April 2011 Server Setup with Rails, Ubuntu, Nginx, RVM, Capistrano, Git

There are other blogs out there telling you how to set up a ruby
server install with ubuntu, nginx, passenger, linode ubuntu 10.10, and
rvm, but I couldn’t find one that put it all together, so I decided to
share my setup from beginning to end. I hope it helps you, but I’m also
hoping you point out any risks that I should clean up.

In general I used “this blog”:http://thekindofme.wordpress.com/2010/10/24/rails-3-on-ubuntu-10-10-with-rvm-passenger-and-nginx/, but it didn’t have everything I needed, as you’ll see below.

First I set up the server in linode, then connected to the server via a simple ssh command:

ssh root@tacitus

Before anything else, I had to install basic applications such as git and emacs.

sudo apt-get install git emacs

I decided that I wanted to set up everything from the perspective of
the deployment user, passenger, so I created the user *passenger*:

root@li289-94:~# useradd -d /home/passenger -m passenger
root@li289-94:~# usermod -s /bin/bash passenger
root@li289-94:~# passwd passenger

Now set-up ssh with public keys to enable password free auto-connection. Then I logged in as root, added passenger
to sudoers (using visudo and adding passenger to the sudo group) and started getting ready to install the ruby
version manager, _rvm_.

bash < <(curl -s https://rvm.beginrescueend.com/install/rvm)

Now, we need to load RVM into a shell session to .bashrc to make the rvm executables available.

added [[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && . "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm"

To prevent restarting the shell, you can run source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm to get everything up and running immediately.
In order to test the installation, I tried ‘type rvm | head -n1’ to be sure rvm was a function available to the user.

Now, it’s time to get everything ready for the heavy lifting a ruby install requires.

sudo aptitude install build-essential bison openssl libreadline5
libreadline5-dev curl git-core zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev
libsqlite3-0 libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libmysqlclient-dev

And I forgot to run (needed later):

sudo apt-get install libxslt-dev libxml2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev

And the big moment, the chance to let rvm handle the latest ruby. (This will take a good bit of time.)

rvm install 1.9.2
rvm use 1.9.2 --default

With 1.9.2 installed, we can now configure passenger and create a gemset for our project

rvm 1.9.2 --passenger
rvm gemset create polco
rvm 1.9.2@polco
gem install passenger
rvmsudo passenger-install-nginx-module

Stick with the passenger defaults. The only problem was on rvm 1.9.2 –passenger, I get:

NOTE: If you are using Passenger 3 you no longer need the passenger_ruby,
use the wrapper script for your ruby instead (see 'rvm wrapper')

This was a new one to me, and made me deviate from the script I was following. I am using passenger-3.0.6, so I am definitely more up to date than the server. Due to this error, I broke with the blog I was following and did not change passenger_ruby to:

passenger_ruby /home/wayne/.rvm/bin/passenger_ruby;

This might still be something I need to do since I am currently getting a 404. I am changing back to this — which for me is the following line:

passenger_ruby /home/passenger/.rvm/bin/passenger_ruby;

h3. Passenger Configuration

gem install passenger

I chose, “compile and install nginx for me” and chose default install
locations. This takes a good while too. Now it was time to set up

The installer told me that my configuration was already modified and

This installer has already modified the configuration file for you! The
following configuration snippet was inserted:

  http {
      passenger_root /home/passenger/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/passenger-3.0.6;
      passenger_ruby /home/passenger/.rvm/wrappers/ruby-1.9.2-p180/ruby;

To prepare for the deployment, I made the deployment directory:

mkdir -p /home/passenger/polco/public/;

So now I set up a basic server with the following nginx.conf file:

worker_processes  1;
 error_log /var/log/nginx/error.log debug;

 events {
    worker_connections  1024;

 http {
    passenger_root /home/passenger/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/passenger-3.0.6;
#    passenger_ruby /home/passenger/.rvm/wrappers/ruby-1.9.2-p180/ruby;                                             
    passenger_ruby /home/passenger/.rvm/bin/passenger_ruby;

    include       mime.types;
    default_type  application/octet-stream;

    sendfile        on;

    keepalive_timeout  65;

    server {
      listen 80;
      server_name localhost;
      root /home/deployer/polco/public;
      passenger_enabled on;


And I installed an nginx start script:

git clone git://github.com/jnstq/rails-nginx-passenger-ubuntu.git
sudo mv rails-nginx-passenger-ubuntu/nginx/nginx /etc/init.d/nginx
sudo chown root:root /etc/init.d/nginx

Now I am making a single-user git repo:

mkdir ~/polco.bare.git/
cd polco.bare.git/
git init --bare

So I could now run from my desktop:

git push ssh://passenger@tacitus/~/polco.bare.git/ master

Everything worked . . . so far, now for the hard part . . .

h3. Deployment Setup

On the server, installed the bundler gem (under the current rvm: ruby 1.9.2@polco) and put together the following deploy.rb with Capistrano.

 require 'rvm/capistrano'
 set :rvm_ruby_string, '1.9.2'
 set :rvm_type, :user
 require 'bundler/capistrano'
 set :application, "polco"
 role :web, ""
 role :app, ""
 role :db,  "", :primary => true
 default_run_options[:pty] = true
 ssh_options[:forward_agent] = true
 set :deploy_to, "/home/passenger/polco"
 set :deploy_via, :remote_cache
 set :user, "passenger"
 set :use_sudo, false
 set :scm, :git
 set :scm_username, "passenger"
 set :repository, "ssh://tim@tacitus/~/polco.git/"
 set :branch, "master"
 set :git_enable_submodules, 1
 namespace :deploy do
  task :start, :roles => :app do
    run "touch #{current_path}/tmp/restart.txt"

  task :stop, :roles => :app do


  desc "Restart Application"
  task :restart, :roles => :app do
    run "touch #{current_path}/tmp/restart.txt"

  desc "Symlink shared resources on each release - not used"
  task :symlink_shared, :roles => :app do


p. after ‘deploy:update_code’, ‘deploy:symlink_shared’

Then, from my desktop, I built the necessary directories and tested my deployment.

cap deploy:setup
cap deploy

The deployment works fine, and I know I still need to get my databases setup on the server for everything to run correctly. But I am surprised that nginx gives me a 404.

2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20057#0: signal 17 (SIGCHLD) received
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20057#0: worker process 20059 exited with code 0
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20057#0: exit
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20712#0: using the "epoll" event method
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20712#0: nginx/0.8.54
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20712#0: built by gcc 4.4.5 (Ubuntu/Linaro 4.4.4-14ubuntu5) 
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20712#0: OS: Linux 2.6.38-linode31
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20712#0: getrlimit(RLIMIT_NOFILE): 1024:1024
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20752#0: start worker processes
 2011/04/11 22:52:00 [notice] 20752#0: start worker process 20753
 2011/04/11 22:52:16 [error] 20753#0: *1 "/home/deployer/polco/public/index.html" is not found (2: No  such file or directory), client:, server: localhost, request: "GET / HTTP/1.1", host:  "tacitus"

Please let me know of any comments or ways I can improve my setup. Also, I would love to hear if any of this was helpful for you.

Leave a Reply