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Hastily Deploying a Node App on NearlyFreeSpeech.net (Mac OS)

jenc profile image jen chan Updated on ・2 min read

This was so intimidating that I'm just recording what I did so I can remember. Thanks to Conan Lai @letmelol for onsite assistance and this Mopsled blog from 2015, which you should really read instead of my post which only details the terminal commands I used.

Getting started

(For more info See "NFSN Configuration" in Mopsled's post)

  1. Make a NearlyFreeSpeech account.
  2. Create a password
  3. Create a RSA key if you don't have one, run ssh-keygen, which generates a public and private key. You'll need the public one
  4. Go to Profile > Add SSH
  5. To copy your public key, run pbcopy < ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub in the terminal
  6. Paste your key into the input box, and click Add SSH Key

Preparing my app

My app is a Vue-cli with express server: At this point I had the front end in a different folder than the backend. Two different projects with two package.jsons!

  1. In my front-end project, compile the build into a /dist or /build folder with npm run build
  2. Copy and paste the folder into my server side project folder (express app)
  3. In my app.js, add app.use(express.static ('dist/')) to point the backend at my public directory

Optional: In package.json, I could add a script to run the app run.sh

Deploying

(Also refer to Project Setup)

  1. ssh to my server to get in
    ssh username_websiteNickName>@ssh.phx.nearlyfreespeech.net

  2. To "upload" all your files to the server, copy everything into home/protected/ by running:

    rsync -av ./ username_websitenickname@ssh.phx.nearlyfreespeech.net:/home/protected

    ./ indicates "everything in this folder" as the local path, and username_websitenickname@ssh.phx.nearlyfreespeech.net:/home/protected is the remote path.

Alternately, I could use scp -r ./ username_websiteNickname@ssh.phx. nearlyfreespeech.net:/home/protected

Remember to keep a space between local and destination paths.

Apparently rsync is really cool because it only updates what's changed/new in your files.

Make It Live

  1. See ["Configure NearlyFreeSpeech.net Daemon" and "Configure Proxy"] on Mopsled's post(http://www.mopsled.com/2015/run-nodejs-on-nearlyfreespeechnet/)

HELP: Getting a TLS certificate

Being the tutorial smartass I think I am, I thought I could create my own TLS certificate after reading this gist thread by running tls.sh in /home/protected. I was wrong. Now this task keeps running and I get an email everyday about how it failed. Does anyone know what I can do to enable https properly?

email of my server error message

UPDATE:

In a total duhh moment I found that scheduled tasks are listed in the GUI.
I went to Sites, and on the left hand side I found a sidebar listing "Scheduled Tasks" where the tls.setup task was listed, with a "Remove" button to the right hand side.

Discussion (9)

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defool profile image
Shawn S • Edited

I found the 'article' you suggested to look at on Archive:

web.archive.org/web/20161108020800...

Hello. So after a while using NFS can you give me an estimate of your monthly costs running a Node.js site on their platform. I have an account with them, and have used them as a 'play' site, for fun, everything PHP and static. Just an average hit count and a dollar amount would be great as Node, as I understand it is 'always running'. Right now. It is an offline (non-production) site so it is cheaper:

Here are my costs for last month:January 2020 Expenses
Category January
DNS Charge $0.20
Deposit Fee $1.19
Site Charge $0.31
Storage Charge $2.27
Total $3.97

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nickgottschlich profile image
Nick Gottschlich

Thanks for finding this archive, saved my butt! Got my website online thanks to this 😁

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jenc profile image
jen chan Author

I live for these moments knowing many a tutorial saved me like this 😄

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jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Thank you! I didn't realize the link was broken and just replaced it!

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howardah profile image
howardah

Hey Jen, just curious to know if you ever got the TLS certificate working? I'm trying to do this with my node app on nearlyfreespeech.

Thanks!

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ianmcorvidae profile image
Ian McEwen

Hi; I actually ended up figuring out how to do this for my own thing. NFSN's provided tls-setup script expects the /home/public/.well-known directory to be served up at /.well-known on your site, and that's the main thing (as far as I can tell) that makes it not work well for custom daemons. For my thing, I happened not to need all of / to be proxied to node, so I set up more focused proxies to the specific subpaths I needed, and used the "Apache 2.4 Generic" site setting so that their included servers would serve up the well-known directory. I suspect that it'd be possible to get this to work with anything so long as that directory serves up files as expected so that the ACME challenges can go through.

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jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Thanks so much for this note Ian! Seriously... it's called the ./well-known directory? Lmao.

I'll update the post with a note for others who are looking. Thanks again!

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jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Unfortunately I didn't. Let me know if you find out!

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jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Hi there, oh gosh, I can't remember... I have to go and check!

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