Build SaaS with paid subscriptions - using Nile and Stripe

In this quick tutorial, you will learn how to extend Nile's built-in tables with a Stripe subscription data, and how to use Stripe's API to manage subscriptions.

1. Create a database

  1. Sign up for an invite to Nile if you don't have one already
  2. You should see a welcome message. Click on "Lets get started" Nile welcome.
  3. Give your workspace and database names, or you can accept the default auto-generated names. In order to complete this quickstart in a browser, make sure you select to “Use Token in Browser”.

2. Extend the tenant table

After you created a database, you will land in Nile's query editor. Stripe integration requires storing customer and subscription IDs. For that, we'll extend the built-in tenants table:

alter table tenants add column stripe_customer_id text;
alter table tenants add column stripe_subscription_id text;
alter table tenants add column tenant_tier varchar(16) default 'free';

If all went well, you'll see the new columns in the panel on the left side of the query editor.

3. Get credentials

In the left-hand menu, click on "Settings" and then select "credentials". Generate credentials and keep them somewhere safe. These give you access to the database. Also, copy and save the workspace and database names. You'll need them later.

4. Sign up to Stripe and Create a Product

  1. Sign up for a Stripe account
  2. Go to the Stripe Dashboard and click on "Developers" -> "API Keys", on the upper right corner.
  3. Copy the "Secret Key" and "Publishable Key" and keep them somewhere safe. You'll need them later.
  4. On the left menu, click on "more +" and select "Product Catalog". Add a new product, and make sure you select "Recurring" as the pricing model. You can use the default values for the rest of the fields.

4. Set the environment

Enough GUI for now. Let's get to some code.

If you haven't cloned this repository yet, now will be an excellent time to do so.

git clone
cd niledatabase/examples/quickstart/nextjs

Rename .env.local.example to .env.local, and update it with your workspace and database name. (Your workspace and database name are displayed in the header of the Nile dashboard.) Also fill in the username and password with the credentials you picked up in the previous step.

It should look something like this:

# Client (public) env vars

# the URL of this example + where the api routes are located
# Use this to instantiate Nile context for client-side components

# Private env vars that should never show up in the browser
# These are used by the server to connect to Nile database
NILE_USER = "018ad484-0d52-7274-8639-057814be60c3"
NILE_PASSWORD = "0d11b8e5-fbbc-4639-be44-8ab72947ec5b"
STRIPE_SECRET_KEY = "sk_test_51Nn2AgJ5..."

# The URL of the Nile API
# Use this to instantiate Nile Server context for server-side use of the "api" SDK

# Uncomment if you want to try Google Auth
# AUTH_TYPE=google

Install dependencies:

npm install

5. Run the application

npm run dev

💡 Note: This example only works with Node 18 and above. You can check the version with node -v.

Open http://localhost:3000 with your browser to see the result.

If all went well, your browser should show you the first page in the app, asking you to login or sign up.

After you sign up as a user of this example app, you'll be able to see this user by going back to Nile Console and looking at the users table

select * from users;

Login with the new user, and you can create a new tenant by clicking on the "Create Tenant" button. This will take you into the example billing page. You can play around with this - upgrade and downgrade the tenant (use Stripe's test credit card number 4242 4242 4242 4242), and see the changes in the database:

select * from tenants

Will show you the tenant tier and the Stripe customer and subscription IDs. Note that only paid tiers have a subscription ID.

7. How does it work?

There are a few moving pieces here, so let's break it down.

This example uses NextJS app router, so the application landing page is in app/page.tsx. You can see the user authentication components <GoogleAuthPanel /> and <BasicLoginForm /> there. If you are interested in learning how to use Nile for authentication, check out the authentication tutorials.

This explanation will focus on creating tenants and subscriptions.

7.1. Configuring Nile SDK

All the signup and login methods eventually route users to /tenants. You'll find the code in app/tenants/page.tsx.

The first thing we do in this page is to configure Nile SDK for the current user:

configureNile(cookies().get("authData"), null);

This method configures a shared instance of nile that is used throughout the application. This instance is a singleton, which you get by calling Nile SDK's Server method, which we are doing in '@/lib/NileServer' This is also where all the environment variables we've set earlier are being used, so lets take a look at this file:

const nile =  Server(
        api: {
          basePath: String(process.env.NEXT_PUBLIC_NILE_API),

The basePath configuration is the URL that nile.api methods will call. This component calls Nile APIs directly, and therefore we set basePath to NEXT_PUBLIC_NILE_API.

So every page, route and function in our app can use the same nile instance to access Nile APIs and DB.

But, we need to make sure we are using the right user and tenant context. So we call configureNile and pass in the cookies and the tenant ID. After this point, we can use nile to access the database and APIs, and it will use the right user and tenant context.

