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Install Ubuntu 9.04 Virtual Server With Passenger and Rails Application

May 13, 2009

Install Ubuntu 9.04 Virtual Server With Passenger and Rails Application

There have been a few post and code I referenced to set up my server. See gist for a raw install script, which you must adapt to your needs.

I’ll assume we are started from a post-install state of the Server, with the proper networking, etc. in good working order. Here are the basic command line I entered.

First, let’s get the system up to date

sudo ntpdate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo ssh-keygen

Now to install the basic needs for the server

sudo apt-get -y install git-core openssh-server openssh-client build-essential \
wget ntp-simple

This sets up the MRI 1.8.7 Ruby interpreter. I think you can skip this step if you want to run the Phusion Ruby Enterprise Edition instead (see next).

sudo apt-get -y install ruby rdoc irb libyaml-ruby libzlib-ruby ri libopenssl-ruby \
ruby1.8-dev libopenssl-ruby

Install Phusion Ruby Enterprise Edition. Check that page for the current version. This installs executables into /opt/ruby-enterprise/bin, so you should either add that to your path or link those command into your path. I did the link, and since Ubuntu ruby installs into /usr/bin, and my default PATH puts /usr/local/bin before that, I simply created links for each command into that directory. This may not be the best way, but this was a proof of concept run.

sudo dpkg ruby-enterprise_1.8.6-20090421_i386.deb
rm ruby-enterprise_1.8.6-20090421_i386.deb
sudo ln -s /opt/ruby-enterprise/bin/* /usr/local/bin/

Next, we need to install Ruby Gems, the heart of ruby library package management. You can install via the ubuntu ‘apt-get install rubygems’, but the version you install doesn’t like to upgrade itself. It is best to do it from the rubygems distrubution package. Download the current release from the rubygems download page. Since a lot of gems are released though github these days, add that source to the gems sources.

wget “”
tar -xvzf rubygems-1.3.1.tgz
rm rubygems-1.3.1.tgz
cd rubygems-1.3.1
sudo ruby setup.rb
cd ..
rm -r rubygems-1.3.1
sudo gem sources -a

Install PostgreSQL. Its my database of choice, fast, robust, friendly (…except for replication). Set it up to accept connections from this server. After that, create the user accounts you require of your applications. Consult for more details.

sudo apt-get -y install postgresql libpq-dev
sudo vi /etc/postgresql/8.3/main/postgresql.conf
enable this setting:
listen_addresses = ‘localhost,’”
sudo vi /etc/postgresql/8.3/main/pg_hba.conf
Change md5 to trust in line:
host all all trust
sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql-8.3 restart
sudo -u postgres psql template1
ALTER USER postgres with encrypted password ‘your_password’;
create user appuser createdb createuser;

Alternatively, you can run MySQL. It’s also a nice database. You may want to verify this elsewhere to get everything up and running.

sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client
sudo apt-get install libmysql-ruby libmysqlclient15-dev
sudo gem install mysql —no-rdoc —no-ri

Now to install the Apache2 web server and the Phusion Passenger (modrails) module. It instructs you to add some apache configurations, but this location is slightly different. Verify the passenger version numbering if using the “echo” command below.

sudo apt-get -y install apache2-mpm-prefork libapr1-dev apache2-prefork-dev
sudo gem install passenger —no-rdoc —no-ri
sudo /opt/ruby-enterprise/bin/passenger-install-apache2-module
sudo echo “LoadModule passenger_module /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.2.1/ext/apache2/
PassengerRoot /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.2.1
PassengerRuby /usr/bin/ruby1.8” > /etc/apache2/mods-available/passenger.load
sudo a2enmod passenger
sudo a2enmod ssl
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload

Now we are on the road to deployment. Let’s install Rails and some other basic gems.

sudo apt-get -y install libxml2 libxml2-dev
sudo gem install rails rake rspec rspec-rails ruby-debug capistrano libxml-ruby \ fastercsv —no-rdoc —no-ri
sudo gem install mislav-will_paginate —no-rdoc —no-ri

Say we decide to host our app out of /var/app and set up up ready to go. I’m not sure about the chown command below, but saw it elsewhere and it didn’t hurt.

sudo mkdir /var/app
sudo chown allen:allen /var/app
cd /var/app
git clone git://
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/app/k23/config/environment.rb

Chances are, you will deploy with a yummy capistrano or vlad recipe. That out out of the scope at this time, so we’ll create the database and test to make sure te connection is right. Play with your app and fix settings before going on..

cd /var/app/appname
cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml
rake db:create RAILS_ENV=production
rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production
script/console production

Now we install the app through Passenger.

sudo echo “<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot /var/app/appname/public
</VirtualHost>” » /etc/apache2/sites-available/
sudo a2ensite
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

If we were successful, we should be able to load that site (assuming DNS is pointing here already).

Load on your workstation web browser.

I hope this helped you as much as it did me. I apologize for errors that crept into this script while converting it to a blog entry.