This tutorial will show how to set up an app written in the Crystal web framework Lucky with Dokku on Ubuntu 18.04.
You can run this setup on most low-end boxes, e.g. a $5 Digital Ocean droplet, or in my case, a $2.50 Hetzner Cloud Server.
By the end of the tutorial you'll know how to deploy your own Lucky apps and be able to manage them easily all on one server.
What is Lucky?
Lucky is a web framework written in Crystal. Crystal is a programming language with syntax inspired by Ruby but with speeds similar to that of C.
What is Dokku?
Dokku is a small PaaS service powered by Docker that you can run on your own servers. Think of it as a self-hosted command-line Heroku.
- Crystal 0.34.0 installed locally
- A fresh Lucky application installed and running locally.
- Basic knowledge of Git.
- A server with Dokku Installed using Ubuntu 18.04.
- A domain or subdomain to point to the server.
You'll need a Lucky app to deploy. If you don't have one then no problem! A fresh Lucky app comes with several goodies out of the box, a home page and an authentication system linked to a database. This is more than enough to work with. See Getting Started and Starting a Lucky Project. Make sure you have the project commited to git and ready for the first deployment.
Step 1 - Setting up the Dokku configuration
SSH into your server to get it ready for deployment.
In the following commands replace
app.example.com with your domain or subdomain. Replace
exampledb with your preferred database name.
This will create the initial app container in Dokku, create the database, and link them both together. The last three lines set environment variables for the Lucky app. The first will tell Lucky to run the app in
production mode, the second will tell Lucky what the app URL is, and the third will tell the app to run on port 5000 which Dokku will connect with Nginx to expose to the world.
dokku apps:create app.example.com dokku postgres:create exampledb dokku postgres:link exampledb app.example.com dokku config:set app.example.com LUCKY_ENV=production dokku config:set app.example.com APP_DOMAIN=app.example.com dokku config:set app.example.com PORT=5000
There's a few more configuration details that need to be set. First, you'll need to tell Lucky the database details that are set in Dokku. Run the below command to get the database URL.
dokku postgres:info exampledb
DATABASE_URL environment variable from the above output.
dokku config:set app.example.com DATABASE_URL=postgres://...
Next, Lucky needs a secret key environment variable. In your app directory on your local machine run the following command which will generate a secure key.
Then, back on your remote Dokku server add it to the
SECRET_KEY_BASE environment variable.
dokku config:set app.example.com SECRET_KEY_BASE=...
If you're planning to send emails through the app you'll also need to set
SEND_GRID_KEY key, otherwise, change
config/email.cr to use
Carbon::DevAdapter.new in production (and make sure to commit!)
dokku config:set app.example.com SEND_GRID_KEY=...
Your server is almost ready for deployment. If you're using a server with 2GB of RAM or less, you'll need to set up a Swap. Without it the deployment process will most likely run into memory issues. Checkout this tutorial for setting up a Swap. A 1G Swap should be more than enough.
Step 2 - Ready the app for deployment
Back in your local app add a new file called
.buildpacks with the following contents
Step - 3 Deploy
Make a new commit. Finally you're ready to deploy. Run the following commands locally. The first will add your server as a remote origin for your git repo. The second will push the code to the server.
git remote add dokku dokku@ip:app.example.com git push dokku master
Step 4 - Set up SSL
Dokku lets you easily set up a Lets Encrypt SSL certificate. Run the following commands to do so
dokku config:set --no-restart app.example.com DOKKU_LETSENCRYPT_EMAILfirstname.lastname@example.org dokku letsencrypt app.example.com