7.2 Creating a Paid subscription

When tenants are created, we initially create them in the free tier. This is done in app/tenants/tenant-actions.tsx:

const createTenantResponse = await nile.api.tenants.createTenant({
  name: tenantName,

Note that we don't pass in a tier parameter. This is because we want to create the tenant in the default tier, which is free. We handled that when we extended tenants table with a column for the tenant tier:

alter table tenants add column tenant_tier varchar(16) default 'free';

After the tenant is created, we can upgrade it to a paid tier. This is initiated in app/tenants/[tenantid]/billing/page.tsx :

<form action={createCheckoutSession}>
  <input type="hidden" name="tenantid" value={params.tenantid} />
  <Button id="checkout-and-portal-button" variant="solid" type="submit">

When a user clicks the button, it triggets createCheckoutSession which is a NextJS server action implemented in app/tenants/[tenantid]/billing/checkout-actions.tsx:

export async function createCheckoutSession(formData: FormData) {
  const tenantid = formData.get("tenantid")?.toString();
  const prices = await stripe.prices.list(); // (1)
  const price =[0].id;

  const session = await stripe.checkout.sessions.create({
    // (2)
    billing_address_collection: "auto",
    line_items: [
        price: price,
        quantity: 1,
    mode: "subscription",
      process.env.NEXT_PUBLIC_BASE_PATH +
      process.env.NEXT_PUBLIC_BASE_PATH + `/tenants/${tenantid}/billing`,
  const url: string = session.url || "/"; // (3)

What this does is:

  1. Call Stripe to get the price ID for the product (alternatively you can get it in Stripe's dashboard and use an environment variable for this).
  2. Call Stripe's API to create a checkout session. This is where we pass in the success and cancel URLs. The success URL is a NextJS route that we'll see in a second. Note that we pass in the tenant ID as a query parameter in the success URL. This lets us identify the tenant when Stripe calls the success URL, and upgrade the correct tenant. The cancel URL simply takes the user back to the billing page.
  3. Redirect the user to Stripe's checkout page. It's URL is part of the session we just created..

7.3 Handling Stripe's checkout success

When the user completes the checkout process, Stripe will call the success URL we passed in earlier. This is a NextJS route, implemented in app/api/checkout-success/page.tsx. This is where we upgrade the tenant to a paid tier and store his customer and subscription references in our tenants table:

console.log("checkout-success called");
const stripe = new Stripe(process.env.STRIPE_SECRET_KEY || "");
const searchParams = req.nextUrl.searchParams;
const tenantId = searchParams.get("tenant_id")?.toString();
const session_id = searchParams.get("session_id")?.toString();
let location: string;

const checkoutSession = await stripe.checkout.sessions.retrieve(session_id); // (1)

// Here we are getting a connection to a specific tenant database
const tenantNile = configureNile(cookies().get("authData"), tenantId); // (2)

// Store the Stripe customer ID  and subscription in the database
const resp = await tenantNile.db("tenants").update({
  // (3)
  stripe_customer_id: checkoutSession.customer,
  stripe_subscription_id: checkoutSession.subscription,
  tenant_tier: "basic",

return respond("/tenants/" + tenantId + "/billing");
  1. First we call Stripe to get the checkout session. This is where we get the customer ID and subscription ID.
  2. Then we get an instance of the tenantDB using the tenant ID, which we cleverly asked Stripe to provide when calling this route.
  3. Finally, we update the tenant's row in the tenants table with the customer and subscription IDs, and upgrade the tenant to the basic tier.

7.4 Managing subscriptions

We use Stripe's customer dashboard to let users manage their subscriptions. To direct users to the dashboard, we use Stripe's customer_portal API. This is implemented in app/tenants/[tenantid]/billing/checkout-actions.tsx:

export async function redirectToStripePortal(formData: FormData) {
  const tenantId = formData.get("tenantid")?.toString();
  const tenantNile = configureNile(cookies().get("authData"), tenantId);

  const resp = await tenantNile.db("tenants").select("stripe_customer_id");
  const customerId = resp[0].stripe_customer_id;

  const returnUrl =
    process.env.NEXT_PUBLIC_BASE_PATH + `/tenants/${tenantId}/billing`;

  const portalSession = await stripe.billingPortal.sessions.create({
    customer: customerId,
    return_url: returnUrl,


In order to call Stripe's API, we need the customer ID. We get it from the tenants table, and then call Stripe's API to create a portal session. We then redirect the user to the portal session URL, which takes the user to the customer dashboard.

7.5 Downgrading a tenant

A tenant who is subscribed to the "basic" tier can downgrade to the "free" tier. This is implemented in app/tenants/[tenantid]/billing/checkout-actions.tsx:

export async function cancelSubscription(formData: FormData) {
  const tenantid = formData.get("tenantid")?.toString();
  const tenantNile = configureNile(cookies().get("authData"), tenantid);

  const resp = await tenantNile.db("tenants").select("stripe_subscription_id");
  const subscriptionId = resp[0].stripe_subscription_id;

  try {
    await stripe.subscriptions.cancel(subscriptionId);
    // if we got here, subscription was cancelled successfully, lets downgrade the tenant tier too
    await tenantNile
      .update({ tenant_tier: "free", stripe_subscription_id: null });
  } catch (e) {
    return { message: "Failed to cancel subscription" };

  revalidatePath("/tenants/" + tenantid + "/billing");
  redirect("/tenants/" + tenantid + "/billing");

This is similar to the previous example, except that we use the tenant's subscription ID to call Stripe's cancel API and cancel the subscription. If this step succeeds, we downgrade the tenant in our database.

8. What's next?

This example is a good starting point for introducing subscriptions, tiered plans and billing for your SaaS application and your tenants. You have also learned how to extend Nile's built-in tables with additional fields and use them in your application.

Next steps could be to add more tiers, display past payments in the customer dashboard, or to add a webhook to handle Stripe's subscription events.

You can learn more about Nile's tenant virtualization features in the following tutorials:

And you can explore Nile's JS SDK in the SDK reference.