How to set up Rails secrets

by Jason Swett,

This is part 4 of my series on how to deploy a Ruby on Rails application to AWS. If you found this page via search, I recommend starting from the beginning.

Overview of this step

We need to set up the Rails secrets security feature. It’s a relatively simple step although it does require us to jump through a few hoops.

1. Run rails credentials:edit

First we need to give permission to the current user, ubuntu, so we can make changes.

When we run the rails credentials:edit command, it will have us edit a credential file. We need to specify the editor that should be used for this action. In this case I’ll specify Vim.

Now we need to delete the existing config/credentials.yml.enc or else there will be a conflict.

With all these things out of the way, we can finally edit our credential file. No changes to the file are necessary. Just save and exit.

Lastly, we need to give permissions back to the nginx user, www-data. Restart nginx afterward.

2. Verify success

Now, if you visit your EC2 instance’s URL in the browser, you should get this error:

The significant thing about this error is that it’s coming from Rails, not nginx. So we’ve made it all the way “to Rails”.

If you run tail -f log/production.log before refreshing the page, you should be able to see the exact error that’s occurring. It should be something like this:

This is telling us there’s no PostgreSQL server running, which is true. We can fix this problem in the next step: setting up our RDS database.

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