Setting up small ec2 Caddy production server for NodeJS


  • posix (ubuntu) based
  • SSL enabled for https
  • autostart after reboot
  • easy setup
  • system log files

Server setup

Our production server is going to be Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS 64-bit installed on AWS EC2 instance.

We will need git, gcc compilers, node and updated npm. You can install all of it by running below command or copy script content and paste it into the terminal.

curl -L | bash

Ubuntu is an arbitrary choice. If you using different system make sure you have all mentioned packages installed before proceeding.

Caddy user

Again, quite arbitrary but it might be good idea to have a system user with access to run web-server. In example we will create system user caddy used to start, stop our web-server.

# add user without password and not interactive
sudo adduser --disabled-password --gecos "" caddy

Installing Caddy web server

We are downloading and unpacking caddy into caddy user folder.

sudo mkdir -p /home/caddy/bin
cd /home/caddy/bin
sudo wget
sudo tar -xvf caddy_linux_amd64.tar.gz
sudo chown -R caddy ../bin
sudo chgrp -R caddy ../bin

You can get latest release version from caddy releases page.

Binding to port 80

Set permissions to bind to ports 80 and 443 as described in Binding to ports 80 and 443 section in the official caddy docs

sudo setcap cap_net_bind_service=+ep /home/caddy/bin/caddy

Testing Caddy with Caddyfile config

Lets log in as caddy user

# log in as caddy
sudo su caddy
# create test directory
mkdir -p ~/www/

Caddy comes with number of directives that enable various behaviors. Check for more details.

For now lets try super simple configuration with example index.html file.

# create test index file
echo 'it is working' >  ~/www/index.html
# configure caddy
echo 'localhost:80' >  ~/Caddyfile
# run server
~/bin/caddy -conf="/home/caddy/Caddyfile" -agree

From another terminal run curl localhost. You should see:

it is working

Auto starting after reboot

We will use upstart config file saved into /etc/init/caddy.conf. Create the file as sudo user and paste into it bellow content.

description "Caddy Server startup script"

start on runlevel [2345]
stop on runlevel [016]

setuid caddy
setgid caddy

respawn limit 10 5

limit nofile 4096 4096

    cd /home/caddy/
    bin/caddy -conf="/home/caddy/Caddyfile" -agree
end script

Note: To make it work you also have to edit Cadyfile, specifying setting root directive to folder root, eg:

localhost:80 {
  root  /home/caddy/www

Known issues

Registration rate limiting error

Found in /var/log/upstart/caddy.log

Error creating new registration :: Too many registrations from this IP


We're looking into this; it appears to mostly affect IPv6 clients. We're going to adjust some limits -- and drop from 1 week to 1 day windows -- on our side and I'll post back.

As discussed on caddy github discussion solution is to temporarily disable IPv6.

sudo sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=1

Issue your Let's Encrypt certificate, and re-enable IPv6 with:

sudo sysctl -w net.ipv6.conf.all.disable_ipv6=0

Certificate expired

For some reason Caddy server doesn't always auto-refresh certificates. The best way to deal with the problem is to manually revoke certificate.

  1. Stop caddy service
sudo service caddy stop
  1. Tail logs for prseview of the progress
sudo tail /var/log/upstart/caddy.log -f
  1. Revoke certificates
caddy -revoke=""
  1. Start caddy server
sudo service start

Useful tools


Here are links to resources used in the guide.


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