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How to get up and running with Bedrock and Bedrock Capistrano at Oderland

Getting up and running with Bedrock

If you get totally stuck, here are some resources that may help you: Roots Discourse. Actually, you may want to head over and read this through really quick. It's nowhere near as long as this and may be good to have in the back of your mind when reading the rest of this document. Capistrano Website with manual Screencast on deploying WordPress with Capistrano.


Bedrock is created by the good awesome people behind Sage and is described as a "WordPress boilerplate with modern development tools, easier configuration, and an improved folder structure." Read more at

OMG, this document is the size of a Stephen King novel!

Fear not. While the guide is a bith lengthy (partly due to usesless paragraphs like this but also because it contains information on how to add plugins and set up SSH), you will probably only have to go through it once per project and then forget about it.

While there is an official guide on how to get up and running with Bedrock, there are some things missing in it. Also, since we are often using Oderland for hosting, this guide also describes some extra steps necessary to get stuff up and running in their shared environment. The Oderland-steps may also apply to other shared hosting environments.

In some places, this guide assumes that you are developing a theme based on Sage. If you are not using Sage: why are you not using Sage? If you still don't want to use Sage, you should probably be able to use this guide anyway and skip the Sage specific parts. Sage!

Setting up Bedrock locally from scratch

These steps should be taken if yo are the first developer to work on a project. If you are to continue work on an existing Bedrock based project, check under "Cloning an existing Bedrock based project".

  1. Make sure you have a host and MySQL-database to use for the WP-installation on your computer.
  2. The entire project must be hosted in a Git-repo that can be accessed by all the servers that will run the site, including fo example local, stage and production. so either create an empty repo there that you clone to your local machine or create it locally or however you like to do it. The important thing is that the entire project is in the repo. So if you move the content of (see step 4) to the folder "bedrocktest.local", all files in "bedrocktest.local" should be in the repo (the .gitignore of Bedrock, and later on Sage, will keep unwanted files out of the repo).
  3. Install Composer on your local machine if you don't already have it installed.
  4. Follow the steps listed here: with the following exceptions:
    • Instead of cloning the git repo, download it as a zip, unzip it and move the content of bedrock-master to the local projects web root. We don't want the git files for Bedrock in our repo.
    • Clarification on the step about doc root: on your local machine, set doc root to /path/to/site/web/ since you will not be deploying to this install.
    • You must pe positioned in the projects folder (bedrocktest.local in our example) when running composer install.
    • When copying the salts from WP Salt Generator, include the ' since the generated salts may contain spaces.

If all has gone according to plans so far and you have entered correct data in the env-file, you should be able to install WordPress by visiting the link stated in step 6 in the Bedrock installation guide. If that is the case, go ahead and install. If it doesn't work, go over the Bedrock steps again to find out where you did wrong.

If you are using Sage and have activated the Sage based them, now might be a good time to exceute the commands listed under Theme development in Sages' README.

After you have activated your own theme, yo can go to web/wp/app/wp-content/themes and delete all the themes there. This is not a necessary step since the app-folder is in Bedrocks .gitignore but it does feel good to remove a bunch of unnecessary files from your local environment, doesn't it?

Note that since both Bedrock and Sage comes with its own .gitignore file, we now have two such files. This is totally cool but if you want to you could move Sages' ignore patterns to Bedrocks .gitignore at the root (remember to update the paths to point to the theme).

If you haven't already made a git commit, now may be a good time to do one.

Cloning an existing Bedrock based project

If you are continuing work on an existing bedrock based project and that project already has remote servers set up, you probably wont have to do much Bedrock or deploy related set up but here's a list of some steps anyways:

  1. Follow the steps listed under the Bedrock install guide but instead of cloning the Bedrock repo, clone the existing project repo. As for step 4, the project repo probably comes with a theme so you can skip this.
  2. Make sure you have SSH access to the remote server by following the steps under "Setting up and SSH connection to a remote server".
  3. In the terminal on your local machine, go to the root folder of the project.
  4. Run gem install bundler or, if that doesnt work, sudo gem install bundler. If that fails, make sure you have Ruby installed (which you very most likely have). As sepcified in the bedrock-capistrano guide.
  5. Still in the root dir of your project, run bundle install.
  6. You should now be able to execute step 15 under "Setting up deploys on your local machine" in this guide.

