Setting Up and Using GraphQL with Laravel

GraphQL is a powerful query language for APIs that provides a more efficient and flexible alternative to REST. By allowing clients to request the data they need, GraphQL can reduce over-fetching and under-fetching of data. This article will guide you through the process of setting up and using GraphQL with Laravel.

What is GraphQL?

GraphQL, developed by Facebook, is a query language for your API, and a runtime for executing those queries by using a type system you define for your data. It provides a complete and understandable description of the data in your API, giving clients the power to ask for exactly what they need and nothing more.

Benefits of GraphQL

  • Efficient Data Fetching: Clients can request only the data they need.
  • Strongly Typed Schema: Ensures data consistency and validation.
  • Single Endpoint: Simplifies API management by using a single endpoint for all queries.
  • Introspection: Clients can query the API to understand the available data and operations.

Setting Up GraphQL in Laravel

To set up GraphQL in a Laravel application, we will use the Lighthouse package, which provides a schema-first approach to developing GraphQL APIs.

Step 1: Install Lighthouse

Install the Lighthouse package via Composer:

composer require nuwave/lighthouse

Step 2: Publish the Configuration

Publish the Lighthouse configuration file and schema file:

php artisan vendor:publish --provider="Nuwave\Lighthouse\LighthouseServiceProvider"

This command will create a `lighthouse.php` configuration file in the `config` directory and a `schema.graphql` file in the `graphql` directory.

Step 3: Define Your Schema

Open the `graphql/schema.graphql` file and define your GraphQL schema. For example:

type Query {

    users: [User!]!

    user(id: ID!): User


type User {

    id: ID!

    name: String!

    email: String!

    posts: [Post!]!


type Post {

    id: ID!

    title: String!

    body: String!

    user: User!


This schema defines a `User` type with an `id`, `name`, `email`, and `posts` fields, and a `Post` type with an `id`, `title`, `body`, and `user` fields. It also defines two queries: `users` to fetch all users and `user` to fetch a user by ID.

Step 4: Create Resolvers

Resolvers are functions that handle GraphQL queries and mutations. Create a resolver for the `User` type:

// app/GraphQL/Resolvers/UserResolver.php

namespace App\GraphQL\Resolvers;

use App\Models\User;

use Nuwave\Lighthouse\Support\Contracts\GraphQLContext;

class UserResolver


    public function users($root, array $args, GraphQLContext $context)


        return User::all();


    public function user($root, array $args, GraphQLContext $context)


        return User::find($args['id']);



Register the resolver in the `graphql/schema.graphql` file:

type Query {

    users: [User!]! @field(resolver: "App\\GraphQL\\Resolvers\\UserResolver@users")

    user(id: ID!): User @field(resolver: "App\\GraphQL\\Resolvers\\UserResolver@user")


Step 5: Setting Up GraphiQL

GraphiQL is an in-browser IDE for exploring GraphQL APIs. Lighthouse comes with a built-in GraphiQL interface. To access it, add the following route in your `routes/web.php` file:

Route::get('/graphiql', function () {

    return view('vendor.lighthouse.graphiql');


Now, you can access the GraphiQL interface at `http://your-app-url/graphiql`.

Step 6: Testing Your GraphQL API

With everything set up, you can now test your GraphQL API using the GraphiQL interface. Open GraphiQL and run the following query to fetch all users:


    users {




        posts {






Advanced GraphQL Usage


To modify data, define mutations in your schema. For example, to create a new user:

type Mutation {

    createUser(name: String!, email: String!): User @field(resolver: "App\\GraphQL\\Resolvers\\UserResolver@createUser")


And add the resolver method:

public function createUser($root, array $args, GraphQLContext $context)


    return User::create($args);



To protect your GraphQL API, you can use Laravel's authentication middleware. Add the middleware to the `graphql.php` configuration file:

'middleware' => [




GraphQL subscriptions allow clients to subscribe to real-time updates. Lighthouse supports subscriptions with Laravel Echo. Configure your subscriptions in the `graphql/schema.graphql` file:

type Subscription {

    userCreated: User


And add the resolver method:

use Nuwave\Lighthouse\Support\Contracts\GraphQLContext;

use Nuwave\Lighthouse\Subscriptions\Contracts\BroadcastsSubscriptions;

class UserResolver implements BroadcastsSubscriptions


    public function userCreated($root, array $args, GraphQLContext $context)


        return User::latest()->first();



Setting up and using GraphQL with Laravel using the Lighthouse package provides a powerful and flexible approach to building APIs. By defining your schema, creating resolvers, and utilizing tools like GraphiQL, you can efficiently manage and query your data. With advanced features like mutations, authentication, and subscriptions, you can build robust and real-time applications that meet modern development standards. Embrace GraphQL to enhance your Laravel application's performance and flexibility.