Production Quality Meteor Deployments
Last updated 4 years ago by richie765 .
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Production Quality Meteor Deployments

Meteor Up is a command line tool that allows you to deploy any Meteor app to your own server. It currently supports Ubuntu.

You can install and use Meteor Up on Linux, Mac and Windows.

This version of Meteor Up is powered by Docker, making deployment easy to manage and reducing a lot of server specific errors.

Table of Contents


  • Single command server setup
  • Single command deployment
  • Multi server deployment
  • Environment Variable management
  • Support for settings.json
  • Password or Private Key (pem) based server authentication
  • Access logs from the terminal (supports log tailing)
  • Support for custom docker images

Server Configuration

  • Auto-restart if the app crashes
  • Auto-start after server reboot
  • Runs with docker for better security and isolation
  • Reverts to the previous version if the deployment failed
  • Pre-installed PhantomJS


npm install -g mup

Creating a Meteor Up Project

cd my-app-folder
mkdir .deploy
cd .deploy
mup init

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

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

Example File

module.exports = {
  servers: {
    one: {
      host: '',
      username: 'root',
      // pem: '/home/user/.ssh/id_rsa', // mup doesn't support '~' alias for home directory
      // password: 'password',
      // or leave blank to authenticate using ssh-agent
      opts: {
          port: 22,

  meteor: {
    name: 'app',
    path: '../app', // mup doesn't support '~' alias for home directory
    // port: 000, // useful when deploying multiple instances (optional)
    volumes: { // lets you add docker volumes (optional)
      "/host/path": "/container/path", // passed as '-v /host/path:/container/path' to the docker run command
      "/second/host/path": "/second/container/path"
    docker: {
      image: 'kadirahq/meteord', // (optional)
      // image: 'abernix/meteord:base', // use this image if using Meteor 1.4+
      args:[ // lets you add/overwrite any parameter on the docker run command (optional)
        "--link=myCustomMongoDB:myCustomMongoDB", // linking example
        "--memory-reservation 200M" // memory reservation example
    servers: {
      one: {}, two: {}, three: {} // list of servers to deploy, from the 'servers' list
    buildOptions: {
      serverOnly: true,
      debug: true,
      cleanAfterBuild: true, // default
      buildLocation: '/my/build/folder', // defaults to /tmp/<uuid>
      mobileSettings: {
        yourMobileSetting: "setting value"
    env: {
      ROOT_URL: 'http://app.com',
      MONGO_URL: 'mongodb://localhost/meteor'
    log: { // (optional)
      driver: 'syslog',
      opts: {
    ssl: {
      port: 443,
      crt: 'bundle.crt',
      key: 'private.key',
    deployCheckWaitTime: 60 // default 10

  mongo: { // (optional)
    oplog: true,
    port: 27017,
    servers: {
      one: {},

Setting Up a Server

mup setup

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

Deploying an App

mup deploy

This will bundle the Meteor project and deploy it to the server. The bundling process is exactly how meteor deploy does it.

Other Utility Commands

  • mup reconfig - reconfigure app with new environment variables and Meteor settings
  • mup stop - stop the app
  • mup start - start the app
  • mup restart - restart the app
  • mup logs [-f --tail=50] - get logs

Build Options

You can define Meteor build options in mup.js like this:

meteor: {
  buildOptions: {
    // build with the debug mode on
    debug: true,
    // mobile setting for cordova apps
    mobileSettings: {
      public: {
        'meteor-up': 'rocks',
    // executable used to build the meteor project
    // you can set a local repo path if needed
    executable: 'meteor',

Additional Setup/Deploy Information

Deploy Wait Time

Meteor Up checks if the deployment is successful or not just after the deployment. By default, it will wait 15 seconds before the check. You can configure the wait time with the meteor.deployCheckWaitTime option in mup.js.

SSH keys with passphrase (or ssh-agent support)

This only tested with Mac/Linux

It's common to use passphrase enabled SSH keys to add an extra layer of protection to your SSH keys. You can use those keys with mup too. In order to do that, you need to use ssh-agent.

