In this example we will look at how to use PlanetScale in our serverless app using Serverless Stack (SST). We’ll be creating a simple hit counter.


Create an SST app

Let’s start by creating an SST app.

$ npm init sst typescript-starter planetscale
$ cd planetscale
$ npm install

By default, our app will be deployed to an environment (or stage) called dev and the us-east-1 AWS region. This can be changed in the sst.json in your project root.

  "name": "planetscale",
  "region": "us-east-1",
  "main": "stacks/index.ts"

Project layout

An SST app is made up of two parts.

  1. stacks/ — App Infrastructure

    The code that describes the infrastructure of your serverless app is placed in the stacks/ directory of your project. SST uses AWS CDK, to create the infrastructure.

  2. backend/ — App Code

    The code that’s run when your API is invoked is placed in the backend/ directory of your project.

What is PlanetScale?

PlanetScale is a MySQL-compatible, serverless database platform powered by Vitess, which is a database clustering system for horizontal scaling of MySQL (as well as Percona and MariaDB). Vitess also powers Slack, Square, GitHub, and YouTube, among others. The Slack deployment of Vitess has about 6,000 servers; the current largest Vitess deployment has about 70,000 servers.

Adding PlanetScale

PlanetScale is a reliable and highly-performant MySQL database that can be configured as a true serverless database. Meaning that it’ll scale up and down automatically. And you won’t get charged if you are not using it.

Note, Make sure you have pscale CLI installed locally

Sign in to your account

pscale auth login

You’ll be taken to a screen in the browser where you’ll be asked to confirm the code displayed in your terminal. If the confirmation codes match, click the “Confirm code” button in your browser.

You should receive the message “Successfully logged in” in your terminal. You can now close the confirmation page in the browser and proceed in the terminal.

Creating a database

Now that you have signed into PlanetScale using the CLI, you can create a database.

Run the following command to create a database named demo:

pscale database create demo

Add a schema to your database

To add a schema to your database, you will need to connect to MySQL using the pscale shell.

Run the following command:

pscale shell demo main

You are now connected to your main branch and can run MySQL queries against it.

Create a table by running the following command:


You can confirm that the table has been added by running the following command:

DESCRIBE counter;

Insert data into your database

Now that you have created a counter table, you can insert data into that table.

Run the following command to add a hits counter to your table.

INSERT INTO counter (counter, tally) VALUES ('hits', 0) ON DUPLICATE KEY UPDATE tally = 0;

terminal output

We will be using the PlanetScale API to provision a TLS certificate, and then connect to the database. It uses Service Tokens for authentication, so you’ll need to create one for the app:

$ pscale service-token create
  NAME           TOKEN
 -------------- ------------------------------------------
  nyprhd2z6bd3   [REDACTED]

$ pscale service-token add-access nyprhd2z6bd3 connect_branch --database demo
 ---------- ---------------------------
  demo       connect_branch

Add the above values in the .env.local file in the root


Note, The names of the env variables should not be changed

Setting up the API

Now let’s add the API.

Replace the code in stacks/MyStack.ts with below.

import { StackContext, Api } from "@serverless-stack/resources";

export function MyStack({ stack }: StackContext) {
  // Create a HTTP API
  const api = new Api(stack, "Api", {
    defaults: {
      function: {
        environment: {
          PLANETSCALE_DB: process.env.PLANETSCALE_DB,
    routes: {
      "POST /": "functions/lambda.handler",

  // Show the endpoint in the output
    ApiEndpoint: api.url,

Our API simply has one endpoint (the root). When we make a POST request to this endpoint the Lambda function called handler in backend/functions/lambda.ts will get invoked.

We also pass in the credentials we created to our API through environment variables.

Reading from our table

Now in our function, we’ll start by reading from our PlanetScale table.

To access PlanetScale database we’ll be using a package planetscale-node, install it the by running below command in the backend/ folder.

npm install planetscale-node

Now replace backend/functions/lambda.ts with the following.

import { PSDB } from "planetscale-node";
// connect to main branch
const db = new PSDB("main");

export async function handler() {
  // get tally from counter table
  const [rows] = await db.query(
    "SELECT tally FROM counter WHERE counter = 'hits'"

  return {
    statusCode: 200,
    headers: { "Content-Type": "text/plain" },
    body: rows[0].tally,

We make a POST call to our PlanetScale table and get the value of a row where the counter column has the value hits. Since, we haven’t written to this column yet, we are going to just return 0.

And let’s test what we have so far.

Starting your dev environment

SST features a Live Lambda Development environment that allows you to work on your serverless apps live.

$ npm start

The first time you run this command it’ll take a couple of minutes to deploy your app and a debug stack to power the Live Lambda Development environment.

 Deploying app

Preparing your SST app
Transpiling source
Linting source
Deploying stacks
dev-planetscale-my-stack: deploying...

 ✅  dev-planetscale-my-stack

Stack dev-planetscale-my-stack
  Status: deployed

The ApiEndpoint is the API we just created.

Let’s test our endpoint with the SST Console. The SST Console is a web based dashboard to manage your SST apps. Learn more about it in our docs.

Go to the API tab and click Send button to send a POST request.

Note, The API explorer lets you make HTTP requests to any of the routes in your Api construct. Set the headers, query params, request body, and view the function logs with the response.

API explorer invocation response

You should see a 0 in the response body.

Writing to our table

Now let’s update our table with the hits.

Add this above the query statement in backend/functions/lambda.ts.

// increment tally by 1
await db.query("UPDATE counter SET tally = tally + 1 WHERE counter = 'hits'");

Here we are updating the hits row’s tally column with the increased count.

And now if you head over to your console and click the Send button again you’ll notice the count increase!


Deploying to prod

To wrap things up we’ll deploy our app to prod.

Note, env.local is not committed to the git and remember to set the environment variables in your CI pipeline.

$ npx sst deploy --stage prod

This allows us to separate our environments, so when we are working in dev, it doesn’t break the API for our users.

Once deployed, you should see something like this.

 ✅  prod-planetscale-my-stack

Stack prod-planetscale-my-stack
  Status: deployed

Run the below command to open the SST Console in prod stage to test the production endpoint.

npx sst console --stage prod

Go to the API explorer and click Send button of the POST / route, to send a POST request.

API explorer prod invocation response

Cleaning up

Finally, you can remove the resources created in this example using the following commands.

$ npx sst remove
$ npx sst remove --stage prod


And that’s it! We’ve got a completely serverless hit counter. A local development environment, to test and make changes. And it’s deployed to production as well, so you can share it with your users. Check out the repo below for the code we used in this example. And leave a comment if you have any questions!