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Using Unicorn with Upstart

This configuration works with Upstart on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

The reason why it needs to be done this way (i.e. with the pre-start and post-stop stanzas), is because Upstart is unable to track whever Unicorn master process re-execs itself on hot deploys. One can use it without hot-deploys and run Unicorn in foreground also, it then only needs one exec stanza.

This presumes you are not using RVM, so no voodoo dances.

description "My App"
author "Ilya Dmitrichenko <>"

start on virtual-filesystems
stop on runlevel [06]

env PATH=/opt/ruby/shims:/opt/ruby/rbenv/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin

env RAILS_ENV=production

setuid nobody
setgid nobody

chdir /opt/my_app/

pre-start exec ./bin/unicorn_rails -D -c /opt/my_app/config/unicorn.rb --env production

post-stop exec kill `cat /opt/my_app/run/`

The next example allows one to run a very descriptive command from their deploy script:

initctl emit my-app-deploy TAG=v1.2.3`.

It demonstrates a very appropriate use of Upstart's events. Please also note that it can be used for roll-back just as well.

description "Upgade My App!"
author "Ilya Dmitrichenko <>"

on my-app-deploy


console log

env PATH=/opt/ruby/shims:/opt/ruby/rbenv/bin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin

chdir /opt/my_app/

  git fetch --quiet --all --tags origin
  git checkout --quiet --force --detach $TAG
  bundle --quiet install
  kill -USR2 `cat ./run/`
end script
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