How to setup Rails App for Heroku

If you want to host your Ruby on Rails application with Heroku- your database must be PostgreSQL.

Unfortantely, it can be difficult to get setup if you’ve never done anything like use the Heroku CLI or manually create databases in psql.

Here are the quick and dirty steps for setting up your rails application for hostign on heroku.

Install Heroku

If you haven’t installed heroku-cli, that is step number one.

Visit the download instructions to figure out how to install heroku.

For me (xubuntu) I used snap.

sudo snap install --classic heroku

Next, you’ll be prompted to setup/login with Heroku.

Create the application

If you are starting from scratch, run the rails new command and specify you want a postgreSQL database (since thats what heroku requires).

rails new myapp –database=postgresql

Move into your new application and run bundle install.

cd myapp
bundle install
Bundle complete! 18 Gemfile dependencies, 78 gems now installed.

Test the databases

For my setup, I have to manually create the databases in PostgreSQL.

Run the following commands, using your application’s name instead of myapp.

CREATE DATABASE myapp_development;

If psql didn’t work or needs to be setup, I wrote a short post about getting setup with PostgreSQL.

Go back into your application and run rails db:migrate to test your databases were added correctly.

No error message? Good!

Create a welcome page

Rails 5.x no longer includes a default page in a production environment.

So we will have to make one! First create a controller.

rails g controller pages home

Now create a home.html.erb file in the app/views/pages/ directory.

Add some simple HTML to the homepage.

<a href=""> Learn to build a Rails Application and Host with Heroku</a>

Finally add the route to the newly create homepage. Open up config/routes.rb and add the following line.

root 'pages#home'

Open up your terminal and launch your server with rails server.

Add it to Github

Now that you’ve got your self a fancy new rails application complete with default page in production environments…

Its time to add it to GitHub before we host the application on Heroku.

Setup repository on GitHub: add, commit and push application.

git add -A
git commit -n 'init commit'
git push

Your push will not work if you haven’t setup your remote origin. In fact, you’ll get an error message about it.

Host on Heroku

Okay so far we have:

  • created our rails application
  • setup our postgreSQL databases
  • built a default page for our production environment
  • and created a repository on github.

Finally, we are going to host our rails application with Heroku and have our site out there on the world wide web.

Run Heroku create to create a repository with Heroku, then push your application from git to Heroku.

heroku create
git push heroku master
This push will take a while and you will see lots of scary messages… just let it finish.

If the command completes, the push was complete and you should be able to visit your application with heroku open.

you did it!

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