Laravel Integration

Waterhole can be installed into an existing Laravel application, and you can set it up to use your existing Laravel user base too.

Currently only Laravel 10 is supported.


1. Install via Composer

Add the waterhole/core package to your Laravel project by running the following Composer command:

composer require waterhole/core --with-all-dependencies

Then, publish Waterhole's configuration files by running the command:

php artisan vendor:publish --tag=waterhole-config

2. Configure the Database

To avoid Waterhole's database tables conflicting with your own application's, you should set up a separate database connection for Waterhole – either using a different database, or using a table prefix.

To do this, open up config/database.php and add a new database connection. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste the mysql block in the connections array, and change its name and details. For example:

'connections' => [
    // ...

    'waterhole' => [
        'driver' => 'mysql',
        'host' => '',
        'port' => '3306',
        'database' => 'waterhole',
        'username' => 'waterhole',
        'password' => 'password',
        // ...

Once this is done, change the database setting in config/waterhole/system.php to point to your new database connection:

'database' => 'waterhole',

3. Configure Routing

By default, Waterhole is configured to serve up your forum at the / route. This is something you'll probably want to change, assuming your app has existing routes of its own.

To configure this, open up config/waterhole/forum.php and set the path option. For example, if you want your forum to be accessible at, set this to forum.

'path' => 'forum',

You can also configure the path for the Waterhole Control Panel in config/waterhole/cp.php, which is cp by default. And, you can configure Waterhole's routes to be scoped to a subdomain by setting the domain option in config/waterhole/system.php.

4. Run the Installer

Now that everything has been configured, the final step is to run the Waterhole installation command. This will create the Waterhole database tables, seed some initial data, and prompt you to create your administrator account.

php artisan waterhole:install


Waterhole provides a simple mechanism to use your Laravel app's existing user base and authentication system.

To keep things clean, Waterhole still maintains its own users table separate from your app's users table. After implementing an interface on your app's User model, Waterhole will automatically detect when a user is logged in on your app's default authentication guard. It will then load their linked Waterhole user record, or create one if it doesn't already exist.

1. Disable Waterhole Authentication

First, we need to disable Waterhole's own authentication system. In the Waterhole auth config file (config/waterhole/auth.php), set allow_regsistration and password_enabled both to false, and make sure there are no authentication providers in the providers array.

'allow_registration' => false,
'password_enabled' => false,

Since all authentication methods have been disabled, Waterhole will no longer register its login route. You can re-register it so that actions requiring authentication will redirect guests to your app's own login page. Add the following to a Service Provider:

Extend\ForumRoutes::add(function () {
        fn() => redirect()

2. Update Your User Model

Now implement the Waterhole\Auth\AuthenticatesWaterhole interface on your app's User model, and add the Waterhole\Auth\HasWaterholeUser trait. This will tell Waterhole how to set up and link a corresponding Waterhole user record when an authenticated user visits your forum.

namespace App\Models;

use Illuminate\Foundation\Auth\User as Authenticatable;
use Waterhole\Auth\AuthenticatesWaterhole;
use Waterhole\Auth\HasWaterholeUser;

class User extends Authenticable implements AuthenticatesWaterhole
    use HasWaterholeUser;

By default, Waterhole will carry across your user's email attribute, and use their name attribute as a suggested username. If you wish to customize the Waterhole user that gets created, you can override the toWaterholeUser method which should return an instance of Waterhole\Sso\PendingUser:

public function toWaterholeUser(): ?PendingUser
    return new PendingUser(
        identifier: $this->getAuthIdentifier(),
        email: $this->email,
        name: $this->name,

The HasWaterholeUser trait also registers a model listener so that whenever a user's email is updated, the new email is automatically synced across to their Waterhole user record.