2013-03-23: This is an updated version of a post I wrote a little over a year ago. There have been some security issues with Rails in that time, and some updated versions of nearly all the software involved.

Installing RVM Multi-user on CentOS can be a bit tricky. Here’s my documentation - mostly so I remember, but hopefully it helps someone else as well.

A quick note - the people behind RVM are clear that tutorials outside their siteare not supported. They’re not discouraged, but they won’t support them. Pretty reasonable. These directions worked for me, but you should understand what you’re doing before following directions on the internet.

My install was for Ruby 1.9.3 and Rails 3.2.13 on CentOS 6.4 x86_64 installed on a VMware Fusion virtual machine. As this was for a local devel environment I did a few things I wouldn’t suggest doing on a production or publicly available site. I want to use Apache and a local MySQL instance, so I’ll be installing those as well.

Ok, with that out of the way:

First, as root:

yum update
yum -y groupinstall "Development Tools"`
yum -y install ntp zlib zlib-devel sqlite-devel httpd mysql-server mysql-devel curl-devel httpd-devel apr-devel apr-util-devel mlocate manlibxml2-devel libxslt-devel libffi-devel readline-devel
ntpdate pool.ntp.org
/etc/init.d/ntpd start
chkconfig ntpd on
adduser your_name
passwd your_name
usermod -G wheel your_name

The last step in this section is to run visudo. Uncomment the line

 towards the bottom of the file.

Now logout and log back in as your_name.

sudo curl https://raw.github.com/wayneeseguin/rvm/master/binscripts/rvm-installer | bash -s stable
 Now back to root and run

usermod -G wheel,rvm your_name
 and log back out.

Now we’re getting somewhere. RVM is installed and we’re about ready to install ruby. Let’s do a couple of sanity checks first.

Log in as your_name.

As a multi-site install RVM should have been installed to /usr/local/rvm. Let’s do some sanity checks.

which rvm
 should return


type rvm |head -1
 should return

rvm is a function

OK, we’ve successfully installed RVM. Now let’s install Ruby. We’ll include an openssl directive so we can install Passenger in a bit. Still as your_name:

Quick note - we’re using 1.9.3 even though 2.0 is available and stable. This is because Passenger stable can not yet use 2.0. Passenger 4.0 can, but is still beta.

rvm install 1.9.3 --with-openssl-dir=/usr

Now let’s set the default version:

rvm use 1.9.3 --default

And finally:

gem install rake rails

Now rake and rails are installed. Let’s install passenger (and a gem for database connectivity).

gem install mysql2 passenger

OK, now to set up passenger for Apache:

rvmsudo passenger-install-apache2-module

Pay attention to the paths that the install script gives you at the end. Copy them to a text file somewhere - we’ll need them in a bit.

Now let’s configure Apache.

I like the way Ubuntu lays out the Apache config - especially virtual hosts - so we’ll mimic that here.

sudo mkdir /etc/httpd/sites-available
sudo mkdir /etc/httpd/sites-enabled

We’ll also need a few virtual host specific folders:

sudo mkdir /var/www/application_name
sudo mkdir /var/log/httpd/application_name

Now that our folder layout is set, let’s get to the actual configuration files:

First up, passenger. Let’s create a passenger.conf file and paste in the paths we saved previously:

sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/passenger.conf

and populate:

LoadModule passenger_module /usr/local/rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.3-p392/gems/passenger-3.0.19/ext/apache2/mod_passenger.so
PassengerRoot /usr/local/rvm/gems/ruby-1.9.3-p392/gems/passenger-3.0.19
PassengerRuby /usr/local/rvm/wrappers/ruby-1.9.3-p392/ruby

Save the file. This will load the passenger module when Apache starts.

Next let’s set up the virtual hosts:

sudo vi /etc/httpd/sites-available/application_name.conf

      ServerAdmin youremail@example.com DocumentRoot /var/www/application_name/public
      ServerName yourservername
      ErrorLog /var/log/httpd/application_name/error.log
      CustomLog /var/log/httpd/application_name/access.log common

It’s important to note we’re pointing the DocumentRoot to /public of your application.

Now let’s tell Apache where to look for the virtual host definitions:

sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Towards the bottom add:

Include sites-enabled/*.conf

Save the file.

Two more steps and we’re there.

First link the virtual host definition to sites-enabled

sudo ln -s /etc/httpd/sites-available/application_name.conf /etc/httpd/sites-enabled/application_name.conf

Second, we need to suspend SELinux:

sudo setenforce 0

I would absouletly, positively run SELinux on a publicly facing website. Spend some time to learn to configure it - it’s not nearly as scary as it looks at first.

Go ahead and deploy your application to /var/www/application_name. Finally, start apache to make sure it runs sudo service httpd start.

That’s it. You should be able to visit your site at http://yourservername.