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How to deploy a Nuxt Full Static site in DigitalOcean

dawntraoz profile image Alba Silvente πŸ’ƒπŸΌ Originally published at dawntraoz.com ・9 min read

In this post I want to tell you how I have configured a droplet in DigitalOcean to be able to publish a Nuxt Full Static site with a good performance.

Before starting

For those of you who don't know DigitalOcean yet, it provides developers cloud services that help to deploy and scale applications that run simultaneously on multiple computers.

You'll see that I mention the word droplet throughout the post. In DigitalOcean, droplets are flexible Linux-based virtual machines (VMs) that run on top of virtualized hardware. So, each droplet you create is a new server you can use.

There are different kinds of droplet plans offered, but we are going to use Standard Droplets, which offer a lot of freedom and flexibility regarding our hosting needs. But first, I recommend you to take a look at the other droplets plans and see what is the best one for your project.

If you don't have an account yet, you can register here: https://cloud.digitalocean.com/registrations/new!

Step 1 - Create your droplet

Now that we know what a droplet is, let's create our own πŸŽ‰

Go to Create > Droplets in the top right menu.

  • Choose an image

In this case, as we are going to deploy our favorite framework NuxtJS, we will need the NodeJS image. Go to Marketplace and type NodeJS in the search input, select the latest version available.

Choose an image in your DigitalOcean droplet

  • Choose a plan

You will have to take into account the scalability of your project and the capacity you need for it.

In our case, for IS ! MY BUG, we have decided to try a standard droplet ($10/month it might be enough).

Choose a plan for your droplet in DigitalOcean

  • Choose a datacenter region

In this section it is best to choose the region where you want your website to have the best performance, where your target audience is.

Choose a datacenter region for your droplet

  • Authentication

This is the option that will defined how you will connect with your droplet.

We recommend to use SSH keys, for security purposes

Authentication in DigitalOcean Droplet

When creating your New SSH Key, you'll need to follow the tutorial inside the modal and, then, add the public key (id_rsa.pub) generated inside the textarea.

Authentication with SSH keys in DigitalOcean Droplet

Once you have completed all the options, give it a name and press the create button.

Name and add your droplet

Now, our Droplet is ready!! πŸ’œ

Step 2 - Add your own domain

If you already have a purchased domain, let's add it to DigitalOcean. Otherwise you will need to buy one first.

Go to Create > Domains/DNS in the top bar menu, it will open the Networking page with Domains tab selected.

Then, type your domain into the Enter domain input and click the Add Domain button.

Add a domain in DigitalOcean

Once you've added a domain, click its name to view and modify its DNS records.

You will see 3 NS-type records by default. To add this domain to your droplet you will need 2 A-type records:

Add a domain related to your droplet

  • One with @ as a hostname (will be equivalent to your domain.io) directing to your droplet (by IP)
  • Another with www as a hostname (will create a subdomain www.domain.io) directing to your droplet again.

Now everything is ready to start working in our droplet. You can check if the domain is working with the following command, you must see your droplet IP address: ping domain.io

If you have any problems related to the DNS management I recommend you to take a look at How to Create, Edit, and Delete DNS Records.

Step 3 - Connect to your droplet by SSH

To connect to your Droplet by SSH, you'll need to open a terminal. It depends on the operating system you're using, but generally:

  • Linux: Search Terminal or press CTRL+ALT+T.
  • macOS: Search Terminal.
  • Bash on Windows: Search Bash. If you don't have Bash on Windows, you can just install git and you will have Git Bash included, ready to use.

Now that you have a terminal open, you will have to connect through this command:

ssh root@DROPLET_IP_ADDRESS

When you finished creating your droplet an IP address would be generated, that's the one you have to use after the @.

In case you have more than one SSH keys, you may need to specify the path of your private key using the -i flag:

ssh -i /path/key username@DROPLET_IP_ADDRESS

If everything has gone well and we have created a passphrase, as the guide recommends, now it is time to add it in:

Enter passphrase for key '/c/Users/USER/.ssh/key':

Now we are connected to our droplet πŸ™Œ, we will see 'root@DROPLET_NAME' if everything went well. Otherwise you can consult this more detailed guide from DigitalOcean team.

Step 4 - Configure NGINX to run our NuxtJS project

Good news, in our droplet NGINX is already installed, we just need to configure the server to run our static site when it is generated. LetΒ΄s see how it works!

  • Create a domain folder

Add a folder in /var/www/ with the same name as our domain:

  cd /var/www/
  mkdir domain.io

Inside the domain folder, we will need to have another one called html (this folder will contain our code):

  cd /var/www/domain.io
  mkdir html
  • Create a domain NGINX configuration

To start configuring NGINX for our domain, let's copy the default site available to a file named as our domain:

  cd /etc/nginx/sites-available/
  cp default domain.io
  sudo nano domain.io

When you open the copied file you will see something like this:

  server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;

    root /var/www/html;

    index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;

    server_name hellonode;

    location ^~ /assets/ { 
      gzip_static on;
      expires 12h;
      add_header Cache-Control public;
    }

    location / {
      ...
      proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
    }
  }

We will need to modify, add and delete the following content:

  • First, change root /var/www/html; to root /var/www/domain.io/html/dist; and server_name hellonode; to server_name domain.io www.domain.io;.

  • Then, remove 'location ^~ /assets/ { }' and the content inside 'location /'.