Here's the process:

  • Remove the pem field from mup.js so your mup.js has username and host only.
  • Start ssh agent with eval $(ssh-agent)
  • Add your ssh key with ssh-add <path-to-key>
  • You'll be asked to enter the passphrase to the key
  • After that, simply invoke mup commands and they'll just work
  • Once you've deployed your app, kill ssh agent with ssh-agent -k

SSH based authentication with sudo

If your username is root or you're using AWS EC2, you don't need to follow these steps

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

Make sure you also add your ssh key to the /YOUR_USERNAME/.ssh/authorized_keys list.

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

Meteor Up uses Docker to run and manage your app. It uses MeteorD behind the scenes. Here's how we manage and utilize the server.

  • Your currently running meteor bundle lives at /opt/<appName>/current
  • We have a demonized docker container running the above bundle
  • The docker container is started with --restart=always flag and it'll re-spawn the container if it dies
  • Logs are maintained via Docker
  • If you decided to use MongoDB, it will be running as its own Docker container. It's bound to the local interface and to port 27017 (you cannot access it from the outside)
  • The database is named <appName>

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.js and settings.json files, and the mup.js files' app field pointing back to your app's local directory.

Accessing the Database

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

docker exec -it mongodb mongo <appName>

Later on we'll be using a separate MongoDB instance for every app.

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 set up 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.js, 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.

You might also have to tell docker to use this custom port like this:

meteor: {
  port: 8000

Now set up both projects and deploy as you need.

Changing appName

It's pretty okay to change the appName. But before you do so, you need to stop the project with older appName.

Custom configuration and settings files

You can keep multiple configuration and settings files in the same directory and pass them to mup using the command parameters --settings and --config. For example, to use a file mup-staging.js and staging-settings.json, add the parameters like this:

mup deploy --config=mup-staging.js --settings=staging-settings.json

SSL Support

Meteor Up can enable SSL support for your app. It uses the latest version of Nginx for that.

To do that, just add following configuration to your mup.js file.

meteor: {
  ssl: {
    crt: './bundle.crt', // this is a bundle of certificates
    key: './private.key', // this is the private key of the certificate
    port: 443 // 443 is the default value and it's the standard HTTPS port

Now simply do mup setup and then mup deploy. Your app is now running with a modern SSL setup.

If your certificate and key are already in the right location on your server and you would like to prevent Mup from overriding them while still needing an SSL setup, you can add upload: false to mup.js in the meteor.ssl object.

To learn more about the SSL setup, refer to the mup-frontend-server project.

Updating Mup

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.


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.

Verbose Output

If you need to see the output of mup (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.

Migrating from Meteor Up 0.x

mup is not backward compatible with Meteor Up 0.x. or mupx.

  • Docker is now the runtime for Meteor Up
  • We don't have to use Upstart any more
  • You don't need to set up NodeJS version or PhantomJS manually (MeteorD will take care of it)
  • We use a mongodb docker container to run the local mongodb data (it uses the old mongodb location)
  • It uses Nginx and different SSL configurations
  • Now we don't re-build binaries. Instead we build for the os.linux.x86_64 architecture. (This is the same thing what meteor-deploy does)

Migration Guide

Use a new server if possible as you can. Then migrate DNS accordingly. That's the easiest and safest way.

Let's assume our appName is meteor

Remove old docker container with: docker rm -f meteor Remove old mongodb container with: docker rm -f mongodb If present remove nginx container with: docker rm -f meteor-frontend

Then do mup setup and then mup deploy.


Q) I get a deploy verification error with logs like below (Similar to issue 88)

Verifying Deployment: FAILED

npm WARN deprecated
npm WARN deprecated   npm -g install npm@latest
npm WARN deprecated

A) Try increasing the value of the deployCheckWaitTime field in mup.js.

Q) I get "Windows script error" in Windows. (issue 185)

A) This happens because Windows tries to run the mup.js config file instead of the actual mup binary. Use the absolute path to the mup binary: C:/<where mup is installed>/mup setup

Q) Mup commands silently fail when I have a ~ in a relative path. (issue 189)

A) Mup doesn't support the ~ alias for the home directory, use the absolute path instead.

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