Production Quality Meteor Deployments
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Meteor Up

Production Quality Meteor Deployments

Meteor Up (mup for short) is a command line tool that allows you to deploy any Meteor app to your own server. It supports only Debian/Ubuntu flavours and Open Solaris at the moments. (PRs are welcome)

Screencast: How to deploy a Meteor app with Meteor Up (by Sacha Grief)

Table of Contents


  • Single command server setup
  • Single command deployment
  • Multi server deployment
  • Environmental Variables management
  • Support for settings.json
  • Password or Private Key(pem) based server authentication
  • Access, logs from the terminal (supports log tailing)
  • Support for multiple meteor deployments (experimental)

Server Configuration

  • Auto-Restart if the app crashed (using forever)
  • Auto-Start after the server reboot (using upstart)
  • Stepdown User Privileges
  • Revert to the previous version, if the deployment failed
  • Secured MongoDB Installation (Optional)
  • Pre-Installed PhantomJS (Optional)

Server Nginx

  • Host multiple applications on a single server
  • Define a unique port and ROOT_URL for each instance and Nginx will proxy forward accordingly
  • Prevents multiple deployments of the same port on a single server
  • add setupNginx:true to mup.json and specify a PORT and ROOT_URL in the environment variables
  • Provide a unique appName for each app. This will install it into its own folder and own upstart on the server.
  • Serve files from the /public folder directly through Nginx with caching instead of Meteor directly (jpg|jpeg|png|gif|mp3|ico|pdf)


npm install -g mup

If you are looking for password-based authentication, you need to install sshpass on your local development machine.

Creating a Meteor Up Project

mkdir ~/my-meteor-deployment
cd ~/my-meteor-deployment
mup init

This will create two files in your Meteor Up project directory:

  • mup.json - Meteor Up configuration file
  • settings.json - Settings for Meteor's settings API

mup.json is commented and easy to follow (it supports JavaScript comments).

Example File

  // Server authentication info
  "servers": [
      "host": "hostname",
      "username": "root",
      "password": "password"
      // or pem file (ssh based authentication)
      // WARNING: Keys protected by a passphrase are not supported
      //"pem": "~/.ssh/id_rsa"
      // Also, for non-standard ssh port use this
      //"sshOptions": { "Port" : 49154 },
      // server specific environment variables
      "env": {}

  // Install MongoDB on the server. Does not destroy the local MongoDB on future setups
  "setupMongo": true,

  // WARNING: Node.js is required! Only skip if you already have Node.js installed on server.
  "setupNode": true,

  // WARNING: nodeVersion defaults to 0.10.33 if omitted. Do not use v, just the version number.
  "nodeVersion": "0.10.33",

  // Install PhantomJS on the server
  "setupPhantom": true,

  // Install Nginx on the server (Requires a unique PORT and ROOT_URL in the environment settings
  // Note: Port must not be 80 as Nginx will proxy_forward to port 80 per ROOT_URL (e.g. 3000, 3001, 3002, etc)
  "setupNginx": true,

  // Application name (no spaces).
  "appName": "meteor",

  // Location of app (local directory). This can reference '~' as the users home directory.
  // i.e., "app": "~/Meteor/my-app",
  // This is the same as the line below.
  "app": "/Users/arunoda/Meteor/my-app",

  // Configure environment
  // ROOT_URL must be set to when using the spiderable package & force SSL
  // your NGINX proxy or Cloudflare. When using just Meteor on SSL without spiderable this is not necessary
  "env": {
    "PORT": 80,
    "ROOT_URL": "",
    "MONGO_URL": "mongodb://",
    "MAIL_URL": "smtp://"

  // Meteor Up checks if the app comes online just after the deployment.
  // Before mup checks that, it will wait for the number of seconds configured below.
  "deployCheckWaitTime": 15

Setting Up a Server

mup setup

This will setup the server for the mup deployments. It will take around 2-5 minutes depending on the server's performance and network availability.

Ssh based authentication

Please ensure your key file (pem) is not protected by a passphrase. Also the setup process will require NOPASSWD access to sudo. (Since Meteor needs port 80, sudo access is required.)

You can add your user to the sudo group:

sudo adduser *username*  sudo

And you also need to add NOPASSWD to the sudoers file:

sudo visudo

# replace this line
%sudo  ALL=(ALL) ALL

# by this line

When this process is not working you might encounter the following error:

'sudo: no tty present and no askpass program specified'

Server Setup Details

This is how Meteor Up will configure the server for you based on the given appName or using "meteor" as default appName. This information will help you customize the server for your needs.

  • your app lives at /opt/<appName>/app
  • mup uses upstart with a config file at /etc/init/<appName>.conf
  • you can start and stop the app with upstart: start <appName> and stop <appName>
  • logs are located at: /var/log/upstart/<appName>.log
  • MongoDB installed and bound to the local interface (cannot access from the outside)
  • the database is named <appName>

For more information see lib/taskLists.js.

Deploying an App

mup deploy

This will bundle the Meteor project and deploy it to the server.

Deploy Wait Time

Meteor Up checks if the deployment is successful or not just after the deployment. By default, it will wait 10 seconds before the check. You can configure the wait time with the deployCheckWaitTime option in the mup.json.