  • At the end, add below server_name:

  error_page 404 /200.html;

Now, you will have:

  server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;

    root /var/www/domain.io/html/dist;
    index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;

    server_name domain.io www.domain.io;

    error_page 404 /200.html;

    location / {
    }
  }

This file needs to be also in sites-enabled and the default will be removed, for that you need to run the following commands:

  // Create a symbolic link to have the same content in both
  sudo ln -sf /etc/nginx/sites-available/domain.io /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/domain.io
  rm /etc/nginx/sites-available/default /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Finally, to see the changes already done we need to restart NGINX, run:

  sudo nginx -t // Test configuration
  sudo nginx -s reload

As we don't have any project there yet, we will see a 404 error, we are almost there. Let's configure our project in the next step!

Step 5 - Deploy Automation using git

In order to upload our code to the droplet using a git command and thus automate the process, we can create a githook (or you can use Github Actions).

In this case I will show you how to upload your project configuring a githook:

  • Initiate a repository

In the folder that will contain our static site's files. We need to initialize a git repo inside:

  cd /var/www/domain.io/html
  git init
  • Create a repobare folder

Now, go back to the domain.io folder and create the repobare folder,

  cd ..
  mkdir repobare

go to repobare and initiate a bare repo:

  cd repobare
  git init --bare

We will need to create a githook that will intercept our commits and push the files to our domain.io/html folder.

  sudo nano hooks/post-receive

Add to the post-receive githook, the content below:

  • The first command will add to the html folder the content pushed from our repository.

  • The last commands will go to that folder, install dependencies and generate the dist folder with your static site files.

  #!/bin/bash
  git --work-tree=/var/www/domain.io/html --git-dir=/var/www/domain.io/repobare checkout -f
  cd /var/www/domain.io/html
  npm install
  npm run generate

Then save post-receive file and give it permission to be executed:

  sudo chmod +x hooks/post-receive
  • Create a new origin in your local repo

In order to keep our origin intact, we are going to create a new origin with the name we want, replacing with the chosen name.

Go to your local repository and run the following commands:

  git remote add <deploy_origin> root@<DROPLET_IP_ADDRESS>:/var/www/domain.io/repobare
  git add .
  git commit -m "First commit"
  git push <deploy_origin> master

When you run git push it will ask you for the SSH passphrase, fill in and press Enter.

Now, everything is in your 'domain.io/html' folder and build it πŸ‘ Check your result in the browser you like the most πŸŽ‰

Appendix - Improve performance

1. SSL Certification

The first step will be obtain an SSL Certificate. To do it we will use Let’s Encrypt, as DigitalOcean recommend us in this post. For that, we will install the Certbot software on our droplet.

Install Certbot and it's Nginx plugin with 'apt':

sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-nginx

Certbot is now ready to use, and we already have Nginx’s configuration ready for it.

So, we just need to run the command below to obtain the same certificate for both domains.

sudo certbot --nginx -d www.domain.io -d domain.io

If this is your first using 'certbot', enter the email address associated with your domain (i.e. info@domain.io) and agree to the terms of service.

If everything works fine, 'certbot' will ask to choose the configuration of HTTPS settings (I chose 2: Redirect).

Output
Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Now, the certificate is downloaded, installed, and loaded, you can check your website using 'https://'.

It includes a renewal process, if you want to test it go to Verifying Certbot Auto-Renewal.

2. Cache Policy

Let's configure Cache-Control and Expires Headers in the domain.io we created before in Nginx sites-available folder.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/domain.io

Add 2 new sections:

  • Before the server block, the cache's duration of each file type.
  • Inside the server block, the caching headers settings.
# Expires map
map $sent_http_content_type $expires {
    default                    off;
    text/html                  epoch;
    text/css                   max;
    application/javascript     max;
    ~image/                    max;
}

server {
    ...

    expires $expires;

    root /var/www/domain.io/html/dist;
...

To enable the new configuration, restart Nginx.

sudo nginx -s reload

And run the next command below to be sure the new config is working and you see 'Expires: Thu, 01 Jan 1970 00:00:01 GMT' and 'Cache-Control: no-cache'.

curl -I https://domain.io/index.html

If you want more information about it, go to How to Implement Browser Caching.

3. Accept Encoding

To change the server gzip configuration, edit nginx.config file:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Find the gzip settings section and modify:

  • Uncomment every commented line to enable the additional settings.
  • Add gzip_min_length to 256 and gzip_types with the formats you want to encode.
...
##
# `gzip` Settings
#
#
gzip on;

gzip_vary on;
gzip_proxied any;
gzip_comp_level 6;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 256;
gzip_types text/plain text/css application/json application/javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript application/vnd.ms-fontobject application/x-font-ttf font/opentype image/svg+xml image/x-icon;
...

That's it! To enable the new configuration, reload Nginx again.

sudo nginx -s reload

And run the next command below to be sure the new config is working:

curl -H "Accept-Encoding: gzip" -I https://domain.io/index.html

If you want more information about it, go to How To Add the gzip Module to Nginx.

Results

After adding this configuration to our project IS!MYBUG, the results are just unbelievable 😍 We're in shock!!

Performance results after configure DigitalOcean Droplet

I hope you spend a good time reading it and it solves any doubt you may have when you decide to use DigitalOcean for your Nuxt Full Static sites.

Thank you for getting here and, as always, any feedback is very welcome!! πŸ’œπŸŽ‰

Posted on by:

dawntraoz profile

Alba Silvente πŸ’ƒπŸΌ

@dawntraoz

Senior Frontend Developer at BlueHarvest πŸ’œ blogger & open source contributor starter. Vue, Nuxt, Tailwindcss & Storyblok

Discussion

markdown guide
 

Great post, thanks! How would you guide on a decision between using Vercel or Digital Ocean? Do you have any advice on that?

 

I haven't tried Vercel yet, I used to deploy my sites on Heroku or Netlify, but I wanna cross the line and try to prepare my own droplet. DigitalOcean has good prices, better documentation and the best community 😍
I recommend you to try both with small projects and compare the results or your experience as user πŸ’œπŸŽ‰