Put Your App Online With DigitalOcean App Platform

Created by Colin Alston

Change the production database

Locally your app uses SQLite as the database to store your ideas. It’s easier to use another database on DigitalOcean deploys. To deploy with DigitalOcean we’ll change the database in production to use PostgreSQL.

Install the pg gem

Open the Gemfile file in your Text Editor and change the following line:

gem "sqlite3"

into these lines:

group :development do
  gem "sqlite3"
group :production do
  gem "pg"

Next, run the command below to setup the new database gem:

bundle install --without production

Update the database configuration

Up next, you’ll need to change the database configuration for the production environment.

Help from the coach

Explain what the different Rails environments are. What is “production”?

Open the config/database.yml file in your Text Editor. Change the following lines in the file:

  <<: *default
  database: storage/production.sqlite3

to these lines:

  adapter: postgresql
  encoding: unicode
  pool: <%= ENV.fetch("RAILS_MAX_THREADS") { 5 } %>
  database: railsgirls_production
  username: railsgirls

Save the changes in Git by creating a new commit. We’ll need to update our app in Git to deploy these changes.

git add .
git commit -m "Use PostgreSQL as the production database"

Create an account

Head to https://www.digitalocean.com/go/app-platform and sign up for the 60 day free trial.

Trial page

Sign up using Github to link your account

Github Authorization

You will need a credit card but will receive $200 to start with if this is your first time using DigitalOcean.

Complete signup

Create an application

Click on Deploy a web application to get started.

Deploy a web application

Choose “Deploy your web app” to add an existing GitHub repository

Deply source

Authorize DigitalOcean to read your repositories

Authorize DigitalOcean

Select the repository for your application

Choose repo Choose branch

Click Next to continue then Edit Plan to ensure we use the appropriate resources. We will start with a Basic plan and the smallest container size which should be sufficient.

Container size

Continue through the next steps until the end. We should not need to change anything else.

Environment Region

Deploying our Rails application

Wait for the application to build, you can view realtime logs of the process while it happens.


If all went well you should see your application is available, however it still needs to be initialized and have a database added.


Click on Create and Create/Attach Database to connect a PostgreSQL database.


The application will automatically be configured with the database credentials


You can now head to the Console to access your application container and setup the database.

Type rails db:migrate into the terminal and press Enter. You should see the database being setup with the Rails schema.


If all went well you should now be able to click on the Live App button which links to the live server.



Your Rails app is now running in the cloud on DigitalOcean. You can push your changes to GitHub and they’ll show up automatically the live URL after some time. Share the URL to show off your app to your friends!

Keep an eye out when your free credits run out and delete the app if you no longer need it.

If you’re ever stuck during a guide, please ask your coach for help and also consult this handy cheatsheet for Ruby, Rails, the console, the Text Editor etc.


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