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How to install nodester in you personal cloud.

Nodester - A node.js hosting platform

If you want you can use the nodester-installer, still work in progress, but functional.

The only thing that you need to setup your personal instance is ssh access- Like this:

> ssh -t


  • bouncy
  • node.js (preferible 0.4.11)
  • npm
  • curl
  • node.js Modules:
    • pool
    • express
    • request
    • npm-wrapper
    • daemon
    • cradle
    • coloured
    • coffee-script


Nodester was/is build on node 0.4.x so we recommend to have as the default version the 0.4.9 one or any of the 0.4.x series installed in your server. Since nodester is able to manage multiple versions of node.js, you can install n before node.js or after it. We recommend to install before node.js:

> git clone
> cd n
> make
> make install

Check if n is installed correctly, otherwise (inside n dir):

> sudo cp bin/n /usr/local/bin

Then you can use n as a node.js version manager, like this:

> n 0.4.9  #which is currently used by nodester

note: It's a good practice to install any node.js version as root. Then go to here

If you don't want to git#clone the repo, follow these instructions:

First of all you'll need some packages to make nodester work, the only one that you need to manually install are node.js, npm, curl and forever as follows:

> Install node.js (0.4.x recommended) as you prefer (wget/pkg/git clone)

Install npm:

> curl | sh

Install n (for multiple version support):

> npm install n -g

Then install again node 0.4.x as n child:

> n 0.4.x

The n command will handle all the installation process from the version, this is done from this way, so we after can use n use 0.4.x as unique method to run application. Meanwhile you are install node again trough n setup the user and the permissions needed to run your personal instance of nodester.

### Create the environment

Create a user and group to run nodester as (do this as root)

> sudo su -
> groupadd nodester
> useradd -d /var/nodester -c "nodester" -g nodester -m -r -s /bin/bash nodester
> passwd nodester

Then login to the account nodester and ensure that .ssh/authorized_keys exists:

> ssh nodester@yourhost
> cd ~
> mkdir .ssh
> touch .ssh/authorized_keys
> chmod go-rwx .ssh/authorized_keys

Update sudoers to allow running of the proxy on port 80 (do this as root), and umount of git repos:

> sudo visudo

And add the following lines:

nodester ALL = NOPASSWD: /var/nodester/nodester/bin/ *
nodester ALL = NOPASSWD: /var/nodester/nodester/bin/
nodester ALL = NOPASSWD: /var/nodester/nodester/bin/ *
nodester ALL = NOPASSWD: /var/nodester/nodester/bin/ *

Export paths (to make npm work):

> cd ~
> echo -e "root = ~/.node_libraries\nmanroot = ~/local/share/man\nbinroot = ~/bin" > ~/.npmrc
> echo -e "export PATH=\"\${PATH}:~/bin\";" >> ~/.bashrc
> source ~/.bashrc

(Optional) Sometimes at deploying with previous versions of npm can be difficult and annoying, This part is a hack to use the old npm with the new node until certain packages can catch up and be installed with npm@0.3.x

> mkdir ~/src
> cd src
> git clone git:// ./npm
> cd npm
> git checkout origin/0.2
> make dev

(Optional) Fetch 0.2.6 version of node for npm

> cd ~/src
> sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/n/versions/
> wget
> tar -vzxr node-v0.2.6.tar.gz
> cd node-v0.2.6
> ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/n/versions/0.2.6
> make
> sudo make install

> cd ~/bin
> cp npm\@0.2.18 nodester-npm
> vim nodester-npm

Replace '#!/usr/bin/env node' with '#!/usr/local/n/versions/0.2.6/bin/node'

Install dependencies

Install node-module dependencies (do this as nodester)

> for X in pool express npm-wrapper request daemon forever cradle coloured; do npm install ${X}; done

Get nodester (do this as nodester)

> cd ~
> git clone git://
> cd nodester

Ensure that the ownership of nodester/proxy is all root for security (do this as root)

> cd /var/nodester
> sudo chown -R root:root nodester/proxy

Install the git folder shell to restrict git to per user folders (do this as root)

> cd /var/nodester/nodester
> sudo cp scripts/git-shell-enforce-directory /usr/local/bin
> sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/git-shell-enforce-directory


User: nodester (ssh nodester@...)

