# Amazon AWS

This is a step-by-step guide for deploying a Strapi project to Amazon AWS EC2 (opens new window). This guide will connect to an Amazon AWS RDS (opens new window) for managing and hosting the database. Optionally, this guide will show you how to connect host and serve images on Amazon AWS S3 (opens new window).

Prior to starting this guide, you should have created a Strapi project, to use for deploying on AWS. And have read through the configuration section.

# Amazon AWS Install Requirements and creating an IAM non-root user

Best practices for using AWS Amazon services state to not use your root account user and to use instead the IAM (AWS Identity and Access Management) service (opens new window). Your root user is therefore only used for a very few select tasks (opens new window). For example, for billing, you create an Administrator user and Group for such things. And other, more routine tasks are done with a regular IAM User.

# 1. Follow these instructions for creating your Administrator IAM Admin User and Group (opens new window)

  • Login as root.
  • Create Administrator role.

# 2. Next, create a regular user for the creation and management of your Strapi project

  • Copy your IAM Users sign-in link found here: IAM Console (opens new window) and then log out of your root user and log in to your administrator user you just created.
  • Return to the IAM Console by searching for IAM and clicking or going here: IAM Console (opens new window).
  • Click on Users, in the left hand menu, and then click Add User:
    1. In the Set user details screen:
    • Provide a User name.
    • Access Type: Check both Programmatic access and AWS Management Console access.
    • Autogenerate a password or click Custom password and provide one.
    • OPTIONAL: For simplicity, uncheck the Require password reset.
    • Click Next: Permissions.
    1. In the Set Permissions screen, do the following:
    • Click Create group, name it, e.g. Developers, and then choose appropriate policies under Policy Name:
      • search for ec2 and check AmazonEC2FullAccess
      • search for RDS and check AmazonRDSFullAccess
      • search for s3 and check AmazonS3FullAccess
      • Click Create group
    • Click to Add user to group and check the Developers group, to add the new user.
    • Click Next: Tags.
    1. Add tags (optional)
    • This step is optional and based on your workflow and project scope.
    • Click Next: Review.
    1. Review
    • Review the information and ensure it is correct. Use Previous to correct anything.
    • Click Create user.
    1. Success - These are very IMPORTANT CREDENTIALS If you do not do these steps you will have to reset your Access key ID and Secret access key later.
    • Download the .csv file and store it in a safe place. This contains the user name, login link, Access key ID and Secret access key.
    • OPTIONAL: Add these credentials to your *Password manager**.
    • Click on the AWS Management Console Access sign-in link. This will log you out of Administrator.

# 3. Log into your AWS Management Console as your regular user

You may now proceed to the next steps.

# Additional IAM User Resources

# Launch an EC2 virtual machine

Amazon calls a virtual private server, a virtual server or Amazon EC2 instance. To use this service you will Launch Instance. In this section, you will establish IAM credentials, launch a new instance and set-up primary security rules.

# 1. From your AWS Management Console and as your regular user

  • Find Services, search for ec2 and click on EC2, Virtual Servers in the Cloud

# 2. Select Appropriate Region

In the top menu, near your IAM Account User name, select, from the dropdown, the most appropriate region to host your Strapi project. For example, US East (N.Virginia) or Asia Pacific (Hong Kong). You will want to remember this region for configuring other services on AWS and serving these services from the same region.

# 3. Click on the blue Launch Instance button

  • Select Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS (HVM), SSD Volume Type
  • Ensure General purpose + t2.small is checked.

    TIP

    t2.small is the smallest instance type in which Strapi runs. t2.nano and t2.micro DO NOT work. At the moment, deploying the Strapi Admin interface requires more than 1g of RAM. Therefore, t2.small or larger instance is needed.

  • Click the grey Next: Configure Instance Details and Next: Add Storage
  • In the Step 4: Add Storage verify the General Purpose SSD (gp2), then click Next: Add tags.
  • In the Step 5: Add Tags, add tags to suit your project or leave blank, then click Next: Configure Security Group.
  • In the Step 6: Configure Security Group, configure the security settings as follows:
    • Assign a security group: Check as Create a new security group
    • Security group name: Name it, e.g. strapi
    • Description: Write a short description, e.g. strapi instance security settings
    • You should have a rule: Type: SSH, Protocol: TCP, Port Range 22, Source: 0.0.0.0/0 (all IP addresses). If not, add it.
    • Click the grey Add rule to add each of these rules:
      • Type: SSH, Protocol: TCP, Port Range 22, Source: ::/0
      • Type: HTTP, Protocol: TCP, Port Range 80, Source: 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0
      • Type: HTTPS, Protocol: TCP, Port Range 443, Source: 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0
      • Type: Custom TCP Rule, Protocol: TCP, Port Range 1337, Source: 0.0.0.0/0 Description: Strapi for Testing Port These rules are basic configuration and security rules. You may want to tighten and limit these rules based on your own project and organizational policies.

