Flynn + DigitalOcean

Configure a platform for running apps in seconds on your own servers using Flynn


I’ve written several toy apps over the years, created in Rails, Sinatra, Laravel, and, most recently, Phoenix + Elixir. Though I think it’s a great exercise getting your app running on a production server somewhere, for apps like mine which are, in most cases, prototypes or portfolio examples, something like Flynn might be more up your alley.

Flynn is an open source Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for running applications in production (similar to Heroku, but on a server of your choice). Out of the box, it supports:

  • Different buildpacks, which means all of my above applications are supported.
  • Routes and load balances traffic for each app on the platform
  • Includes built-in support for Postgres, MySQL and MongoDB

Perhaps my favorite feature, though, is Flynn’s cloud installation. After installing Flynn, run flynn install on your local machine, and your browser will fire up with steps to install via either Amazon AWS, DigitalOcean, Microsoft Azure or SSH. Since I run my portfolio apps on DigitalOcean, the only thing necessary for me to do was:

  1. Select DigitalOcean from the first step
  2. Add credentials, which includes generating an API key from DigitalOcean
  3. Install

From there, you’re taken to a dashboard containing a barebones Flynn install on a newly provisioned DigitalOcean server. But the coolness doesn’t end there; After connecting your GitHub account to this new Flynn installation, you’re able to one-click spin up any applications that happen to follow 12 factor app guidelines.

After discovering Flynn, I went from nothing to a host of apps running in separate processes on a machine provisioned on DigitalOcean in literal minutes!

Though my example was just for portfolio apps, Flynn is far more than just a prototyping tool—it can fully replace Heroku, providing both horizontal and vertical scalabiltiy quickly through their web interface. Give it a try!