Manual deployment

This tutorial assumes that you have already managed to clone Consul Democracy on your machine and gotten it to work.

  1. First, create a Heroku account if it isn't already done.

  2. Install the Heroku CLI and sign in using

heroku login
  1. Go to your Consul Democracy repository and instantiate the process

cd consuldemocracy
heroku create your-app-name

You can add the flag --region eu if you want to use their European servers instead of the US ones.

If your-app-name is not already taken, Heroku should now create your app.

  1. Create a database using

heroku addons:create heroku-postgresql

You should now have access to an empty Postgres database whose address was automatically saved as an environment variable named DATABASE_URL. Consul Democracy will automatically connect to it when deployed.

  1. (Not needed) Add a file name heroku.yml at the root of your project and paste the following in it

    - ruby
    - imagemagick
  web: bundle exec rails server -e ${RAILS_ENV:-production}
  1. Now, generate a secret key and save it to an ENV variable named SECRET_KEY_BASE using

heroku config:set SECRET_KEY_BASE=$(rails secret)

Also add your server address:

heroku config:set SERVER_NAME=myserver.address.com

You need to let the app know where the configuration variables are stored by adding a link to the ENV variables in config/secrets.yml

  secret_key_base: <%= ENV["SECRET_KEY_BASE"] %>
  server_name: <%= ENV["SERVER_NAME"] %>

and commit this file in the repo by commenting out the corresponding line in the .gitignore.


Remember not to commit the file if you have any sensitive information in it!

  1. You can now push your app using

git push heroku your-branch:master
  1. It won't work straight away because the database doesn't contain the tables needed. To create them, run

heroku run rake db:migrate
heroku run rake db:seed

If you want to add the test data in the database, move gem 'faker', '~> 1.8.7' outside of group :development and run

heroku run rake db:dev_seed
  1. Your app should now be ready to use. You can open it with

heroku open

You also can run the console on heroku using

heroku console --app your-app-name
  1. Heroku doesn't allow to save images or documents in its servers, so it's necessary to setup a permanent storage space.

See our S3 guide for more details about configuring Paperclip with S3.

Configure Sendgrid

Add the SendGrid add-on in Heroku. It will create a SendGrid account for you with ENV["SENDGRID_USERNAME"] and ENV["SENDGRID_PASSWORD"].

Add this to config/secrets.yml, under the production: section:

  mailer_delivery_method: :smtp
    :address: "smtp.sendgrid.net"
    :port: 587
    :domain: "heroku.com"
    :user_name: ENV["SENDGRID_USERNAME"]
    :password: ENV["SENDGRID_PASSWORD"]
    :authentication: "plain"
    :enable_starttls_auto: true

Important: Turn on one worker dyno so that emails get sent.

Install rails_12factor and specify the Ruby version

The rails_12factor is only useful if you use a version of Consul Democracy older than 1.0.0. The latter uses Rails 5 which includes the changes.

As recommended by Heroku, you can add the gem rails_12factor and specify the version of Ruby you want to use. You can do so by adding

gem 'rails_12factor'

ruby 'x.y.z'

in the file Gemfile_custom, where x.y.z is the version defined in the .ruby-version file in the Consul Democracy repository. Don't forget to run

bundle install

to generate Gemfile.lock before committing and pushing to the server.

Use Puma as a web server

Heroku recommends to use Puma to improve the responsiveness of your app on a number of levels.

If you want to allow more concurrency, uncomment the line:

workers ENV.fetch("WEB_CONCURRENCY") { 2 }

You can find an explanation for each of these settings in the Heroku tutorial.

The last part is to change the web task to use Puma by changing it to this in your heroku.yml file:

web: bundle exec puma -C config/puma.rb

Add configuration variables to tune your app from the dashboard

The free and hobby versions of Heroku are barely enough to run an app like Consul Democracy. To optimise the response time and make sure the app doesn't run out of memory, you can change the number of workers and threads that Puma uses.

My recommended settings are one worker and three threads. You can set it by running these two commands:

heroku config:set WEB_CONCURRENCY=1
heroku config:set RAILS_MAX_THREADS=3

I also recommend to set the following:

heroku config:set RAILS_SERVE_STATIC_FILES=enabled
heroku config:set RAILS_ENV=production

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