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Integration guides/Authentication

Authenticate Neon Postgres application users with Clerk

Learn how to add authentication to a Neon Postgres database application using Clerk

User authentication is a critical requirement for web applications. Modern applications require advanced features like social login and multi-factor authentication besides the regular login flow. Additionally, managing personally identifiable information (PII) requires a secure solution compliant with data protection regulations.

Clerk is a user authentication and identity management platform that provides these features out of the box. It comes with adapters for popular web frameworks, making it easy to integrate with an application backed by a Neon Postgres database.

In this guide, we'll walk through setting up a simple Next.js application using Neon Postgres as the database, and add user authentication using Clerk. We will go over how to:

  • Set up a Next.js project with Clerk for authentication
  • Create a Neon Postgres database and connect it to your application
  • Define a database schema using Drizzle ORM and generate migrations
  • Store and retrieve user data associated with Clerk user IDs


To follow along with this guide, you will need:

  • A Neon account. If you do not have one, sign up at Neon. Your Neon project comes with a ready-to-use Postgres database named neondb. We'll use this database in the following examples.
  • A Clerk account for user authentication. Clerk provides a free tier that you can use to get started.
  • Node.js and npm installed on your local machine. We'll use Node.js to build and test the application locally.

Initialize your Next.js project

We will create a simple web app that lets you add a favorite quote to the home page, and edit it afterward. Run the following command in your terminal to create a new Next.js project:

npx create-next-app guide-neon-next-clerk --typescript --eslint --tailwind --use-npm --no-src-dir --app --import-alias "@/*"

Now, navigate to the project directory and install the required dependencies:

npm install @neondatabase/serverless drizzle-orm
npm install -D drizzle-kit dotenv
npm install @clerk/nextjs

We use the @neondatabase/serverless package as the Postgres client, and drizzle-orm, a lightweight typescript ORM, to interact with the database. @clerk/nextjs is the Clerk SDK for Next.js applications. We also use dotenv to manage environment variables and the drizzle-kit CLI tool for generating database migrations.

Also, add a .env.local file to the root of your project, which we'll use to store Neon/Clerk connection parameters:

touch .env.local

Setting up your Neon database

Initialize a new project

  1. Log in to the Neon console and navigate to the Projects section.
  2. Select an existing project or click the New Project button to create a new one.
  3. Choose the desired region and Postgres version for your project, then click Create Project.

Retrieve your Neon database connection string

Navigate to the Connection Details section to find your database connection string. It should look similar to this:


Add this connection string to the .env.local file in your Next.js project.

# .env.local

Configuring Clerk for authentication

Create a Clerk application

  1. Log in to your Clerk account and navigate to the Dashboard. From the left sidebar, select Create Application to create a new app.
  2. In the dialog that appears, provide a name for your application and a few sign-in options. For this tutorial, we'll use Email, Google and Github as allowed sign-in methods.

Retrieve your API keys

From the sidebar, click on Developers > API Keys to find your API keys, needed to authenticate your application with Clerk. Select the Next.js option to get them as environment variables for your Next.js project. It should look similar to this:


Add these variables to the .env.local file in your Next.js project.

Implementing the application

Define your database connection and schema

Create a db folder inside the app/ directory. This is where we'll define the database schema and connection code.

Now, add the file app/db/index.ts with the following content:

/// app/db/index.ts

import { neon } from "@neondatabase/serverless";
import { drizzle } from "drizzle-orm/neon-http";
import { UserMessages } from "./schema";

if (!process.env.DATABASE_URL) {
  throw new Error("DATABASE_URL must be a Neon postgres connection string");

const sql = neon(process.env.DATABASE_URL);
export const db = drizzle(sql, {
  schema: { UserMessages },

This exports a db instance that we can use to execute queries against the Neon database.

Next, create a schema.ts file inside the app/db directory to define the database schema:

/// app/db/schema.ts

import { pgTable, text, timestamp } from "drizzle-orm/pg-core";

export const UserMessages = pgTable("user_messages", {
  user_id: text("user_id").primaryKey().notNull(),
  createTs: timestamp("create_ts").defaultNow().notNull(),
  message: text("message").notNull(),

This schema defines a table user_messages to store a message for each user, with the user_id provided by Clerk as the primary key.

Generate and run migrations

We'll use the drizzle-kit CLI tool to generate migrations for the schema we defined. To configure how it connects to the database, add a drizzle.config.ts file at the project root.

/// drizzle.config.ts

import type { Config } from "drizzle-kit";
import * as dotenv from "dotenv";

dotenv.config({ path: ".env.local" });

if (!process.env.DATABASE_URL)
  throw new Error("DATABASE_URL not found in environment");

export default {
  schema: "./app/db/schema.ts",
  out: "./drizzle",
  driver: "pg",
  dbCredentials: {
    connectionString: process.env.DATABASE_URL,
  strict: true,
} satisfies Config;

Now, generate the migration files by running the following command:

npx drizzle-kit generate:pg

This will create a drizzle folder at the project root with the migration files. To apply the migration to the database, run:

npx drizzle-kit push:pg

The user_messages table will now be visible in the Neon console.

