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L3D and Drupal Projects

Introduction and overview

We do provide a couple of project templates for Drupal projects out of the box:

If you prefer to use your own prroject template, you'll get the most out of L3D if you add our ccomposer plugin drupal-development-environment to your required dev components:

composer require-dev lakedrops/drupal-development-environment

This comes with all the dependencies, that help you in local Drupal development:

You'll find the documentation for each of these tools in their own section.

In the current context, just an extra note on the drupal-environment plugin: this has been moved out of drupal-development-environment and contains all the tasks and templates to initially build the directory structure and setting files.

It is a great idea to utilize the same structure in your production environment too. To get there, you can simply add this plugin to your regular requirements:

composer require lakedrops/drupal-environment

In both cases, development and production, your project settings for this toolset goes into the file .lakedrops.yml in your project root and each project describes in its own documentation, what values go into this file so that you get similar (but not identical) setup on all stages. It should not be identical, because you don't want all the development tools on your production site.

Working with multiple projects in parallel

The composer plugin Docker4Drupal in combination with the composer library Traefik automatically configures your host for zero-setup always working routing for any number of projects in parallel.

Everything is based on a project ID which has to be unique on a single host. Ideally the ID should be short and only contain characters and numbers. The ID will be part of the domain-name under which this project will be opened in the browser locally and maybe even within your LAN.

The ID will be stored in a variable called COMPOSE_PROJECT_NAME which is stored in the .env file in the root of your project. For this documentation we continue by using the sample ID project1.

Based on this ID, ...

  • L3D builds the main container called project1_l3d
  • Traefik creates a Docker network called traefik_project1
  • Docker4Drupal creates a number of containers depending on the services you require, e.g.
  • project1_apache_1
  • project1_mailhog_1
  • project1_mariadb_1
  • project1_php_1
  • project1_pma_1
  • project1_redis_1
  • Node and NPM will create a container project1_l3d_node

All those containers can communicate with each other as they all belong to the same logical network provided by Traefik. If you have a second and more projects with the same logic but a different ID, they will simply do the same for themselves and each project will be self-contained but isolated from all the other projects on the host.


The logical network for each project is also used for routing traffic, i.e. HTTP requests, from you host - or even from you LAN - to the right container for further processing. All of that routing is managed by Traefik which defaults to port 8000 for http and port 8443 for https traffic. You can change those ports to anything else by setting the following environment variables in the .env file in your users home directory:


If you change those values later on, don't forget to run ahoy traefik rewrite to update existing services.

Routing also requires domain names. They help Traefik to decide which request needed to be routed into which container. Depending on the services you use, the following domain names will be used for the respective services:

  • project1.docker.localhost:8000: The Drupal website.
  • pma-project1.docker.localhost:8000: PhpMyAdmin of the project.
  • mailhog-project1.docker.localhost:8000: The Mailhog service for the project.
  • bs-project1.docker.localhost:8000: Browsersync instance when running Gulp.

In other words, the project ID plus some service identifier are used as the subdomain to your Traefik domain, which defaults to docker.localhost. You can overwrite that domain with the environment variable DOCKER4DRUPAL_TRAEFIK_DOMAIN, e.g. to with username being replaced by the name of the developer or their hostname.

In any event, make sure that your local DNS resolves all those domains properly to the correct host in your LAN. There are different tools around that let you do that, dnsmasq or Pi-hole are two possible tools that make it easy and are well documented.

This approach even allows your team to get access to active projects on their teammates hosts, if everything is setup accordingly, e.g.

Developer Hostname IP Domains
Lisa laptop12 *
Max desktopmax *
Sara laptop33 *
Manuel laptop01 *

If e.g. Lisa and Manuel are both working on project1, there will be two domains available in your LAN for that project:

  • the current version on Lisa's laptop
  • the current version on Manuel's laptop

Everyone in the LAN can access the current projects on all hosts of developers, if configured this way. Even for remote teams, this very same setup can be achieved over a VPN.

Working with SSL

Specify and configure your dev-domain

For this documentation we work with the domain and this will be used as wildcard, so that for each project you're working on a sub-domain suffix will be added, e.g. or

Issue a wildcard SSL certificate

For this you have to install a LetsEncrypt client. We recommend Certbot. Then you can issue a wildcard certificate with the following command:

certbot -d "*" --server --manual --preferred-challenges dns certonly
cp /etc/letsencrypt/live/*.pem ~/.traefik/certs
sudo chmod +r ~/.traefik/certs/*.pem

You will be presented with a request to configure a TXT record on your DNS provider. Once you're done that, certbot will issue the SSL certificate for you and you're good to go. Note: you have to renew the certificate every 3 months by using the same commands again.

Configure Traefik to use your SSL certificate

Add the following line to your .env file in your user's home directory:


To update your Traefik configuration and restart the service, go to one of your projects in L3D and call ahoy traefik rewrite to get everything setup once and forever.

Using XDebug

Debugging PHP can be a game changer in Drupal development. In the context of L3D in combination with the composer plugin Docker4Drupal this is provided out of the box and configured very easily. We describe the steps for PhpStorm, but other IDEs should be very similar.

As XDebug comes with a performance hit, it is turned off by default. When you need it, simply call ahoy debug on in you L3D container of the project you want to debug and the scripts will reconfigure the PHP container and refresh it with a few seconds. When you've finished debugging, you may want to turn it off again with ahoy debug off.

XDebug version 3 connects to port 9003 of your IDE and PhpStorm is preconfigured by default to list on that port.

You can then just enable debugging in PhpStorm and wait for the first request which will prompt you to configure the details. Or you configure actively the debug configuration:


The name and the server name should both be called Docker. And the mapping needs to be configured from your project root directory on your host to the path /var/www/html in the container.

With this setup, you can debug both web requests coming from the browser and CLI commands for PHP which is executed inside the PHP container like e.g. drush - all with the same setup.

Last update: January 25, 2021 18:06:58