        TIP

        After setting up your Nginx rules and domain name with the proper aliases, you will need to delete the rule regarding port 1337 as this is for testing and setting up the project - not for production.

  • Click the blue Review and Launch button.
  • Review the details, in the Step 7: Review Instance Launch, then click the blue Launch button. Now, you need to select an existing key pair or create a new key pair. To create a new key pair, do the following:
    • Select the dropdown option Create a new key pair.
    • Name your the key pair name, e.g. ec2-strapi-key-pair

      WARNING

      Download the private key file (.pem file). This file is needed, so note where it was downloaded.

    • After downloading the file, click the blue Launch Instances button.

Your instance is now running. Continue to the next steps.

# Install a PostgreSQL database on AWS RDS

Amazon calls their database hosting services RDS. Multiple database options exist and are available. In this guide, PostgreSQL is used as the example, and the steps are similar for each of the other database that are supported by Strapi. (MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, SQLite). You will set-up an RDS instance to host your postgresql database.

TIP

Amazon RDS does NOT have a completely free evaluation tier. After finishing this guide, if you are only testing, please remember to delete the database (opens new window). Otherwise, you will incur charges.

# 1. Navigate to the AWS RDS Service

In the top menu, click on Services and do a search for rds, click on RDS, Managed Relational Database Service.

# 2. Select your region

In the top menu bar, select the region that is the same as the EC2 instance, e.g. EU (Paris) or US East (N. Virgina).

# 3. Create the database

Click the orange Create database button. Follow these steps to complete installation of a PostgreSQL database:

  • Engine Options: Click on PostgreSQL, version PostgreSQL 10.x-R1
  • Templates: Click on Free Tier.
  • Settings
    • DB instance identifier Give a name to your database, e.g. strapi-database
    • Credential Settings: This is your psql database username and password.
      • Master username: Keep as postgres, or change (optional)
      • Uncheck Auto generate a password, and then type in a new secret password.
  • Connectivity, and Additional connectivity configuration: Set Publicly accessible to Yes.
  • OPTIONAL: Review any further options (DB Instance size, Storage, Connectivity), and modify to your project needs.
  • You need to give you Database a name. Under Additional configuration:
    • Additional configuration, and then Initial database name: Give your database a name, e.g. strapi.
  • Review the rest of the options and click the orange, Create database button.

After a few minutes, you may refresh your page and see that your database has been successfully created.

# Configure S3 for image hosting

Amazon calls cloud storage services S3. You create a bucket, which holds the files, images, folders, etc... which then can be accessed and served by your application. This guide will show you how to use Amazon S3 to host the images for your project.

# 1. Navigate to the Amazon S3

In the top menu, click on Services and do a search for s3, click on Scalable storage in the cloud.

# 2. Create the bucket

Click on the blue Create bucket button:

  • Give your bucket a unique name, under Bucket name, e.g. my-project-name-images.
  • Select the most appropriate region, under Region, e.g. EU (Paris) or US East (N. Virgina).
  • Click Next.
  • Configure any appropriate options for your project in the Configure Options page, and click next.
  • Under Block public access:
    • Uncheck Block all public access and set the permissions as follows:
      • Uncheck Block new public ACLs and uploading public objects (Recommended)
      • Uncheck Block public access to buckets and objects granted through any access control lists (ACLs)
      • Check Block public access to buckets and objects granted through new public bucket policies
      • Check Block public and cross-account access to buckets and objects through any public bucket policies
    • Select Do not grant Amazon S3 Log Delivery group write access to this bucket.
  • Click Next.
  • Review and click Create bucket.

# Configure EC2 as a Node.js server

You will set-up your EC2 server as a Node.js server. Including basic configuration and Git.

You will need your EC2 ip address:

  • In the AWS Console, navigate to the AWS EC2. In the top menu, click on Services and do a search for ec2, click on Virtual Servers in the cloud.
  • Click on 1 Running Instance and note the IPv4 Public OP address. E.g. 34.182.83.134.

