Installing SEEK in a production environment

This page contains some extra notes about setting up SEEK for production (i.e. for real use rather than for development).

By reading and following these extra notes, you will more performance out of SEEK, and reduce the ongoing maintenance.

If you wish to run under a sub URI, e.g., then please read and follow Installing under a sub URI at the end of the installation.

Before you install SEEK

This will make sure some of the rake tasks affect the appropriate database.

To save time later there are also some additional packages to install:

sudo apt-get install libapr1-dev libaprutil1-dev

You will need to install SEEK as the www-data user. First, to make the installation simpler, give this user a dedicated home directory:

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop
sudo usermod -d /home/www-data www-data
sudo usermod -s /bin/bash www-data
sudo mkdir /home/www-data
sudo chown www-data /home/www-data
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start

We recommend installing SEEK in /srv/rails/seek - first you need to create this and grant permissions to www-data

sudo mkdir -p /srv/rails
sudo chown www-data /srv/rails

Now switch to the www-data user

sudo su - www-data
cd /srv/rails

Before following the standard INSTALL guide you need to set an environment variable to indicate that you intend to setup and run SEEK as production.

export RAILS_ENV=production

you will need to reset this variable if you close your shell and start a new session

You can now follow the overall Installation Guide, and then return to this page for some additional steps to get SEEK running together with Apache, and also automating the required services.

If you have problems with requiring a sudo password during the RVM steps - first setup RVM and ruby-1.9.3 as a user with sudo access, and repeat the steps as the www-data user. This means the required packages should then be installed. At the time of writing this guide this shouldn’t be necessary.

After you have installed SEEK

Compiling Assets

Assets - such as images, javascript and stylesheets, need to be precompiled - which means minifying them, grouping some together into a single file, and compressing. These then get placed into public/assets. To compile them run the following command. This can take some time, so be patient

bundle exec rake assets:precompile

Serving SEEK through Apache

First you need to setup Passenger Phusion .Still as the www-data user, run the command:

bundle exec passenger-install-apache2-module

This will compile a module for Apache, and at the end present you with some lines that need adding to /etc/apache2/apache2.conf. These will look something like the following, but the paths will most likely be different:

LoadModule passenger_module /home/www-data/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.2.7/gems/passenger-5.1.2/buildout/apache2/
<IfModule mod_passenger.c>
  PassengerRoot /home/www-data/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.2.7/gems/passenger-5.1.2
  PassengerDefaultRuby /home/www-data/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.2.7/wrappers/ruby

You will need to be a user that has sudo permissions, and edit this file:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Now create a virtual host definition for SEEK:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/seek.conf

which looks like (if you have registered a DNS for your site, then set ServerName appropriately):

<VirtualHost *:80>
  DocumentRoot /srv/rails/seek/public
   <Directory /srv/rails/seek/public>
      # This relaxes Apache security settings.
      Allow from all
      # MultiViews must be turned off.
      Options -MultiViews
      Require all granted
   <LocationMatch "^/assets/.*$">
      Header unset ETag
      FileETag None
      # RFC says only cache for 1 year
      ExpiresActive On
      ExpiresDefault "access plus 1 year"

The LocationMatch block tells Apache to serve up the assets (images, CSS, Javascript) with a long expiry time, leading to better performance since these items will be cached. You may need to enable the headers and expires modules for Apache, so run:

sudo a2enmod headers
sudo a2enmod expires

Now enable the SEEK site, and disable the default that is installed with Apache, and restart:

sudo a2ensite seek
sudo a2dissite 000-default
sudo service apache2 restart

If you now visit http://localhost (note there is no 3000 port) - you should see SEEK.

If you wish to restart SEEK, maybe after an upgrade, without restarting Apache you can do so by running (as www-data)

touch /srv/rails/seek/tmp/restart.txt

Configuring for HTTPS

We would strongly recommend using Lets Encrypt for free SSL certificates.

Setting up the services

The following steps show how to setup delayed_job and soffice to run as a service, and automatically start and shutdown when you restart the server. Apache Solr should already be setup from following the Setting up Solr instructions.

Delayed Job Background Service

Create the file /etc/init.d/delayed_job-seek and copy the contents of scripts/delayed_job-seek into it.

The run:

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/delayed_job-seek
sudo update-rc.d delayed_job-seek defaults

start it up with:

sudo /etc/init.d/delayed_job-seek start

The LibreOffice Soffice service

Create the file /etc/init.d/soffice and copy the contents of scripts/soffice into it.

The run:

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/soffice
sudo update-rc.d soffice defaults

start it up with:

sudo /etc/init.d/soffice start