Ivan Vanderbyl

My Rails, Nginx, REE, Passenger, Ubuntu stack

My notes on setting up a simple production server with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, NGINX, Passenger, Ruby Enterprise Edition 1.8.7 and Mysql for Rails 2.3.8/3.0

This guide assumes you have installed Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (with no modules (optional)) on a server somewhere and you have root access via sudo.


echo "alias ll='ls -l'" >> ~/.bash_aliases

edit .bashrc and uncomment the loading of .bash_aliases

If you have trouble with PATH that changes when doing sudo, see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/257616/sudo-changes-path-why then add the following line to the same file

echo "alias sudo='sudo env PATH=$PATH'" >> ~/.bash_aliases

Update and upgrade the system

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Configure timezone (If you didn't already when installing Ubuntu)

sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata
sudo apt-get install ntp
sudo ntpdate ntp.ubuntu.com # Update time

Verify that you have to correct date and time with


Configure hostname

sudo hostname your-hostname

Add your-hostname

sudo vim /etc/hosts

Write your-hostname in

sudo vim /etc/hostname

Verify that hostname is set



Add the following lines to ~/.gemrc, this will speed up gem installation and prevent rdoc and ri from being generated, this is not nessesary in the production environment.

- http://gems.rubyforge.org
- http://gems.github.com
gem: --no-ri --no-rdoc

Install mysql

This should be installed before Ruby Enterprise Edition becouse that will install the mysql gem.

sudo apt-get install mysql-server libmysqlclient15-dev    

Ruby Enterprise Edition

Check for newer version at http://www.rubyenterpriseedition.com/download.html

Install package required by ruby enterprise, C compiler, Zlib development headers, OpenSSL development headers, GNU Readline development headers

sudo apt-get install build-essential zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libreadline5-dev

Download and install Ruby Enterprise Edition

wget http://rubyforge.org/frs/download.php/71096/ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.02.tar.gz
tar xvfz ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.02.tar.gz
rm ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.02.tar.gz
cd ruby-enterprise-1.8.7-2010.02/
sudo ./installer

Change target folder to /opt/ruby for easier upgrade later on

Add Ruby Enterprise bin to PATH

echo "export PATH=/opt/ruby/bin:$PATH" >> ~/.profile && . ~/.profile

Verify the ruby installation

ruby -v
ruby 1.8.7 (2010-04-19 patchlevel 253) [x86_64-linux], MBARI 0x6770, Ruby Enterprise Edition 2010.02

Update RubyGems

sudo gem update --system

Installing git

sudo apt-get install git-core


Automatically install NGINX compiled with Passenger & SSL into /opt/nginx/

sudo /opt/ruby/bin/passenger-install-nginx-module --auto --prefix=/opt/nginx/ --auto-download --extra-configure-flags=--with-http_ssl_module

NGINX init script

More information on http://wiki.nginx.org/nginx-init-ubuntu

This command will download the latest version of my init script, copy it to /etc/init.d/nginx and update permissions.

sudo curl http://github.com/ivanvanderbyl/rails-nginx-passenger-ubuntu/raw/master/nginx/nginx -o /etc/init.d/nginx && sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/nginx && sudo chown root:root /etc/init.d/nginx

Verify that you can start and stop NGINX with init script

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start

  * Starting nginx Server...

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx status

  NGINX found running with processes:  11511 11510

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx stop

  * Stopping nginx Server...

Add it to the startup routine:

sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f nginx defaults

If you want, reboot and see so the webserver is starting as it should.

Installning ImageMagick and RMagick (Optional)

If you want to install the latest version of ImageMagick. I used MiniMagick that shell-out to the mogrify command, worked really well for me.

# If you already installed imagemagick from apt-get
sudo apt-get remove imagemagick

sudo apt-get install libperl-dev gcc libjpeg62-dev libbz2-dev libtiff4-dev libwmf-dev libz-dev libpng12-dev libx11-dev libxt-dev libxext-dev libxml2-dev libfreetype6-dev liblcms1-dev libexif-dev perl libjasper-dev libltdl3-dev graphviz gs-gpl pkg-config

Download the latest source:

wget ftp://ftp.imagemagick.org/pub/ImageMagick/ImageMagick.tar.gz

Once the source is downloaded, uncompress it:

tar xvfz ImageMagick.tar.gz

Now configure and make:

cd ImageMagick-6.6.3-4
sudo make install

To avoid an error such as:

convert: error while loading shared libraries: libMagickCore.so.2: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

sudo ldconfig

Install RMagick

sudo /opt/ruby/bin/ruby /opt/ruby/bin/gem install rmagick

Install Bundler (Optional)

Bundler is arguably the best ruby gem manager ever written. Install it!

sudo gem install bundler

Install Nokogiri (Optional)

Nokogiri dependencies

sudo apt-get install libxslt-dev libxml2-dev

Install Nokogiri gem

sudo gem install nokogiri

Capistrano environment fixes

If your deploying with Capistrano, you must modify a few things to get it to use Ruby Enterprise and load the local users environment.

Edit /etc/ssh/sshd_config and add the following to the bottom of the file:

PermitUserEnvironment yes

Then reboot sshd by running:

sudo /etc/init.d/ssh reload

Configuring the PATH

Edit ~/.ssh/environment, and put something like this inside:


OR if it doesn't exist you can do this to add it with one command:

echo "PATH=/opt/ruby/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games" > ~/.ssh/environment

Test a rails application with NGINX

rails -d mysql testapp
cd testapp

Enter your mysql password

vim database.yml
rake db:create:all
ruby script/generate scaffold post title:string body:text
rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production

Check so the rails app start as normal

ruby script/server

sudo vim /opt/nginx/conf/nginx.conf

Add a new virtual host

server {
    listen 80;
    # server_name www.mycook.com;
    root /home/deploy/testapp/public;
    passenger_enabled on;

Restart NGINX

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx restart

Check your ip address and see if you can access the rails application