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Prep DigitalOcean for Laravel

With your Laravel application up and running locally, you now need to deploy it on your production server.

Before deploying, though, you need to do a few updates on your DigitalOcean server so it's set up with the necessary components that Laravel needs to run.

In these notes, we'll do the following:

  1. Enable a swap file for more memory
  2. Install Composer
  3. Install some necessary modules and enable mod_rewrite

Tip: This note set includes some complex command line commands, each prefixed with a brief explanation of what the command does. To break down any one particular command to learn more, paste the command into https://explainshell.com.

All of the following commands are to be run on your DigitalOcean server, so the first thing you want to do is SSH into your DigitalOcean server (ssh root@your.do.ip.address), then proceed...

Enable a swap file for more memory

Composer can be memory intensive, so we'll want to configure our low-memory DigitalOcean droplets to use a swap file.

"Swap is an area on a hard drive that has been designated as a place where the operating system can temporarily store data that it can no longer hold in RAM." -ref

To configure a swap file, run through the following commands.

First, create the swap file:

$ sudo fallocate -l 4G /swapfile

Next, adjust permissions on the resulting swap file so it isn't readable by anyone besides root:

$ sudo chmod 600 /swapfile

Next, tell the system to set up the swap space:

$ sudo mkswap /swapfile

Next, enable the swap space:

$ sudo swapon /swapfile

Finally, we want to make it so the server always enables this swap space, even after a reboot. To do this, open /etc/fstab with nano:

$ sudo nano /etc/fstab

...and paste in the following line at the end:

/swapfile   none    swap    sw    0   0

Save your changes (ctrl + x, then y, then Enter).

Confirm it worked: You can confirm your swap file with the following command:

$ sudo swapon -s

Expected output:

Filename                Type        Size    Used    Priority
/swapfile               file        4194300 0       -2

Install Composer

Move into your bin directory where you'll install Composer:

$ cd /usr/local/bin

Use cURL to download the Composer installer and run it with PHP:

$ curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | sudo php

Rename the resulting composer.phar executable to composer so it's convenient to invoke:

$ sudo mv composer.phar composer

Test it's working:

$ composer

See a list of Composer commands? Good, you're ready to move to the next step...

Install/update necessary modules

Next, there are a few modules we need to install on the server in order for Laravel to work.

To do this, we'll use apt-get, a command line utility for managing packages on Ubuntu systems (which our Droplets run on).

Run the following commands, one at a time. Follow the instructions to hit Enter or Y (yes) when prompted.

First, specify a new repository apt-get can download software packages from. The repository we're adding is ppa:ondrej/php, the primary source for PHP-related packages.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php

Next, run apt-get to get the latest packages from your apt-get repositories (including your newly added one, ppa:ondrej/php)

$ sudo apt-get update

Now that everything is updated, we'll install the necessary modules:

$ sudo apt-get install php7.2-mbstring zip unzip

Next, Laravel requires Apache's mod_rewrite for URL routing (a topic we'll cover in future lectures). To enable this module, run the following command:

$ sudo a2enmod rewrite

Finally, to make all these changes take effect, restart Apache:

$ service apache2 restart

Server setup complete!

At this point, you DigitalOcean Droplet has everything it needs to run a Laravel app. You're ready to move on to the next steps of deploying.

Reference

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