If you are looking to host your rails site for free(or even paid) without worrying about server configuration etc , think no further than Heroku. Heroku is one of the most awesome cloud platforms to host your app with minimal fuss.

You can find many guides and quick starts for heroku but you may still spend hours looking at multiple guides. So if you are set out to do exactly what I wanted to do i.e. Deploy my app on heroku at my domain, this blog will be helpful. Tested on Ubuntu 11.10

Setting up git

First we need to setup your application’s git repository. Ignore if you have already set this up.

git init
touch .gitignore
git add .
git commit
# This will create a local repository

Install and Setup Heroku

sudo apt-get install heroku-toolbelt
heroku login # login with your heroku username and password
heroku create --stack cedar # create heroku app for the local app. This is for rails 3.1+.  Do this in your app directory

Verifying Heroku Setup

Confirm your app has been created by – git config -l. Output should be like:

user.name=Shadab Ahmed

Heroku will become just like another remote repository for you app where you can push commits.

Deploying on Heroku

Deploying is as simple as a git push.

git commit -a
git push heroku master

If successful you will get your app url you can visit to see the app. You can also rename your app with heroku rename newappname. Now your app will be available on http://newappname.herokuapp.com

Setting up your domain for your app

If you want to access your app through http://yourdomain.com instead of http://appname.herokuapp.com. Setting up your domain is very simple:

heroku addons:add custom_domains
heroku domains:add yourdomain.com # Setup your domain for your current heroku app

Setup A-Records for your domain for the following IPs:

Also setup C-Name record for your domain www.yourdomain.com

That’s it. You app has been setup and you can access it using http://yourdomain.com .

You might want to optimize your site after this. See my post for setting up backups, analytics and performance tuning of your app on Heroku – Tuning Heroku

Good Luck!

P.S. Heroku free account only supports postgres database as of now. I would recommend using postgres for your test, development and production environments for the sake of consistency

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