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Deploying an Ember CLI application through SSH

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Want to serve up your Ember CLI application via Nginx/Apache or another web server software? Let’s learn how!

TLDR: I made an Ember-CLI-Deploy adapter for deploying over SSH: ember-deploy-ssh-index


Ember-CLI-Deploy is “an Ember CLI addon for lightning fast deployments of Ember CLI apps”. Using Ember-CLI-Deploy is preferable using to another static asset deployment solution because it caters to the needs of an Ember CLI app.

Last week at EmberConf 2015, Luke Melia announced during his talk that the three big competing Ember-CLI deployment solutions (Ember-Deploy, Front-End-Builds, and Ember-CLI-Deploy) will be merging into a single Ember-CLI-Deploy package based largely on Ember-Deploy. Luke’s talk inspired me to finally look into using Ember-CLI-Deploy for deployment.

Note that whenever you see “Ember-Deploy” post you can now treat this as synonymous with “Ember-CLI-Deploy”.

Why SSH instead of S3?

You can host your entire front-end website on Amazon S3 with ember-deploy-s3-index and ember-deploy-s3. If you use Ember CLI’s default location behavior, your routes will use non-hash URLs on modern browsers (e.g. /resources instead of /#/resources). This means that you need S3 to properly serve up all of your routes (not just the / path).

As an AWS beginner, the easiest solution I found for using S3 for hosting an Ember app with non-hash URLs is to set the 404 page to index.html. This serves up the correct pages but returns a 404 status code for all routes besides the base / URL, which is obviously not ideal.

After failing to find a simple and elegant solution using an S3 bucket for my Ember CLI app’s index.html file, I decided to move it onto my server and serve it through Nginx.

UPDATE: You can use non-hash URLs with S3 without returning 404 status codes. Michael Klein opened a pull request for ember-deploy-s3-index noting how


I went looking for an Ember-CLI-Deploy adapter that would allow my to upload my files to a directory on my web server, but I didn’t find any such adapters.

Inspired by Kerry Gallagher’s blog posts about the making of ember-deploy-s3-index and making Ember-Deploy adapters, I decided to try making my own adapter. My adapter, called ember-deploy-ssh-index, allows deploying your Ember CLI index page to a web server via SSH.

After looking for Node.js-based SSH/SCP/Rsync libraries, I decided to use the ssh2 library (a pure JS SSH implementation) to manage the SSH connections. I looked at the in-progress Ember-CLI-Deploy documentation, and the ember-deploy-s3-index code to determine how my adapter should work.

Following the Ember-CLI-Deploy API, my library includes:

  • an upload function that uploads the current index page to a file named based on the Ember-CLI-Deploy tag (the git hash)
  • a list function that lists the files in the remote directory on the server
  • an activate function that links the index.html file to a given revision file


You can use ember-deploy-ssh-index and ember-deploy-s3 to host your static assets on S3 and your index page through your own web server.

First, install Ember-CLI-Deploy and the adapters into your Ember CLI app:

$ npm install --save-dev ember-cli-deploy ember-deploy-ssh-index ember-deploy-s3

Now make a config/deploy.js file with your SSH and S3 configuration. I prefer to store my AWS credentials and SSH private key filename in environment variables, but a gitignore’d configuration file or Node.js module would work as well.

/* jshint node: true */

module.exports = {
  production: {
    store: {
      type: 'ssh',
      remoteDir: '/var/www/',
      host: '',
      username: 'root',
      privateKeyFile: process.env.SSH_KEY_FILE,
    assets: {
      type: 's3',
      accessKeyId: process.env.AWS_KEY,
      secretAccessKey: process.env.AWS_SECRET,
      bucket: '',
  development: {
    // Add a development configuration here, similar to the production one above

Because we’re storing our static assets at a different base URL from our index page, we’ll need to prepend a base URL to our asset paths. Let’s update our EmberApp definition in our Brocfile.js to reflect that change:

var app = new EmberApp({
  fingerprint: {
    prepend: '',

Now we should be able to upload our application:

$ ember deploy -e production

And activate our current revision (change example to your app name):

$ export tag="example:$(git rev-parse --short HEAD)"
$ ember deploy:activate --revision $tag --environment production

Take a look at the README file for more documentation on the usage of ember-deploy-ssh-index.

Next Steps

ember-deploy-ssh-index is the first Ember CLI-related NPM module I have made. I have only used it to deploy a single website, Free Music Ninja (code here). I have also not yet written any tests for this adapter so it’s probably buggy.

My future plans include:

  1. Write tests. Code without tests is broken by design - Jacob Kaplan Moss
  2. Possibly rename app: ember-deploy-ssh-index to ember-cli-deploy-ssh-index
  3. Support SSH config file (~/.ssh/config)

At this point I am the only person who has worked with this adapter and I would love some feedback! Have an opinion or want to help improve this adapter? Please open an issue, comment below, tweet me, or email me.


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