# 1. Setup the .pem file

  • You downloaded, in a previous step, your User .pem file. e.g. ec2-strapi-key-pair.pem. This needs to be included in each attempt to SSH into your EC2 server. Move your .pem file to ~/.ssh/, follow these steps:
  • On your local machine, navigate to the folder that contains your .pem file. e.g. downloads
  • Move the .pem file to ~/.ssh/ and set file permissions: Path:./path-to/.pem-file/
mv ec2-strapi-key-pair.pem ~/.ssh/
chmod 400 ~/.ssh/ec2-strapi-key-pair.pem

# 2. Log in to your server as the default ubuntu user:

TIP

In the future, each time you log into your EC2 server, you will need to add the path to the .pem file, e.g. ssh -i ~/.ssh/ec2-strapi-key-pair.pem ubuntu@12.123.123.11.

ssh -i ~/.ssh/ec2-strapi-key-pair.pem ubuntu@12.123.123.11

Welcome to Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS (GNU/Linux 4.15.0-1032-aws x86_64)

...

To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use "sudo <command>".
See "man sudo_root" for details.

ubuntu@ip-12.123.123.11:~$

# 3. Install Node.js with npm:

Strapi currently supports Node.js v12.x.x. The following steps will install Node.js onto your EC2 server.

cd ~
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_12.x | sudo -E bash -
...
sudo apt-get install nodejs
...
node -v && npm -v

The last command node -v && npm -v should output two versions numbers, eg. v12.x.x, 6.x.x.

# 4. Create and change npm's default directory.

The following steps are based on how to resolve access permissions from npmjs.com (opens new window):

  • Create a .npm-global directory and set the path to this directory for node_modules
cd ~
mkdir ~/.npm-global
npm config set prefix '~/.npm-global'
  • Create (or modify) a ~/.profile file and add this line:
sudo nano ~/.profile

Add these lines at the bottom of the ~/.profile file.

# set PATH so global node modules install without permission issues
export PATH=~/.npm-global/bin:$PATH
  • Lastly, update your system variables:
source ~/.profile

You are now ready to continue to the next section.

# Install and Configure Git versioning on your server

A convenient way to maintain your Strapi application and update it during and after initial development is to use Git (opens new window). In order to use Git, you will need to have it installed on your EC2 instance. EC2 instances should have Git installed by default, so you will first check if it is installed and if it is not installed, you will need to install it.

The next step is to configure Git on your server.

# 1. Check to see if Git is installed

If you see a git version 2.x.x then you do have Git installed. Check with the following command:

git --version

# 2. OPTIONAL: Install Git.

TIP

Only do if not installed, as above. Please follow these directions on how to install Git on Ubuntu 18.04 (opens new window).

# 3. Configure the global username and email settings: Setting up Git - Your Identity (opens new window)

After installing and configuring Git on your EC2 instance. Please continue to the next step.

# Prepare and clone Strapi project to server

These instructions assume that you have already created a Strapi project, and have it in a GitHub repository.

You will need to update the database.json file to configure Strapi to connect to the RDS database. And you will need to install an npm package called pg locally on your development server.

TIP

The pg package install is only necessary if you are using PostgresSQL as your database.

# 1. Install pg in your Strapi project.

On your development machine, navigate to your Strapi project root directory: Path: ./my-project/

npm install pg

# 2. Edit the ./config/database.js file.

Copy/paste the following:

Path: ./my-project/config/database.js:

module.exports = ({ env }) => ({
  defaultConnection: 'default',
  connections: {
    default: {
      connector: 'bookshelf',
      settings: {
        client: 'postgres',
        host: env('DATABASE_HOST', '127.0.0.1'),
        port: env.int('DATABASE_PORT', 5432),
        database: env('DATABASE_NAME', 'strapi'),
        username: env('DATABASE_USERNAME', ''),
        password: env('DATABASE_PASSWORD', ''),
      },
      options: {
        ssl: false,
      },
    },
  },
});

# 3. Install the Strapi AWS S3 Upload Provider:

Path: ./my-project/.

npm install strapi-provider-upload-aws-s3

To enable and configure the provider, create or edit the file at ./config/plugins.js.

module.exports = ({ env }) => ({
  upload: {
    provider: 'aws-s3',
    providerOptions: {
      accessKeyId: env('AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID'),
      secretAccessKey: env('AWS_ACCESS_SECRET'),
      region: env('AWS_REGION'),
      params: {
        Bucket: env('AWS_BUCKET_NAME'),
      },
    },
  },
});

Checkout the documentation about using an upload provider here.