Add authentication middleware

The Clerk sdk handles user authentication and session management for us. Create a new file middleware.ts in the root directory so all the app routes are protected by Clerk's authentication:

/// middleware.ts

import { authMiddleware } from "@clerk/nextjs";

export default authMiddleware({
  // Routes that should be accessible without signing in can be defined as
  // strings in this array, e.g, your home page, or a sign in page.
  publicRoutes: [],

export const config = {
  // Protects all routes -
  matcher: ["/((?!.+\\.[\\w]+$|_next).*)", "/"],

Next, we wrap the full application with the ClerkProvider component, so all pages have access to the current session and user context. Replace the contents of the app/layout.tsx file with the following:

import type { Metadata } from "next";
import { Inter } from "next/font/google";
import "./globals.css";
import { ClerkProvider, UserButton } from "@clerk/nextjs";

const inter = Inter({ subsets: ["latin"] });

export const metadata: Metadata = {
  title: "Neon-Next-Clerk guide",
  description: "Generated by create next app",

export default function RootLayout({
}: Readonly<{
  children: React.ReactNode;
}>) {
  return (
      <html lang="en">
        <body className={inter.className}>
          <div className="p-4 bg-white">
            <UserButton showName={true}></UserButton>

This also adds a UserButton component to the layout, which displays the user's name and avatar when logged in.

Add interactivity to the application

Our application has a single page that lets the logged-in user store their favorite quote and displays it. We implement Next.js server action to handle the form submission and database interaction.

Create a new file at app/actions.ts with the following content:

"use server";

import { currentUser } from "@clerk/nextjs";
import { UserMessages } from "./db/schema";
import { db } from "./db";
import { redirect } from "next/navigation";
import { eq } from "drizzle-orm";

export async function createUserMessage(formData: FormData) {
  const user = await currentUser();
  if (!user) throw new Error("User not found");

  const message = formData.get("message") as string;
  await db.insert(UserMessages).values({

export async function deleteUserMessage() {
  const user = await currentUser();
  if (!user) throw new Error("User not found");

  await db.delete(UserMessages).where(eq(UserMessages.user_id,;

The addUserMessage function inserts a new message into the user_messages table, while deleteUserMessage removes the message associated with the current user.

Next, we implement a minimal UI to interact with these functions. Replace the contents of the app/page.tsx file with the following:

import { createUserMessage, deleteUserMessage } from "./actions";
import { db } from "./db";
import { currentUser } from "@clerk/nextjs/server";

async function getUserMessage() {
  const user = await currentUser();
  if (!user) throw new Error("User not found");
  return db.query.UserMessages.findFirst({
    where: (messages, { eq }) => eq(messages.user_id,,

export default async function Home() {
  const existingMessage = await getUserMessage();
  const ui = existingMessage ? (
    <div className="w-2/3 text-center">
      <h1 className="text-3xl">{existingMessage.message}</h1>
        className="w-full rounded px-8 pt-6 pb-8 mb-4"
        <div className="w-full text-center">
            value={"Delete Quote"}
            className="bg-[#00E699] transition-colors hover:bg-[#00e5BF] text-gray-800 font-semibold py-2 px-4 rounded focus:outline-none cursor-pointer"
  ) : (
    <form action={createUserMessage} className="shadow-md w-2/3 rounded px-8">
      <div className="mb-6">
          placeholder="Mistakes are the portals of discovery - James Joyce"
          className="text-center appearance-none border rounded w-full p-3 text-gray-700 leading-tight focus:outline-none"
      <div className="w-full text-center">
          value={"Save Quote"}
          className="bg-[#00E699] cursor-pointer transition-colors hover:bg-[#00e5BF] text-gray-800 font-semibold py-2 px-4 rounded focus:outline-none"
  return (
    <main className="flex -mt-16 min-h-screen flex-col align-center justify-center items-center px-24">
      <h2 className="text-2xl pb-6 text-gray-400">
          ? "Your quote is wonderful..."
          : "Save an inspiring quote for yourself..."}

This implements a form with a single text field that lets the user input a quote, and submit it, whereby it gets stored in the database, associated with their Clerk user ID. If a quote is already stored, it displays it and provides a button to delete it.

The currentuser hook from @clerk/nextjs/server provides the current user's information, which we use to interact with the database on their behalf.

Running the application

To start the application, run the following command:

npm run dev

This will start the Next.js development server. Open your browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000 to see the application in action. When running for the first time, you'll be prompted to sign in with Clerk. Once authenticated, you'll be able to visit the home page, add a quote, and see it displayed.


In this guide, we walked through setting up a simple Next.js application with user authentication using Clerk and a Neon Postgres database. We defined a database schema using Drizzle ORM, generated migrations, and interacted with the database to store and retrieve user data.

Next, we can add more routes and features to the application. The Clerk middleware ensures that only authenticated users can access any app routes, and the ClerkProvider component provides the user context to each of them.

To view and manage the users who authenticated with your application, you can navigate to the Clerk Dashboard.

Source code

You can find the source code for the application described in this guide on GitHub.


For more information on the tools used in this guide, refer to the following documentation:

Need help?

Join our Discord Server to ask questions or see what others are doing with Neon. Users on paid plans can open a support ticket from the console. For more detail, see Getting Support.

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