Deploy Rails 5.1 app with Webpack, React Puma and other

Recently I’ve been working on my inchef-app on localhost, app is almost done, but it was working only on my localhost. My previous projects I was running with unicorn and simple rails and jquery – nothing fancy. So I had my configuration up and running – just needed copy paste, change paths and that it. When yyou play with something new, and dont have any experienced friend around – you have to dive into ocean by your own – and I hate it, so deoploying I postponed as long I could… I like when I have time to focus, and read, play, find exact solution which will fit and will work. So today – Monday – this was good time. I’ve spent bunch of hours to test and check. So my server is running on debian wheezy, old one but good ;), first problem was that webpacker needs to run node > 4.x and I had 0.12 or sth. So simple `apt-get install node` didn’t worked, because node doesn’t support wheezy ;(. So what I did – I’ve installed node 5.x, than installed npm and than upgraded node to version 8.x 馃槈

# Installing Node.js 5.x on Ubuntu / Debian
curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

than install or use npm

sudo npm cache clean -f
sudo npm install -g n
sudo n stable

sudo ln -sf /usr/local/n/versions/node/<VERSION>/bin/node /usr/bin/node 

To upgrade to latest version (and not current stable) version, you can use

sudo n latest

To undo:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall nodejs-legacy     # fix /usr/bin/node
sudo n rm 6.0.0     # replace number with version of Node that was installed
sudo npm uninstall -g n

found here:

then I needed yarn:

curl -sS | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install yarn


Ok, so we have lastest node, npm

npm -v # => 5.0.0

node -v #=> v8.0.0

Now we need deploy our app:

Assuming that we are in app directory, we need:

webpack config in config/webpacker.yml

    port: 8080
    https: false
  source_path: frontend
  source_entry_path: packs
  public_output_path: packs

Puma config in config/puma_production.rb

workers 4 #according to qty of server processors

threads_count = ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS") { 6 }
threads threads_count, threads_count

rails_env = ENV['RAILS_ENV'] || "production"
environment rails_env

app_dir = File.expand_path("../..", __FILE__)
shared_dir = "#{app_dir}/tmp"

bind "unix:#{shared_dir}/sockets/puma.sock"
stdout_redirect "#{shared_dir}/puma.log", "#{shared_dir}/puma.err.log", true

# Set master PID and state locations
pidfile "#{shared_dir}/pids/"
state_path "#{shared_dir}/pids/puma.state"

# Allow puma to be restarted by `rails restart` command.
plugin :tmp_restart

# Change to match your CPU core count

on_worker_boot do
  require "active_record"
  ActiveRecord::Base.connection.disconnect! rescue ActiveRecord::ConnectionNotEstablished

Next I had to run npm install to install needed js libs
Now precompile assets and webpack according to it should be done automatically with rails assets:precompile however this didn’t work – maybe due to missing file config/webpacer.yml. So I executed `bundle exec rails webpacker:compile and it did work 馃槈

Next step… I was able to run puma server from app directory puma -C config/puma.rb and it worked, now we need configure nginx to talk to puma, everyone uses sockets to we also will use socket, my very simple nginx configuration looks like:

upstream app_server {
 server unix:/path/to/puma.sock fail_timeout=0;

server {
  root /path/to/app/public;

 location / {
   if (!-f $request_filename) {
     proxy_pass http://app_server;

I use init.d so had to download proper scripts from




# Copy the init script to services directory 
sudo cp puma /etc/init.d
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/puma

# Make it start at boot time. 
sudo update-rc.d -f puma defaults

# Copy the Puma runner to an accessible location
sudo cp run-puma /usr/local/bin
sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/run-puma

# Create an empty configuration file
sudo touch /etc/puma.conf

Managing the jungle

Puma apps are held in /etc/puma.conf by default. It’s mainly a CSV file and every line represents one app. Here’s the syntax:


You can add an instance by editing the file or running the following command:

sudo /etc/init.d/puma add /path/to/app user /path/to/app/config/puma.rb /path/to/app/log/puma.log

The config and log paths, as well as the environment variables, are optional parameters and default to:

  • config: /path/to/app/config/puma.rb
  • log: /path/to/app/log/puma.log
  • environment: (empty)

Multiple environment variables need to be separated by a semicolon, e.g.


To remove an app, simply delete the line from the config file or run:

sudo /etc/init.d/puma remove /path/to/app

The command will make sure the Puma instance stops before removing it from the jungle.

Of course there was a problem with nginx… with my configuration, so very helpful was nginx -t
it will show you cause of the problem.

OK, now I can run sudo service puma start and it will start my apps… and that its few hours of solving problems, now I have my app up and running globally not only on my localhost ;D

Rafath Khan

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