# 4. Push your local changes to your project's GitHub repository.

git add .
git commit -m 'Installed pg, aws-S3 upload provider and updated the config files'
git push

# 5. Deploy from GitHub

You will next deploy your Strapi project to your EC2 instance by cloning it from GitHub.

From your terminal and logged into your EC2 instance as the ubuntu user:

cd ~
git clone https://github.com/your-name/your-project-repo.git

Next, navigate to the my-project folder, the root for Strapi. You will need to run npm install to install the packages for your project.

Path: ./my-project/

cd ./my-project/
npm install
NODE_ENV=production npm run build

Next, you need to install PM2 Runtime and configure the ecosystem.config.js file

# 6. Install PM2 Runtime

PM2 Runtime (opens new window) allows you to keep your Strapi project alive and to reload it without downtime.

Ensure you are logged in as a non-root user. You will install PM2 globally:

npm install pm2@latest -g

Now, you will need to configure an ecosystem.config.js file. This file will set env variables that connect Strapi to your database. It will also be used to restart your project whenever any changes are made to files within the Strapi file system itself (such as when an update arrived from Github). You can read more about this file here (opens new window).

  • You will need to open your nano editor and then copy/paste the following:
cd ~
pm2 init
sudo nano ecosystem.config.js
  • Next, replace the boilerplate content in the file, with the following:
module.exports = {
  apps: [
    {
      name: 'your-app-name',
      cwd: '/home/ubuntu/my-project',
      script: 'npm',
      args: 'start',
      env: {
        NODE_ENV: 'production',
        DATABASE_HOST: 'your-unique-url.rds.amazonaws.com', // database Endpoint under 'Connectivity & Security' tab
        DATABASE_PORT: '5432',
        DATABASE_NAME: 'strapi', // DB name under 'Configuration' tab
        DATABASE_USERNAME: 'postgres', // default username
        DATABASE_PASSWORD: 'Password',
        AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID: 'aws-access-key-id',
        AWS_ACCESS_SECRET: 'aws-access-secret', // Find it in Amazon S3 Dashboard
        AWS_REGION: 'aws-region',
        AWS_BUCKET_NAME: 'my-project-bucket-name',
      },
    },
  ],
};

You can also set your environment variables in a .env file in your project like so:

DATABASE_HOST=your-unique-url.rds.amazonaws.com
DATABASE_PORT=5432
DATABASE_NAME=strapi
DATABASE_USERNAME=postgres
DATABASE_PASSWORD=Password
AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID=aws-access-key-id
AWS_ACCESS_SECRET=aws-access-secret
AWS_REGION=aws-region
AWS_BUCKET_NAME=my-project-bucket-name

We recommend you continue setting the NODE_ENV variable in the ecosystem.config.js file.

Use the following command to start pm2:

cd ~
pm2 start ecosystem.config.js

Your Strapi project should now be available on http://your-ip-address:1337/.

TIP

Earlier, Port 1337 was allowed access for testing and setup purposes. After setting up NGINX, the Port 1337 needs to have access denied.

# 7. Configure PM2 Runtime to launch project on system startup.

Follow the steps below to have your app launch on system startup.

TIP

These steps are based on the PM2 Runtime Startup Guide (opens new window).

  • Generate and configure a startup script to launch PM2, it will generate a Startup Script to copy/paste, do so:
$ cd ~
$ pm2 startup systemd

[PM2] Init System found: systemd
[PM2] To setup the Startup Script, copy/paste the following command:
sudo env PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin /usr/lib/node_modules/pm2/bin/pm2 startup systemd -u your-name --hp /home/your-name
  • Copy/paste the generated command:
$ sudo env PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin /usr/lib/node_modules/pm2/bin/pm2 startup systemd -u your-name --hp /home/your-name

[PM2] Init System found: systemd
Platform systemd

. . .


[PM2] [v] Command successfully executed.
+---------------------------------------+
[PM2] Freeze a process list on reboot via:
   $ pm2 save

[PM2] Remove init script via:
   $ pm2 unstartup systemd
  • Next, Save the new PM2 process list and environment.
pm2 save

[PM2] Saving current process list...
[PM2] Successfully saved in /home/your-name/.pm2/dump.pm2

  • OPTIONAL: You can test to see if the script above works whenever your system reboots with the sudo reboot command. You will need to login again with your non-root user and then run pm2 list and systemctl status pm2-ubuntu to verify everything is working.

# Create you first Administrator user

The next steps will create an Administrator user on the strapi AWS instance.

