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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 use install and use Meteor Up from Linux, Mac and Windows.

This version of Meteor Up is powered by Docker and it makes Meteor Up easy to manage. It also reduce a lot of server specific errors.

Table of Contents


  • Single command server setup
  • Single command deployment
  • Multi server deployment
  • Environment Variables 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 crashed
  • Auto-Start after the server reboot
  • Runs with docker so gives us better security and isolation.
  • Revert 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:
      // password:
      // or leave blank for authenticate from ssh-agent
      opts: {
          port: 22,

  meteor: {
    name: 'app',
    path: '../app',
    volumes: { //optional, lets you add docker volumes
      "/host/path": "/container/path", //passed as '-v /host/path:/container/path' to the docker run command
      "/second/host/path": "/second/container/path"
    docker: {
      args:[ //optional, lets you add / overwrite any parameter on the docker run command
        "--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: '',
      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 setup 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. 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

When building the meteor app, we can invoke few options. So, you can mention them 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 the mup.js

SSH keys with paraphrase (or ssh-agent support)

This only tested with Mac/Linux

It's common to use paraphrase 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 a ssh-agent.

Here's the process:

  • First remove your pem field from the mup.js. So, your mup.js only has the username and host only.
  • Then start a ssh agent with eval $(ssh-agent)
  • Then add your ssh key with ssh-add <path-to-key>
  • Then you'll be asked to enter the paraphrase to the key
  • After that simply invoke mup commands and they'll just work
  • Once you've deployed your app kill the ssh agent with ssh-agent -k

SSH based authentication with sudo

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

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.)

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've a demonized docker container running the above bundle.
  • 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'll be also running as a Docker conatiner. It's bound to the local interface and port 27017 (you cannot access 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 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:

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 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.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.

Now setup 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's 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. Now your app is running with a modern SSL setup.

If your certificate and key are already at the right location on your server and you would like to prevent Mup to override 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 the now runtime for Meteor Up
  • We don't have to use Upstart any more
  • You don't need to setup 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 a Nginx and a 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 an 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 deployCheckWaitTime field in mup.js file.

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

A) This happens because windows trys to run 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 fails when I have a ~ in a relative path. (issue 189)

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



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