Deprecation Warning
Distillery is now considered DEPRECATED. The official notice is on Distillery’s github page.

Gigalixir is recommending users move to Elixir Releases.

For an example app that uses Distillery and works on Gigalixir, please see

Install Distillery to Build Releases

To install Distillery to build releases, you’ll need to add something similar to this to the deps list in mix.exs

{:distillery, "~> 2.1"}

If you are running Elixir 1.9, then you must use Distillery 2.1 or greater. Elixir 1.9 and Distillery below 2.1 both use mix release and Elixir’s always takes precedence. Distillery 2.1 renames the task to mix distillery.release.

Then, run:

mix deps.get
mix distillery.init

(If you are running distillery below version 2.1, you’ll want to run mix release.init instead.)

Don’t forget to commit:

git add mix.exs mix.lock rel/
git commit -m 'install distillery'

Configuration and Secrets

Add something like the following in prod.exs

config :gigalixir_getting_started, GigalixirGettingStartedWeb.Endpoint,
  server: true, # Without this line, your app will not start the web server!
  load_from_system_env: true, # Needed for Phoenix 1.3. Doesn't hurt for other versions
  http: [port: {:system, "PORT"}], # Needed for Phoenix 1.2 and 1.4. Doesn't hurt for 1.3.
  secret_key_base: "${SECRET_KEY_BASE}",
  url: [host: "${APP_NAME}", port: 443],
  cache_static_manifest: "priv/static/cache_manifest.json",
  version: Mix.Project.config[:version] # To bust cache during hot upgrades

config :gigalixir_getting_started, GigalixirGettingStarted.Repo,
  adapter: Ecto.Adapters.Postgres,
  url: "${DATABASE_URL}",
  database: "", # Works around a bug in older versions of ecto. Doesn't hurt for other versions.
  ssl: true,
  pool_size: 2 # Free tier db only allows 4 connections. Rolling deploys need pool_size*(n+1) connections where n is the number of app replicas.

server: true is very important and is commonly left out. Make sure you have this line included.

  1. Replace :gigalixir_getting_started with your app name e.g. :my_app
  2. Replace GigalixirGettingStartedWeb.Endpoint with your endpoint module name. You can find your endpoint module name by running something like:

     grep -R "defmodule.*Endpoint" lib/

    Phoenix 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4 give different names, so this is a common source of errors.

  3. Replace GigalixirGettingStarted.Repo with your repo module name e.g. MyApp.Repo

You don’t have to worry about setting your SECRET_KEY_BASE config because we generate one and set it for you. However, if you don’t use a Gigalixir managed postgres database, you’ll have to set the DATABASE_URL yourself.


Let’s make sure everything works.

First, try building static assets:

mix deps.get
cd assets
npm install
npm run deploy
cd ..
mix phx.digest

and building a Distillery release locally:

SECRET_KEY_BASE="$(mix phx.gen.secret)" MIX_ENV=prod DATABASE_URL="postgresql://user:pass@localhost:5432/foo" mix distillery.release --env=prod
# if you are running distillery below 2.1, you'll want to run this instead: MIX_ENV=prod mix release --env=prod

and running it locally:

MIX_ENV=prod APP_NAME=gigalixir_getting_started SECRET_KEY_BASE="$(mix phx.gen.secret)" DATABASE_URL="postgresql://user:pass@localhost:5432/foo" MY_COOKIE=secret REPLACE_OS_VARS=true MY_NODE_NAME=foo@ PORT=4000 _build/prod/rel/gigalixir_getting_started/bin/gigalixir_getting_started foreground

Don’t forget to replace gigalixir_getting_started with your own app name. Also, change/add the environment variables as needed.

Commit the changes:

git add config/prod.exs assets/package-lock.json
git commit -m 'distillery configuration'

Check it out to see if it works:

curl localhost:4000

If that didn’t work, the first place to check is prod.exs. Make sure you have server: true somewhere and there are no typos.

Also check out troubleshooting.

If it still doesn’t work, don’t hesitate to contact our Support.

If everything works, continue on to Set Up App for Deploys.

Specify Buildpacks (optional)

We rely on buildpacks to compile and build your release.

We auto-detect a variety of buildpacks so you probably don’t need this, however, if you want to specify your own buildpacks, then create a .buildpacks file with the buildpacks you want.

For example,

gigalixir-buildpack-phoenix-static is optional if you do not have Phoenix static assets.

For more information about buildpacks, see the Life of a Deploy.

Note, that the command that gets run in production depends on your last buildpack.

  • If the last buildpack is gigalixir-buildpack-distillery, then the command run will be /app/bin/foo foreground.
  • If the last buildpack is gigalixir-buildpack-phoenix-static, then the command run will be mix phx.server.
  • If the last buildpack is heroku-buildpack-elixir, then the command run will be mix run --no-halt.

If your command is mix run --no-halt, but you are running Phoenix (just not the assets pipeline), make sure you set server: true in prod.exs.

Set Up Node Clustering with Libcluster (optional)

If you want to cluster nodes, you should install libcluster.

For more information about installing libcluster, see Clustering your Nodes.

Set Up Hot Upgrades with Git v2.9.0

To run hot upgrades, you send an extra http header when running git push gigalixir.

Extra HTTP headers are only supported in git 2.9.0 and above so make sure you upgrade if needed.

For information on how to install the latest version of git on Ubuntu, see this StackOverflow question.

For information on running hot upgrades, see Hot Upgrade and Life of a Hot Upgrade.