# 1. Locate your IPv4 Public IP:

  • Login as your regular user to your EC2 Dashboard
  • Click on 1 Running Instances.
  • Below, in the Description tab, locate your IPv4 Public IP

# 2. Next, create your Administrator user, and login to Strapi:

  • Go to http://your-ip-address:1337/
  • Complete the registration form.
  • Click Ready to Start

# Set up a webhook

Providing that your project is set-up on GitHub, you will need to configure your Strapi Project Repository with a webhook. The following article provides additional information to the steps below: GitHub Creating Webhooks Guide (opens new window).

  • You will need to access the Settings tab for your Strapi Project Repository:

    1. Navigate and click to Settings for your repository.
    2. Click on Webhooks, then click Add Webhook.
    3. The fields are filled out like this:
      • Payload URL: Enter http://your-ip-address:8080
      • Content type: Select application/json
      • Which events would you like to trigger this webhook: Select Just the push event
      • Secret: Enter YourSecret
      • Active: Select the checkbox
    4. Review the fields and click Add Webhook.
  • Next, you need to create a Webhook Script on your server. These commands create a new file called webhook.js which will hold two variables:

cd ~
mkdir NodeWebHooks
cd NodeWebHooks
sudo nano webhook.js
  • In the nano editor, copy/paste the following script, but make sure to replace your_secret_key and repo with the values that correspond to your project, then save and exit.

(This script creates a variable called PM2_CMD which is used after pulling from GitHub to update your project. The script first changes to the home directory and then runs the variable PM2_CMD as pm2 restart strapi. The project uses the ecosystem.config.js as the point of starting your application.)

var secret = 'your_secret_key'; // Your secret key from Settings in GitHub
var repo = '~/path-to-strapi-root-folder/'; // path to the root of your Strapi project on server

const http = require('http');
const crypto = require('crypto');
const exec = require('child_process').exec;

const PM2_CMD = 'cd ~ && pm2 startOrRestart ecosystem.config.js';

http
  .createServer(function(req, res) {
    req.on('data', function(chunk) {
      let sig =
        'sha1=' +
        crypto
          .createHmac('sha1', secret)
          .update(chunk.toString())
          .digest('hex');

      if (req.headers['x-hub-signature'] == sig) {
        exec(`cd ${repo} && git pull && ${PM2_CMD}`, (error, stdout, stderr) => {
          if (error) {
            console.error(`exec error: ${error}`);
            return;
          }
          console.log(`stdout: ${stdout}`);
          console.log(`stderr: ${stderr}`);
        });
      }
    });

    res.end();
  })
  .listen(8080);
  • Allow the port to communicate with outside web traffic for port 8080:
    • Within your AWS EC2 dashboard:
      • In the left hand menu, click on Security Groups,
      • Select with the checkbox, the correct Group Name, e.g. strapi,
      • At the bottom of the screen, in the Inbound tab, click Edit, and then Add Rule:
        • Type: Custom TCP
        • Protocol: TCP
        • Port Range: 8080
        • Source: Custom 0.0.0.0/0, ::/0
      • Then Save

Earlier you setup pm2 to start the services (your Strapi project) whenever the EC2 instance reboots or is started. You will now do the same for the webhook script.

  • Install the webhook as a Systemd service

    • Run echo $PATH and copy the output for use in the next step.
cd ~
echo $PATH

/home/your-name/.npm-global/bin:/home/your-name/bin:/home/your-name/.local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games:/snap/bin
  • Create a webhook.service file:
sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/webhook.service
  • In the nano editor, copy/paste the following script, but make sure to replace ubuntu in two places if you changed the default ubuntu user, and paste the $PATH from above.

WARNING

DELETE THE #COMMENTS BEFORE SAVING, then save and exit.

[Unit]
Description=Github webhook
After=network.target

[Service]
Environment=PATH=/PASTE-PATH_HERE #path from echo $PATH (as above)
Type=simple
User=ubuntu #replace with your name, if changed from default ubuntu user
ExecStart=/usr/bin/nodejs /home/ubuntu/NodeWebHooks/webhook.js #replace with your name, if changed from default ubuntu user
Restart=on-failure

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
  • Enable and start the new service so it starts when the system boots:
sudo systemctl enable webhook.service
sudo systemctl start webhook
  • Check the status of the webhook:
sudo systemctl status webhook

# Further steps to take

Your Strapi project has been installed on an AWS EC2 instance using Ubuntu 18.04.