Moving To Scaleway (From Any NodeJS PaaS)

• server, and dokku

Or, really, any PaaS, but my examples will use JS.

There are a lot of NodeJS PaaS’ that I’ve worked with previously - I really wanted to take the headache out of managing my own infrastructure. They provide headaches of their own, though. What if:

Sure, you can contact support and hope it gets fixed. And to their credit, some of these providers have fantastic and nearly immediate support. But after you put up with these issues periodically for a while, you get fed up. I got fed up.

A few months ago, someone put a bug in my ear for Scaleway. I dismissed it because I didn’t want to manage my own infrastructure. Nevertheless, I kept my ears open at projects like Dokku for when things would inevitably get out of control. Today, I decided to take a leap and finally move away from my provider and host my project myself. It only took an hour.

Before I talk about how I did it, let me give you a table comparing specs that shows why Scaleway was such a good choice (I wanted LetsEncrypt support, and MongoDB was a bonus):

Provider Cost (per month) CPU RAM LetsEncrypt Included MongoDB
Scaleway €2.99 2 CPU 2GB RAM no no
Scaleway €11.99 4 CPU 8GB RAM no no
Heroku $7 / Dyno (Hobby) ??? 512MB RAM no no
Heroku $25 / Dyno (Standard) ??? 512MB RAM no no
Clever Cloud €4.50 1 CPU 256MB RAM no no
Clever Cloud €14.40 1 CPU 1GB RAM no no
evennode €6 ??? 512MB RAM yes yes
evennode €13 ??? 768MB RAM yes yes

I mean, from this, I was willing to accept lower performance to have an included MongoDB and have LetsEncrypt taken care of. It made sense in my mind. However, looking strictly at the numbers, Scaleways lowest tier provides an immense amount of value.

So, lets talk about how easy it was to get my project off of a provider, and onto Dokku.

After purchasing a Scaleway server, you can create a server and spec it out however you want. For me, the defaults were more than sufficient, and I ended up going with a tier inbetween the one I posted above (4 cores, 4GB RAM), so I named my server and within a minute or two it was ready. You’ll want to be familiar with the command line, and ideally have an SSH key ready to give to Scaleway so you can actually get into your server, too.

Once you’re into your server, it’s time to set up Dokku. It’s two commands:

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dokku/dokku/v0.10.5/bootstrap.sh
sudo DOKKU_TAG=v0.10.5 bash bootstrap.sh

Easy peasy. After it’s done, head over to the IP for your server and click confirm to finish setup.

Next, lets add your project. Mine is called landoftherair and I have a server for it at server.rair.land, so keep that in mind when you see these commands:

dokku apps:create landoftherair
dokku config:set landoftherair MONGODB_URI mongodb://myserver.mlab.com # Hosted on mLab
dokku config:set landoftherair ... # the rest of your environment variables

Now lets get the app running. What I did next was went into my Google Domains DNS panel and created an A record pointing to my server IP for server (this ultimately makes server.rair.land point to my scaleway server).

Next, I went into my project and created a dokku remote, pushed to it, and let it deploy the app:

git remote add dokku dokku@server.rair.land:landoftherair
git push dokku master

Afterwards, I set up LetsEncrypt with a few more commands:

sudo dokku plugin:install https://github.com/dokku/dokku-letsencrypt.git
dokku config:set --no-restart landoftherair DOKKU_LETSENCRYPT_EMAIL=kyle@seiyria.com
dokku domains:add landoftherair server.rair.land
dokku letsencrypt landoftherair
dokku letsencrypt:cron-job --add

And that’s it. Now my project is running on a custom server running Dokku, with a renewable LetsEncrypt SSL cert.

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