Note: This document only applies to student groups with virtual hosts who have applied for apphosting. For normal user accounts or for groups without apphosting, you'll want to host with FastCGI instead.

You will want to deploy your application using nvm so that you can easily install and manage dependencies and versions.

Setting up nvm

  1. Create a directory for your app to live in:

    mkdir -p ~/myapp
    cd ~/myapp
  2. Install nvm in your home directory. Note that nvm is terrible and will modify your shell config files without asking. But maybe that's what you want?

    Go find the latest version from the NVM GitHub, and copy the nasty one-liner straight into your shell to install it. At the time of writing, it looks like this:

    curl -o- | bash

    Go ahead and run it, and close/re-open your terminal as it suggests.

  3. Install whatever version of Node.js you want.

    nvm install 6
    nvm alias default 6
  4. Copy your code to ~/myapp/src or similar, and install any dependencies using npm.

Preparing your app to be supervised

Create a file at ~/myapp/run with content like:

#!/bin/bash -e
[ -e "/srv/apps/$USER/$USER.sock" ] && rm "/srv/apps/$USER/$USER.sock"
umask 0

. ~/.nvm/
NODE_ENV=production PORT="/srv/apps/$USER/$USER.sock" \
    exec ~/myapp/src/bin/www

Replace ~/myapp/src/bin/www with the path to your app, then make run executable:

chmod +x ~/myapp/run

Test executing the run script. You should be able to access your website while running it (or see any errors in your terminal).

Supervise your app with systemd

Cool, your app works. Set up systemd to supervise your app (so that it starts and restarts automatically).


If you have a better way to host Node.js-based apps on the app server (or a suggestion for how we could improve this documentation), send us an email!