You'll need to either install CouchDB or get a CouchOne|iriscouch|cloudant account, then copy nodester/example_config.js to nodester/config.js, and edit the settings in nodester/config.js, basically in this file you define the couchdb url git dir and app dir also you define the couchdb url, the email support, your personal domain and the one of the most important parts the proxy_table. You definetely want to take a look to all the options.

The example config.js looks like this:

// config.js
exports.opt = {
  couch_user: 'alejandromg', 
  couch_pass: 'alejandromg_password',
  couch_host: '', 
  couch_port: 5984,
  couch_prefix: 'nodester',
  couch_tables: ['coupons', 'nodefu', 'nextport', 'apps', 'repos', 'aliasdomains', 'password_resets'],
  home_dir: '/var/nodester', // if you did all the steps above you don't need to change this
  app_dir: '/var/nodester/nodester', // and this
  git_home_dir: '/git', // we prefer root dirs
  apps_home_dir: '/app', // same here
  public_html_dir: '/var/nodester/nodester/public',
  proxy_table_file: '/var/nodester/var/proxy_table.json',
  tl_dom: '',
  api_dom: '',
  git_user: 'nodester',
  git_dom: '',
  coupon_code: 'test', // The initial coupon code
  blocked_apps: ['www', 'api', 'admin', 'support', 'blog', 'site'],
  restart_key: 'test', // this is the key you'll need after in
  userid: 'nodester',
  app_uid: 100,
  enable_ssl: false, // Currently SSL forward to the app/api, when I have a wildcard cert to test, then all apps can have SSL.
  ssl_ca_file: '',
  ssl_cert_file: '',
  ssl_key_file: '',
  node_base_folder: '/opt/node-v0.4.9_npm_v1.0.3',

  //Amazon SES mail info
  SES: {
    AWSAccessKeyID: 'ACCESSKEY',
    AWSSecretKey: 'SECRETKEY',
    ServiceUrl: '',

Also copy scripts/ to scripts/ and update it with the key you specified in config.js.

The chroot template

The way in how nodester works is pretty straigthforward, so, when a user does a nodester app restart|start nodester takes the node_base_folder param and it use it to create|mount the sandbox for the app, the node_base_folder has the whole environment in which the node-versions are installed and everything that an app needs to work. Soon we are going to publish an example of this environment. So you can install it easily.

Multiple versions of node:

User: root

We've created a script to install all the versions of node with a single line:

> cd /var/nodester/nodester/
> bin/install_versions.js --run

warning: As you may know compiling node.js can take some time to end, so imagine installing ~20 versions of node.js from once, that would be awful and you'll better get some coffee and wait. So, you can add something like this:

> bin/install_versions.js -v 0.4.9

Which can be done also with n directly: n 0.4.9 for example.

Programmatically you can also require the install_versions.js module, and then install the version you want:

// installer.js
var installer = require('./bin/install_versions.js');

Setting up the database

user: nodester

First you'll need to seed the CouchDB tables:

> cd ./nodester/scripts/couchdb/
> ./create_all_couchdb_tables.js
> ./create_all_couchdb_tables.js
> ./setup_default_views.js

Finals steps

user: nodester

If you did all the steps correctly, you are ready to go, but first let's create the forever dir and the proxy_table.json:

> cd ~
> mkdir -p .forever/logs
> mkdir -p nodester/var/
> echo '{"":4001, "":4001}' > nodester/var/proxy_table.json

Also you might want to chown the proxy_table to nodester:

> sudo chown $USER -R nodester/var/proxy_table.json

Ready, set, GO!

Start up the proxy and main/api app (do this as nodester):

> cd nodester
> ./bin/ && sudo ./bin/

Test the web frontend at or, and the api too

Create a user

The coupon can be the one you define in config.js.

> curl -X POST -d "coupon=mycoupon&user=testuser&password=123& AAAAB3NzaC1yc..."

Create an app

Creates nodejs app for hosting (requires basic auth and returns the port address required for use along with a git repo to push to):

> curl -X POST -u "testuser:123" -d "appname=a&start=hello.js"

This action return the git repo url, so, you may want to copy that and add it to the remote in your local git repo.


Make changes to your repo and:

Start the app

> curl -X PUT -u "testuser:123" -d "appname=a&running=true"

Test the app




More info about the REST API:

Don't like the REST API way? Try the nodester-cli.


  • Nodester
  • n By TJ Holowaychuk