Multiple Deployment Targets

You can use an array to deploy to multiple servers at once.

To deploy to different environments (e.g. staging, production, etc.), use separate Meteor Up configurations in separate directories, with each directory containing separate mup.json and settings.json files, and the mup.json files' app field pointing back to your app's local directory.

Custom Meteor Binary

Sometimes, you might be using mrt, or Meteor from a git checkout. By default, Meteor Up uses meteor. You can ask Meteor Up to use the correct binary with the meteorBinary option.

  "meteorBinary": "~/bin/meteor/meteor"

Access Logs

mup logs -f

Mup can tail logs from the server and supports all the options of tail.

Reconfiguring & Restarting

After you've edit environmental variables or settings.json, you can reconfigure the app without deploying again. Use the following command to do update the settings and restart the app.

mup reconfig

If you want to stop, start or restart your app for any reason, you can use the following commands to manage it.

mup stop
mup start
mup restart

Accessing the Database

You can't access the MongoDB from the outside the server. To access the MongoDB shell you need to log into your server via SSH first and then run the following command:

mongo appName

Server Specific Environment Variables

It is possible to provide server specific environment variables. Add the env object along with the server details in the mup.json. Here's an example:

  "servers": [
      "host": "hostname",
      "username": "root",
      "password": "password"
      "env": {
        "SOME_ENV": "the-value"


By default, Meteor UP adds CLUSTER_ENDPOINT_URL to make cluster deployment simple. But you can override it by defining it yourself.

Multiple Deployments

Meteor Up supports multiple deployments to a single server. Meteor Up only does the deployment; if you need to configure subdomains, you need to manually setup a reverse proxy yourself.

Let's assume, we need to deploy production and staging versions of the app to the same server. The production app runs on port 80 and the staging app runs on port 8000.

We need to have two separate Meteor Up projects. For that, create two directories and initialize Meteor Up and add the necessary configurations.

In the staging mup.json, add a field called appName with the value staging. You can add any name you prefer instead of staging. Since we are running our staging app on port 8000, add an environment variable called PORT with the value 8000.

Now setup both projects and deploy as you need.

SSL Support

Meteor Up now supports both stud and nginx SSL termination for your app.

Nginx SSL Configuration

  • Place your certficate and private key files in a folder (suggestion is to use .ssl in your project folder)
  • Add the following lines to your mup.json file:

  "ssl": {
    "pem": "./.ssl/cert.pem",
    "key": "./.ssl/private.key"

  • Run mup deploy on a preconfigured Nginx+MUP host.
  • you will now be able to browse to your website address and it will automatcially promote it to SSL.

Note: Be sure to add the https:// path to your ROOT_URL enviromnent variable also!

Stud SSL Configuration

Meteor Up has the built in SSL support. It uses stud SSL terminator for that. First you need to get a SSL certificate from some provider. This is how to do that:

  • First you need to generate a CSR file and the private key
  • Then purchase a SSL certificate.
  • Then generate a SSL certificate from your SSL providers UI.
  • Then that'll ask to provide the CSR file. Upload the CSR file we've generated.
  • When asked to select your SSL server type, select it as nginx.
  • Then you'll get a set of files (your domain certificate and CA files).

Now you need combine SSL certificate(s) with the private key and save it in the mup config directory as ssl.pem. Check this guide to do that.

Then add following configuration to your mup.json file.


  "ssl": {
    "pem": "./ssl.pem",
    //"backendPort": 80


Now, simply do mup setup and now you've the SSL support.

  • By default, it'll think your Meteor app is running on port 80. If it's not, change it with the backendPort configuration field.
  • SSL terminator will run on the default SSL port 443
  • If you are using multiple servers, SSL terminators will run on the each server (This is made to work with cluster)
  • Right now, you can't have multiple SSL terminators running inside a single server


To update mup to the latest version, just type:

npm update mup -g

You should try and keep mup up to date in order to keep up with the latest Meteor changes. But note that if you need to update your Node version, you'll have to run mup setup again before deploying.


Check Logs

If you suddenly can't deploy your app anymore, first use the mup logs -f command to check the logs for error messages.

One of the most common problems is your Node version getting out of date. In that case, see “Updating” section above.

Verbose Output

If you need to see the output of meteor-up (to see more precisely where it's failing or hanging, for example), run it like so:

DEBUG=* mup <command>

where <command> is one of the mup commands such as setup, deploy, etc.

Binary Npm Module Support

Some of the Meteor core packages as well some of the community packages comes with npm modules which has been written in C or C++. These modules are platform dependent. So, we need to do special handling, before running the bundle generated from meteor bundle. (meteor up uses the meteor bundle)

Fortunately, Meteor Up will take care of that job for you and it will detect binary npm modules and re-build them before running your app on the given server.

  • Meteor 0.9 adds a similar feature where it allows package developers to publish their packages for different architecures, if their packages has binary npm modules.
  • As a side effect of that, if you are using a binary npm module inside your app via meteorhacks:npm package, you won't be able to deploy into *
  • But, you'll be able to deploy with Meteor Up since we are re-building binary modules on the server.

Additional Resources