Reliably Deploying Rails Applications

Written by Ben Dixon

Mastering Rails application deployment

This book will show you from start to finish how to:

  • Setup a VPS from Scratch
  • Setup additional servers in minutes
  • Use Capistrano 3 to deploy quickly and reliably
  • Automate boring maintenance tasks
This is the fourth edition of this book, updated January 2017 and using current releases of Chef, Capistrano & Chef Zero.

If you've got applications on Heroku which are costing you a fortune, this will provide you with the tools you need to move them onto a VPS. This includes running several Rails Applications on a single VPS - great for small side projects.

If you're already running your app on a VPS but the deploy process is flaky - it sometimes doesn't restart or loads the wrong version of the code - this book provides a template for making the process hassle free.

Section 1: Chef

How to automate provisioning new servers with chef. By the end you'll be able to get a new server up and ready to use within minutes.

Many standard Rails system configurations are supported out of the box with the example code. For anything else, detailed instructions for setting up your own custom configurations and writing your own chef recipes are provided. 

The aim of this section is to build a re-usable blueprint you can use whenever you need to setup a new VPS. It includes a "Five minute VPS" quickstart section for the impatient.

Section 2: Capistrano 3

Using Capistrano 3 to automate every aspect of deployment, from updating code to managing assets and background workers.

Particular attention is paid to setting up zero downtime deployment - essential if you're iterating rapidly and want to deploy several times per day. This includes a section on common gotchas such as failing to reload the gemfile on deployment as well as a detailed guide to troubleshooting when it goes wrong.

It also includes detailed sample code and complete instructions for deploying Sidekiq workers, configuring NGinx Virtualhosts and SSL. Finally it covers how to setup automated database backups and how to use Vagrant for testing.

I've spent hundreds of hours combing through blog posts, documentation and tweaking config files. This has got me to the stage where deploying to a VPS is as easy as - in fact often easier than - deploying to Heroku. If you want to do the same, this book will save you a lot of time.