Docs header transparent bg

How to deploy bundled applications

Before deploying an app that uses Bundler, Add your Gemfile and Gemfile.lock to source control, but ignore the .bundle folder, which is specific to each machine.
$ echo ".bundle" >> .gitignore
$ git add Gemfile Gemfile.lock .gitignore
$ git commit -m "Add Bundler support"
Once you have done that, there are two ways to deploy using Bundler: manually or automatically.

Manual deployment

In your deploy script, after updating to the latest code, install your bundle to the vendor/bundle directory, ensuring all your dependencies are met.
$ bundle install --deployment

Start your application servers as usual, and your application will use your bundled environment with the exact same gems you use in development.

If you have run bundle package, the cached gems will be used automatically.

Learn More: Packing

Automatic deployment with Capistrano

To pull in the Bundler Cap task, just add this to your deploy.rb file:
require 'bundler/capistrano'
That's it! Running cap deploy will now automatically run bundle install on the remote server with deployment-friendly options. A list of options that can be changed is available in the help for the cap task. To see it, run cap -e bundle:install.

Automatic deployment with Vlad

There is a default Vlad task available. To make it available, add this line to the Vlad deploy.rb.
require 'bundler/vlad'
Once you have done that, the vlad:bundle:install task will be available for use. Make sure it is run as part of your deploy. For example:
task "vlad:deploy" => %w[
  vlad:update vlad:bundle:install vlad:start_app vlad:cleanup

After deploying

Make sure to use bundle exec to run any executables from gems in the bundle
$ bundle exec rake db:setup
Alternatively, you can use the --binstubs option on the install command to generate executable binaries that can be used instead of bundle exec.
Learn More: Executables


When you deploy to Heroku, Bundler will be run automatically as long as a Gemfile is present. If you check in your Gemfile.lock, Heroku will run `bundle install --deployment`. If you want to exclude certain groups using the --without option, you need to use `heroku config`.
$ heroku config:set BUNDLE_WITHOUT="test development" --app app_name
Heroku Bundler Documentation

Deploying Your Application

When you run bundle install, bundler will (by default), install your gems to your system repository of gems. This means that they will show up in gem list. Additionally, if you are developing a number of applications, you will not need to download and install gems in common for each application. This is nice for development, but somewhat problematic for deployment.

In a deployment scenario, the Unix user you deploy with may not have access to install gems to a system location. Even if the user does (or you use sudo), the user that boots the application may not have access to them. For instance, Passenger runs its Ruby subprocesses with the user nobody, a somewhat restricted user. The tradeoffs in a deployment environment lean more heavily in favor of isolation (even at the cost of a somewhat slower deploy-time bundle install when some third-party dependencies have changed).

As a result, bundler comes with a --deployment flag that encapsulates the best practices for using bundler in a deployment environment. These practices are based on significant feedback we have received during the development of bundler, as well as a number of bug reports that mostly reflected a misunderstanding of how to best configure bundler for deployment. The --deployment flags adds the following defaults:

  • Instead of installing gems to the system location, bundler will install gems to vendor/bundle inside your application. Bundler will transparently remember this location when you invoke it inside your application (with Bundler.setup and Bundler.require).
  • Bundler will not use gems already installed to your system, even if they exist.
  • If you have run bundle pack, checked in the vendor/cache directory, and do not have any git gems, Bundler will not contact the internet while installing your bundle.
  • Bundler will require a Gemfile.lock snapshot, and fail if you did not provide one.
  • Bundler will not transparently update your Gemfile.lock if it is out of date with your Gemfile

If you use Capistrano, you should symlink vendor/bundle to shared/vendor_bundle so that bundler will share your installed gems between deployments (making things zippy if you didn't make any changes), but still give you the benefits of isolation from other applications.

By defaulting the bundle directory to vendor/bundle, and installing your bundle as part of your deployment process, you can be sure that the same Unix user that checked out your application also installed the third-party code your application needs. This means that if Passenger (or Unicorn) can see your application, it can also see its dependencies.

The --deployment flag requires an up-to-date Gemfile.lock to ensure that the testing you have done (in development and staging) actually reflects the code you put into production. You can run bundle check before deploying your application to make sure that your Gemfile.lock is up-to-date. Note that it will always be up-to-date if you have run bundle install, successfully booted your application (or run your tests) since the last time you changed your Gemfile.

Edit this document on GitHub if you caught an error or noticed something was missing.