Saturday, February 26, 2011

node.js hosting in Amazon EC2

node.js has rapid growth and there are so many hosting services available. Ryan maintains a long list of providers on github already and new ones like NodeFu keeps coming out every day. I have personally tried two managed hosting services duostack and JSApp.US, both are very easy to set up and use. The only drawback is that they pose limitations on installed modules, etc.

Amazon is offering 1 year free trial for its cloud services, so called "AWS Free Usage Tier". I decided to give it a try and set up an EC2 instance for node.js.

The whole process is not quite user friendly (not as friendly as the shopping experience on Amazon). There are quite several choices for the image to choose. My first attempt with a SuSE 64bit image also got permission issues when I install gcc somehow. Finally, from the Web search results, I found Mike Leach's step-by-step guide "Installing node.js on Amazon EC2", which is really helpful. Jim Smith's blog post added a nginx as the front end, a nice addition since node.js is not multi-threading out of box.

Some minor differences when I followed Mike's steps:
  • instead of ssh to the vm using ec2-user@ec2-public-dns, I had to use ec2-user@<address you can find in AWS management console by right clicking on the instance and then clicking connect>, note that the instructions there told you to ssh as root@<address>, but it did not work for me, saying I had to use ec2-user@
  • instead of --without-ssl option to ./configure, I added openssl and openssl-devel
  • I did node and npm installation using the "" script from this gist mentioned in the Joyeur post "Installing Node and npm"