Syncing the database and uploads is outside the scope of this guide.

Make sure that you can SSH to the remote server(s) by following the steps under "Setting up an SSH connection to remote server"

Setting up site folder on remote server

We need a folder and URL where the site will reside on the remote server(s) so, for Oderland, log in to cPanel and set that up as usual. You can set the doc root as usual for now, we will change that later on when composer have created folders for us. While you wont be able to see anything Bedrock/Wordpress related there, make sure that you can surf to the URL. While we are at it, set up a database to use as well and keep the username/password for later.

Setting up an SSH connection to a remote server

Capistrano must be able to SSH to the server(s) to which deploys should be done. If you don't already have SSH access to the server(s), here's how to get that up and running when working on a a shared Oderland server:

  1. Log in to cPanel and go to "SSH access" ("SSH-åtkomst")
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If you already have an existing keypair on your local machine (if you are uncertain, check this guide ):
      1. Open the public key (with the .pub extension) in a texteditor like Vi.
      2. Copy the contents of the public key.
      3. Under SSH Access in cPanel, click "Import key"
      4. Give the key a name, preferrably one that identifies you and/or your machine
      5. Paste what you copied in step 2 to the "Public key" field
      6. Leave "private key" and "pass phrase" empty.
      7. Save and go back to "SSH access".
      8. Click on "handle" next to the newly imported key and then authorize it.
    • If the above does not work, fire up a new browser tab and go to (a guide by Oderland in Swedish on how to set up SSH keys in cPanel in their environment) and follow the guide there.

You should now be able to log in to the server by running the following in the terminal "ssh username@domain.void" where user is the master user name and domain.void is the main domain for the Oderland account.

Setting up Composer on remote server

We also need to be able to run Composer on the server so let's set that up.

SSH to the server, go to the folder that you want to deploy to (that you set up under "Setting up site folder on remote server") and try running composer.

If the command works, you should be able to skip to the next section. If the command does not work, you need to add Composer. This is how we have done it at Oderland:

  1. You need to put Composer somewhere on the server, a good idea is to put it in a folder named "bin" in the home folder. So run mkdir -p ~/bin which will create a folder named bin if it does not already exist.
  2. Navigate to the bin folder and run php -r "readfile('');" | php as described in the getting started guide on
  3. You should now be able to run php composer.phar about and get a short info text about Composer in return.

I have tried adding composer as a global command using different versions of mv composer.phar /usr/local/bin/composer and adding it to PATH but can not get that to work when running Capistrano locally. So unless we can come up with a better solution we have to make sure to execute step 8 under "Setting up deploys to your local machine".

Setting up deploys on your local machine

Make sure you have Composer on your remote server before continuing. Read the section aobove this one for more info on how to do that.

I have chosen Bedrock-capistrano for deploys since Trellis is a bit more than I and Oderland can handle at the moment. Let's set it up using these steps taken from the README of bedrock-capistrano:

