Deploy a rails app on a shared host [Bluehost]

A few days ago I was trying to deploy a test application on my shared hosting server (
As a beginner on Rais I got stuck, and the Bluehost support team could not help me.

Although I had followed the bluehost guide for deploying rails applications, it didn’t work, but after a few hours of trying different approaches I’ve managed to get it to work, and I was able to deploy a RoR application on bluehost and the use of a server from the ServerMania Amsterdam Data Center was also essential for this.

This “guide” was tested on bluehost, but should work with others hosting providers.


  • SSH access to the server.
  • Have rails support on that server.

1 – Using SSH, create (if not present) a folder called railsapps on you home folder.

cd ~/
mkdir railsApps

2 – Go inside this folder

cd ~/railsApps

3 – Lets create an application called first_rails_application:

rails firstRailsApplication

4 – By now the rails application folder structure is created. Let’s then move to the public folder

cd public

5 – Now it’s time to create the .htaccess file:

nano .htaccess

and paste the following:

# General Apache optionsAddHandler fcgid-script .fcgiAddHandler cgi-script .cgi
RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^$ index.html [QSA]RewriteRule ^([^.]+)$ $1.html [QSA]RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-fRewriteRule ^(.*)$ dispatch.fcgi [QSA,L]
ErrorDocument 500 “
<h2>Application error</h2>
Rails application failed to start properly”

Hit Ctrl+X, Y to save and exit.

5 – Now it is necessary to give execution permission to this file:

chmod 755 .htaccess

6 – It is also necessary to create the dispatch.fcgi file:

nano dispatch.fcgi

and paste the following:

#!/usr/bin/env ruby
require File.dirname(__FILE__) + “/../config/environment”require ‘fcgi_handler’

Hit Ctrl+X, Y to save and quit.

7 – Like .htaccess this file needs executing permission too:

chmod 755 dispatch.fcgi

8 – Now we need to create a symbolic link to this folder, in order to make it available on public_html:

ln -s ~/rails_apps/firstRailsApplication/public ~/public_html/YouApplicationName

9- The last step is to create a subdomain pointing at the symbolic link created above.

If all went well, you have an empty a rails app running on you subdomain.


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