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How to deploy a Ktor app to Heroku ?

Heroku is a great cloud platform that allow you to deploy your own pet projects quickly. When I started with a Ktor project, I really want to deploy my project to the Internet to use it for my Android projects as a simple mocking API. However, there isn’t any good tutorial for this work. So I referenced some tutorial for java project with Gradle to deploy my project to Heroku. And finally I success. So this is my brief.

1. Initialize Ktor project

First of all, install IntelliJ then install Ktor plug-in. Set up a new project with Ktor as normal (you can reference this link).

Please confirm that your Application.kt file contains following code:

@Suppress("unused") // Referenced in application.conf
fun Application.module() {

    routing {
        get("/") {
            call.respondText("HELLO WORLD!", contentType = ContentType.Text.Plain)

We want to show the text “HELLO WORLD!” when visit the website.

Run project to confirm this works fine.

2. Config Gradle for Heroku

We use Shadow plug-in to build project to a .jar file. So please add below code to your build.gradle file:

buildscript {
    repositories {
        maven {
            url ""
    dependencies {
        classpath "com.github.jengelman.gradle.plugins:shadow:5.2.0"

apply plugin: "com.github.johnrengelman.shadow"

shadowJar {
    manifest {
        attributes 'Main-Class': mainClassName

The shadowJar block provide a gradle task with same name. So when we run ./gradlew shadowJar, a .jar file contain your project name will be created. Suppose you create project with name example, if you run ./gradlew shadowJar, the file created has name example-0.0.1.jar, it was contained in build/libs/ directory.

3. Config Heroku Process file

Create a file with name Procfile in your root project contains below content:

web: java -jar build/libs/example-0.0.1-all.jar

Heroku will run the command after web: to start the web. By adding this line, Heroku runs the .jar file was built.

Everything is nearly done, now run below command to commit project source code:

git init
git add .
git commit -m "Init project"

4. Install HerokuCLI

  • Install Heroku CLI. For Ubuntu 16+, run below command in terminal:
sudo snap install --classic heroku
  • Navigate to your project in the root folder, run heroku login and follow the steps.
  • Run heroku create to initialize your backend application.
  • Important: Run following command to let Heroku use Gradle Task shadowJar to build .jar file.
 heroku config:set GRADLE_TASK="shadowJar"
  • Use git push heroku master to push your application on server.
  • Start your Procfile command launching heroku ps:scale web=1. Your backend is now online and ready for use.
  • To open heroku remote site, run heroku open, you can also use heroku local web to run the web on local.

That’s all, hope this help. You can see my site here:

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