Actions for Vercel

vercel deploy --prebuilt skips the build step on Vercel and uploads the previously generated .vercel/output folder from the GitHub Action.

Let’s create our Action by creating a new file .github/workflows/preview.yaml:

name: GitHub Actions Vercel Preview Deployment env: VERCEL_ORG_ID: ${{ secrets.VERCEL_ORG_ID }} VERCEL_PROJECT_ID: ${{ secrets.VERCEL_PROJECT_ID }} on: push: branches-ignore: - main jobs: Deploy-Preview: runs-on: ubuntu-latest steps: - uses: actions/checkout@v2 - name: Install Vercel CLI run: npm install --global vercel@latest - name: Pull Vercel Environment Information run: vercel pull --yes --environment=preview --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }} - name: Build Project Artifacts run: vercel build --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }} - name: Deploy Project Artifacts to Vercel run: vercel deploy --prebuilt --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }}

A GitHub Action to create a Vercel Preview Deployment

This action will run when your code is pushed to a git branch. Let’s do the same for Production environments with a separate Action:

name: GitHub Actions Vercel Production Deployment env: VERCEL_ORG_ID: ${{ secrets.VERCEL_ORG_ID }} VERCEL_PROJECT_ID: ${{ secrets.VERCEL_PROJECT_ID }} on: push: branches: - main jobs: Deploy-Production: runs-on: ubuntu-latest steps: - uses: actions/checkout@v2 - name: Install Vercel CLI run: npm install --global vercel@latest - name: Pull Vercel Environment Information run: vercel pull --yes --environment=production --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }} - name: Build Project Artifacts run: vercel build --prod --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }} - name: Deploy Project Artifacts to Vercel run: vercel deploy --prebuilt --prod --token=${{ secrets.VERCEL_TOKEN }}

A GitHub Action to create a Vercel Production Deployment

Finally, let’s add the required values from Vercel as secrets in GitHub:

  1. Retrieve your Vercel Access Token
  2. Install the Vercel CLI and run vercel login
  3. Inside your folder, run vercel link to create a new Vercel project
  4. Inside the generated .vercel folder, save the projectId and orgId from the project.json
  5. Inside GitHub, add VERCEL_TOKEN, VERCEL_ORG_ID, and VERCEL_PROJECT_ID as secrets

Deploying Your Vercel Application with GitHub Actions

Now that your Vercel application is configured with GitHub Actions, you can try out the workflow:

  • Create a new pull request to your GitHub repository
  • GitHub Actions will recognize the change and use the Vercel CLI to build your application
  • The Action uploads the build output to Vercel and creates a Preview Deployment
  • When the pull request is merged, a Production build is created and deployed

Every pull request will now automatically have a Preview Deployment attached. If the pull request needs to be rolled back, you can revert and merge the PR and Vercel will start a new Production build back to the old git state.

Updated July 23rd 2022