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A terminal with the output of create-keystone-app

Getting started

create-keystone-app is a CLI app that makes it easier for you to get started with Keystone. It will generate a couple of files for you and install all the dependencies you need to run the Admin UI and start using the GraphQL API.

Quick Start

yarn create keystone-app
cd my-app
yarn dev

Installing your own Keystone instance

Open your preferred shell and make sure you are in the folder you would like to create your new project in. create-keystone-app will generate a new folder with your new Keystone files in it.


Use yarn create:

cd your/path/
yarn create keystone-app


Use npm init:

cd your/path/
npm init keystone-app

npm init "<initializer>" is available in npm 6+


Use npm's npx:

cd your/path/
npx create-keystone-app

npx comes with npm 5.2+

Connecting your database

The CLI will ask you to name your new app and for a way to connect to your database. Make sure you have your connection URL ready for your database, e.g. postgres://localhost/my-app or postgres://username:password@localhost/my-app.

If you installed PostgreSQL on MacOS with or Homebrew, you'll probably want to use the default user it created for you like this: postgres://my-username@localhost/my-app

If you run into trouble with the database, check out this guide on Database Setup

Opening your shiny new Admin UI

The AdminUI of Keystone showing the two lists: User and Posts

After running create-keystone-app you can now cd into the folder that was created for you and start Keystone.

cd my-app
yarn dev

This will generate the Admin UI pages via Next.js on http://localhost:3000.

The welcome screen giving you the ability the create a new user to log into the AdminUI

When you visit the Admin UI for the first time you will be presented with a handy screen that asks you to create a user. Go ahead and create your first user. The email address and password will be used as the login details when you next need to login to the Admin UI.

Once you've created the user you can see your new Keystone Admin UI that comes with two visible lists. You can use the Admin UI to explore and interact with the data in your system.


We now have some files in the newly generated folder. The two most important once you want to get into are keystone.ts and schema.ts.

├── keystone.ts # The main entry file for Keystone
├── node_modules # Your dependencies
├── package.json # Your package.json with three scripts prepared for you
├── schema.ts # The schema of your data
├── tsconfig.json # Your typescript config
└── yarn.lock # And finally your yarn lock file


The files come with three npm scripts you can run locally.


  • The dev script will run Keystone in development mode. Jump over to http://localhost:3000 to see your Admin UI.


  • The build script will build the project and is required to be run before start.


  • The start script will run Keystone in production mode.

Read more about the cli in our command line guides.

Where to next?