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Node app deploy with nginx & SSL

Node.js Deployment

Steps to deploy a Node.js app to DigitalOcean using PM2, NGINX as a reverse proxy and an SSL from LetsEncrypt

1. Sign up for Digital Ocean

If you use the referal link below, you get $10 free (1 or 2 months)

2. Create a droplet and log in via ssh

I will be using the root user, but would suggest creating a new user

3. Install Node/NPM

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -

sudo apt install nodejs

node --version

4. Clone your project from Github

There are a few ways to get your files on to the server, I would suggest using Git

git clone yourproject.git

5. Install dependencies and test app

cd yourproject
npm install
npm start (or whatever your start command)
# stop app

6. Setup PM2 process manager to keep your app running

sudo npm i pm2 -g
pm2 start app (or whatever your file name)

# Other pm2 commands
pm2 show app
pm2 status
pm2 restart app
pm2 stop app
pm2 logs (Show log stream)
pm2 flush (Clear logs)

# To make sure app starts when reboot
pm2 startup ubuntu

You should now be able to access your app using your IP and port. Now we want to setup a firewall blocking that port and setup NGINX as a reverse proxy so we can access it directly using port 80 (http)

7. Setup ufw firewall

sudo ufw enable
sudo ufw status
sudo ufw allow ssh (Port 22)
sudo ufw allow http (Port 80)
sudo ufw allow https (Port 443)

8. Install NGINX and configure

sudo apt install nginx

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

Add the following to the location part of the server block


    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:5000; #whatever port your app runs on
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;
# Check NGINX config
sudo nginx -t

# Restart NGINX
sudo service nginx restart

You should now be able to visit your IP with no port (port 80) and see your app. Now let's add a domain

9. Add domain in Digital Ocean

In Digital Ocean, go to networking and add a domain

Add an A record for @ and for www to your droplet

Register and/or setup domain from registrar

I prefer Namecheap for domains. Please use this affiliate link if you are going to use them

Choose "Custom nameservers" and add these 3


It may take a bit to propogate

  1. Add SSL with LetsEncrypt
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-nginx
sudo certbot --nginx -d -d

# Only valid for 90 days, test the renewal process with
certbot renew --dry-run

Now visit and you should see your Node app

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