  1. In the terminal on your local machine, go to the root folder of the project ("bedrocktest.local" in our example).
  2. Run gem install bundler or, if that doesnt work, sudo gem install bundler. If that fails, make sure you have Ruby installed (which you very most likely have).
  3. Download bedrock-capistrano and unzip it.
  4. Carry out step 1-2 under "Installation/configuration" in the bedrock-capistrano README.
  5. Delete the bedrock-capistrano folder if it is in your project folder. There's no need for it anymore.
  6. In the root dir of your project on your local machine, run bundle install.
  7. Replace config/deploy.rb with our modified deploy.rb. Search for "Folbert" in that file if you want to see what we have changed/added. Make sure that you set correct values for every line starting with "set". Note that we are building assets locally and uploading them from our local machine to remote server. This is not part of the original Bedrock deploy process (in fact, there is no task handling uploading assets at all for Bedrock). We could of course add built assets to the GitHUb repo but that's not how the cool people do it. But...: Cool feature in modified deploy.rb: It gives you a way to run bundle exec cap <stage> deploy:assetsonly which will build Sages assets and upload them without pulling from GitHub or changing current. You should of course push to Git once you are done building, but this gives you a way to commit assets without having to push SASS/JS-src files to GitHub which wont be used anyways for assets when deploying. Do note that using :rolback after an :assetsonly will rollback to the previous complete commit and not the latest deploy:assetsonly.
  8. If we can not get composer to run globally on remote server, make sure that SSHKit.config.command_map[:composer] = "~/bin/composer.phar" has the correct value. If this value differs between servers, cut it from deploy.rb and add it to each file in config/deploy.
  9. Carry out step 3 under Installation/configuration in the bedrock-capistrano README.
    • On the line starting with "server", you need to specify the values that you use when SSH'ing to the remote server.
    • Note that you, in the files in config/deploy/ can specify what branch you want to use. If you don't specify a branch here, the master branch will be used as set in deploy.rb. See deploy.rb for more info on this.
  10. Now might be a good time to make a git commit.
  11. You should now be able to run the command bundle exec cap <stage> deploy:check as stated in step 4 in the bedrock-capistrano README. Replace with either staging or production depending on which environments you have configurated in /config/deploy. Granted that you are using a private repo, you will probably get an error telling you that permission was denied when talking to GitHub. Let's fix that by jumping to "Access private repos" in this guide and when you are done there, redo this step. If no such error ocurred, the server and machine user at GitHub has already been set up for this repo and you may go directly to the next step. Otherwise, see you back here in a bit.
  12. Having reached this step, you will probably have run in to an error telling you that .env was not found. So let's fix that in a moment.
  13. But first, change the document root to current/web on the remote servers.
  14. Upload a copy of .env.example to /shared on the remote server, rename it to .env and enter the correct data in it. Note that you will probably want to change WP_ENV to production even if you are setting things up on a staging server.
  15. Also on the remote machine, create an empty .htaccess file in shared/web/.
  16. Now, run bundle exec cap <stage> deploy:check again. Yoy may run into an error saying "fatal: Not a valid object name", This is due to the fact that you, in staging.rb, have specified a branch name that does not exist in your Git repo. So go ahead and fix that and , hopefully, successfully rerun this step.
  17. Having come this far, on your local machine you can now run bundle exec cap <stage> deploy for a complete deploy. It should run successfully all the way to where the last output should be a message that a line was written to revision.log. If it did not, make sure that you have pushed to the Git repo after you added Capistrano. If it did run successfully, what just happened was:
    • You downloaded the git repo to the remote server to a new folder in releases which is named after the current date and time.
    • composer install was executed in the newly created folder.
    • gulp --production ran on your local machine and the content of the dist-folder was uploaded to web/app/themes/THEMENAME/dist in the newly created release-folder.
    • The symbolic link named "current" at the root of the project was changed to point to the newly created folder in releases on the server.
    • If there were more than five releases, the oldest of them were deleted so there should be a maximum of four old folders and the current release in the release folder.
    • A line has been written to revision.log telling us that you performed a deploy and what revision of the git repo you deployed.
  18. You should now be able to go to and set up Wordpress.
  19. Activate the theme we want to work with.
  20. Visit the frontend to make sure it looks ok.
  21. Do a css-change on your local machine, for example setting the body-bg to red in assets/style/main.scss
  22. Run bundle exec cap staging deploy:assetsonly, wait for it to finish and reload the site on the remote server in your browser. The changes in the css should now be visible. Note that you didn't have to git push anything when you only change assets since they are built on and uploaded from your local machine. Do remember to push the changes to the Git repo when done. Also do note that if you use deploy:assetsonly, there will be no rollback to the previous version of the assets without rolling back to the previous complete commit.
  23. Now make a change in the HTML/PHP code and commit and push the change.
  24. Run bundle exec cap staging deploy again and when it has finished, you should see the changes on your remote server.

Pretty nice, right!? So in the future whenever you have only made some changes to the assets that you want to deploy, follow these steps:

  1. In the terminal, navigate to the root folder of the project.
  2. Run bundle exec cap <environment> deploy:assetsonly where is the environment you want t deploy to.
  3. Wait for the script to finish and then reload URL of the remote server you just deployed to to see the changes in all its glory.

When you want to deploy anything else than asssets:

  1. In the terminal, navigate to the root folder of the project.
  2. Run bundle exec cap <environment> deploy where is the environment you want t deploy to.
  3. Wait for the script to finish and then reload URL of the remote server you just deployed to to see the changes in all its glory.

If something went wrong on a deploy:

  1. In the terminal, navigate to the root folder of the project.
  2. Run bundle exec cap <environment> deploy:rollback
  3. Wait for the script to finish and then reload URL of the remote server you just deployed to to see the rollback in all its glory.

