Building a backend for an application - AWS Amplify Hosting

Building a backend for an application

With AWS Amplify you can build a fullstack application with data, authentication, storage, and frontend hosting that is deployed to AWS.

AWS Amplify Gen 2 introduces a TypeScript-based, code-first developer experience for defining backends. To learn how to use Amplify Gen 2 to build and connect a backend to your app, see Build & connect backend in the Amplify docs.

If you are looking for the documentation for building a backend for a Gen 1 app, using the CLI and Amplify Studio, see Build & connect backend in the Gen 1 Amplify docs.

Create a backend for a Gen 2 app

For a tutorial that guides you through the steps for creating an Amplify Gen 2 fullstack application with a TypeScript-based backend, see Get started in the Amplify docs.

Create a backend for a Gen 1 app

In this tutorial, you will set up a fullstack CI/CD workflow with Amplify. You will deploy a frontend app to Amplify Hosting. Then you will create a backend using Amplify Studio. Finally, you will connect the cloud backend to the frontend app.


Before you begin this tutorial, complete the following prerequisites.

Sign up for an AWS account

If you are not already an AWS customer, you need to create an AWS account by following the online instructions. Signing up enables you to access Amplify and other AWS services that you can use with your application.

Create a Git repository

Amplify supports GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, and AWS CodeCommit. Push your application to your Git repository.

Install the Amplify Command Line Interface (CLI)

For instructions, see Install the Amplify CLI in the Amplify Framework Documentation.

Step 1: Deploy a frontend

If you have an existing frontend app in a git repository that you want to use for this example, you can proceed to the instructions for deploying a frontend app.

If you need to create a new frontend app to use for this example, you can follow the Create React App instructions in the Create React App documentation.

To deploy a frontend app
  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amplify console.

  2. On the All apps page, choose New app, then Host web app in the upper right corner.

  3. Select your GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, or AWS CodeCommit repository provider and then choose Continue.

  4. Amplify authorizes access to your git repository. For GitHub repositories, Amplify now uses the GitHub Apps feature to authorize Amplify access.

    For more information about installing and authorizing the GitHub App, see Setting up Amplify access to GitHub repositories.

  5. On the Add repository branch page do the following:

    1. In the Recently updated repositories list, select the name of the repository to connect.

    2. In the Branch list, select the name of the repository branch to connect.

    3. Choose Next.

  6. On the Configure build settings page, choose Next.

  7. On the Review page, choose Save and deploy. When the deployment is complete, you can view your app on the default domain.


To augment the security of your Amplify applications, the domain is registered in the Public Suffix List (PSL). For further security, we recommend that you use cookies with a __Host- prefix if you ever need to set sensitive cookies in the default domain name for your Amplify applications. This practice will help to defend your domain against cross-site request forgery attempts (CSRF). For more information see the Set-Cookie page in the Mozilla Developer Network.

Step 2: Create a backend

Now that you have deployed a frontend app to Amplify Hosting, you can create a backend. Use the following instructions to create a backend with a simple database and GraphQL API endpoint.

To create a backend
  1. Sign in to the AWS Management Console and open the Amplify console.

  2. On the All apps page, select the app that you created in Step 1.

  3. On the app homepage, choose the Backend environments tab, then choose Get started. This initiates the set up process for a default staging environment.

  4. After the set up finishes, choose Launch Studio to access the staging backend environment in Amplify Studio.

Amplify Studio is a visual interface to create and manage your backend and accelerate your frontend UI development. For more information about Amplify Studio, see the Amplify Studio documentation.

Use the following instructions to create a simple database using the Amplify Studio visual backend builder interface.

Create a data model
  1. On the home page for your app's staging environment, choose Create data model. This opens the data model designer.

  2. On the Data modeling page, choose Add model.

  3. For the title, enter Todo.

  4. Choose Add a field.

  5. For Field name, enter Description.

    The following screenshot is an example of how your data model will look in the designer.

    The Amplify Studio UI for creating a data model.
  6. Choose Save and Deploy.

  7. Return to the Amplify Hosting console and the staging environment deployment will be in progress.

During deployment, Amplify Studio creates all the required AWS resources in the backend, including an AWS AppSync GraphQL API to access data and an Amazon DynamoDB table to host the Todo items. Amplify uses AWS CloudFormation to deploy your backend, which enables you to store your backend definition as infrastructure-as-code.

Step 3: Connect the backend to the frontend

Now that you have deployed a frontend and created a cloud backend that contains a data model, you need to connect them. Use the following instructions to pull your backend definition down to your local app project with the Amplify CLI.

To connect a cloud backend to a local frontend
  1. Open a terminal window and navigate to the root directory of your local project.

  2. Run the following command in the terminal window, replacing the red text with the unique app ID and backend environment name for your project.

    amplify pull --appId abcd1234 --envName staging
  3. Follow the instructions in the terminal window to complete the project set up.

Now you can configure the build process to add the backend to the continuous deployment workflow. Use the following instructions to connect a frontend branch with a backend in the Amplify Hosting console.

To connect a frontend app branch and cloud backend
  1. On the app homepage, choose the Hosting environments tab.

  2. Locate the main branch and choose Edit.

    The location of the Edit link for a branch in the Amplify console.
  3. In the Edit target backend window, for Environment, select the name of the backend to connect. In this example, choose the staging backend that you created in Step 2.

    By default, full-stack CI/CD is enabled. Uncheck this option to turn off full-stack CI/CD for this backend. Turning off full-stack CI/CD causes the app to run in pull only mode. At build time, Amplify will automatically generate the aws-exports.js file only, without modifying your backend environment.

  4. Next, you must set up a service role to give Amplify the permissions it requires to make changes to your app backend. You can either use an existing service role or create a new one. For instructions, see Adding a service role.

  5. After adding a service role, return to the Edit target backend window and choose Save.

  6. To finish connecting the staging backend to the main branch of the frontend app, perform a new build of your project.

    Do one of the following:

    • From your git repository, push some code to initiate a build in the Amplify console.

    • In the Amplify console, navigate to the app's build details page and choose Redeploy this version.

Next steps

Set up feature branch deployments

Follow our recommended workflow to set up feature branch deployments with multiple backend environments.

Create a frontend UI in Amplify Studio

Use Studio to build your frontend UI with a set of ready-to-use UI components, and then connect it to your app backend. For more information and tutorials, see the user guide for Amplify Studio in the Amplify Framework Documentation.