Rails on Rackspace Cloud – Part 2

Part one covered setting up a new Ubuntu server and getting Ruby 1.9.2 up and running with rvm.

Now we will finish the setup with a Firewall, MySQL, Apache2, and Phusion Passenger.

Setting Up the Firewall

Before we install the database and other services, lets get the firewall set up. On Ubuntu, I like to
use the Uncomplicated Firewall – UFW.

sudo apt-get install ufw

That will install the firewall. Now set the defaults, add some rules, and enable the firewall.

sudo ufw default deny
sudo ufw allow ssh
sudo ufw allow http
sudo ufw enable

To see the current rules, you can check the status.

sudo ufw status

Now the only ports open to the internet are SSH (22) and HTTP (80).

Installing MySQL

Now that we’re a little more protected from the outside world, lets install the database.

sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev

And install the mysql2 gem.

gem install mysql2

Remember to ‘rvm use 1.9.2’ if you didn’t set it as the default.

Installing Apache and Passenger

The database is ready to go at this point, now we need a web server.

sudo apt-get install apache2 libcurl4-openssl-dev apache2-prefork-dev \
                     libapr1-dev libaprutil1-dev

That will install Apache2 and the extra development packages needed by Passenger. Now install the Passenger gem.

gem install passenger

Now we’re ready to install the Passenger Apache2 module. Note, this doesn’t actually install anything. It just builds the module and gives instructions for updating the configuration.


Now we need to create a new module load file to tell Apache about Passenger.

sudo vim /etc/apache2/mods-available/passenger.load

Here are the contents of passenger.load. The first two lines should be all on one line.

LoadModule passenger_module /home/testapp/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/
PassengerRoot /home/testapp/.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/passenger-3.0.5
PassengerRuby /home/testapp/.rvm/wrappers/ruby-1.9.2-p180/ruby

If we did everything right, we can enable the Passenger module now.

sudo a2enmod passenger

Now we need to set up our virtual host under sites-available.

sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/testapp

Here are the contents of that file. You will obviously need to replace the xx.xx.xx.xx with the IP address of your server.

<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName xx.xx.xx.xx
  DocumentRoot /home/testapp/testapp/public
  <Directory /home/testapp/testapp/public>
    AllowOverride all
    Options -MultiViews

Disable the default web site and enable our new test application.

sudo a2dissite default
sudo a2ensite testapp

Setup a simple Rails App

Create a simple Rails application in your home directory just to make sure everything is working.

rails new ~/testapp
cd ~/testapp
bundle install
rake db:migrate RAILS_ENV=production

Finally, reload the Apache2 configuration.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Go to your server’s IP address in your browser and you should see the default Ruby on Rails index page.

3 thoughts on “Rails on Rackspace Cloud – Part 2”

  1. Great tutorial. I’m brand new to server management and this got me up and running perfectly on my new rackspace server. If I might add a couple comments to make it easier for future noobs. I may have missed it, but I don’t think you mentioned in the last couple posts to “gem install rails”.

    Also, if the user didn’t use testapp for their username then they may get confused when they go to edit the passenger.load file. You might want to mention to put their username into file or to just copy the lines that passenger gives then in the instructions. Such as

    LoadModule passenger_module /home//.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/
    PassengerRoot /home//.rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.2-p180/gems/passenger-3.0.5
    PassengerRuby /home//.rvm/wrappers/ruby-1.9.2-p180/ruby

    Thanks again, nice post!

  2. You’re right. I never did say “gem install rails”. I guess it’s one of those things that I just do on autopilot. I’ll add it to the end of part 1.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

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