Add plugins

Plugins should also be handled using Composer. There's a guide on this under "Plugins" at Also some reading here about mu-plugins: Mu-plugins are must-use-plugins and is described here: .

However, there are some plugins such as Advanced Custom Fields Pro, that are not available as Composer packages. In that case, it is probably easiest to simply add them to the repo and keep them manually updated.

Feel free to run composer update.

Access private repos

If you are working with a private repo, you need to be able to connect to it from the server. The steps below requires you to have SSH access to the remote server, so make sure that you have that by following the steps under "Setting up an SSH connection to remote server". GitHub offers a couple of solutions for managing deploy keys and we have chosen to use the Machine Users solution. This is mainly because the machine user can be put in a team that can have read and fork access only to repos but also because a machine user allows us to set up the SSH key on the server once and then connect the machine user to the repos we want to deploy to the server. ~~We have created a machine user GitHub account who is part of the our organization at GitHub and also a member of the team Machine Users. Login credentials for this user can be found at the usual place.

In order to avoid creating multiple keys for the machine user at a server, let's always use the same name the SSH key for the machine user on every server so we easily can see if the machine user already has a key. The name that the key should have can be found at the same place as the username/password. The name will be referred to as [MACHINE_USER] for the rest of this document.~~

How to set up SSH key for our machine user (taken in parts from GitHubs SSH key guide):

  1. Start by adding the machine user to your repo:

    • Log on to GitHub with your standard account (the one you created the repo with)
    • Go to the repos main page -> "Settings" -> "Collaborators and teams" and add the team "Machine users". Make sure that the access rights are set to "Read".
    • You should now be able to log on to GitHUb with the machine user account, navigate to the dashboard for FEW and be able to see the private repo in the list.
  2. Now it's time to set up an SSH key for the machine user on the remote server. Let's start by SSHing to the remote server using ssh USERNAME@SERVER.COM.

  3. Run ls -al ~/.ssh to list all existing keys.

  4. If there already is a key with the name that we are looking for, jump to step 6

  5. If a key named [MACHINE_USER] does not already exist, let's create one by running ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

    • When asked where to store the key, enter [PATH_TO_SSH_DIR]/[MACHINE_USER]. For example /home/fewgenc/.ssh/[MACHINE_USER]
    • When asked for a password, just press enter. This is beacuse we can't have keys with passwords when Capistrano executes the git command on the server.
  6. Now, we need to add the public key to the machine user on GitHub. If a [MACHINE_USER] key already existed, you might want to check if the key already has been connected. If you created a brand new key, skip to step 9, otherwise, go to next step.

  7. Get the fingerprint of the key by running ssh-keygen -lf /path/to/ssh/key (replace the path with the path to the private version of [MACHINE_USER]).

  8. Log on to GitHub with the machine user account and go to "Settings -> SSH keys" and see if there is a finger print in the list matching the one listed in the step above. If there is, jump to step X, otherwise, go to the next step.

  9. Let's get the value of the public key by opening it in VI. Run vi [PATH_TO_PUBLIC_KEY]. In our example above it would be vi /home/fewgenc/.ssh/[MACHINE_USER].pub. It is very important to open the public key (.pub). Copy the content of the key using good old CMD-C.

  10. Log on to GitHub with the machine user account and go to "Settings -> SSH keys". Click "New SSH key", enter a name so that we can identify the server, paste the content of the public key in the key field and save.

  11. Check if ~.ssh/config exists and remember whether it did or not.

  12. Now, we need to tell the remote server to use our newly created key when communicating with GitHub, so run vi ~/.ssh/config to edit the config file. This will create the file if it did not already exist.

  13. Paste the following lines in Vi (if not already present) and write-quit Vi (:wq). IdentiyFile must point to the private SSH key for the machine user.

      IdentityFile ~/.ssh/[MACHINE_USER]
      User git
  14. If the config file didn't exist before, make sure that it has the right rights by running chmod 600 ~/.ssh/config.

  15. At the remote server, run ssh -T The response should be something like "Hi [MACHINE_USER]! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not provide shell access.". If it is not, your best bet may be to start over from step 1 in this list.

  16. If step 12 succeeds, run git ls-remote -h where the last argument should be the same SSH url of the repo. Thi is to verify that you have access to the repo.

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