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Deploying to DigitalOcean

This guide will walk you through deploying a simple Hello, world Vapor application to a Droplet. To follow this guide, you will need to have a DigitalOcean account with billing configured.

Create Server

Let's start by installing Swift on a Linux server. Use the create menu to create a new Droplet.

Create Droplet

Under distributions, select Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. The following guide will use this version as an example.

Ubuntu Distro


You may select any Linux distribution with a version that Swift supports. At the time of writing, Swift 5.2.4 supports Ubuntu 16.04, 18.04, 20.04, CentOS 8, and Amazon Linux 2. You can check which operating systems are officially supported on the Swift Releases page.

After selecting the distribution, choose any plan and datacenter region you prefer. Then setup an SSH key to access the server after it is created. Finally, click create Droplet and wait for the new server to spin up.

Once the new server is ready, hover over the Droplet's IP address and click copy.

Droplet List

Initial Setup

Open your terminal and connect to the server as root using SSH.

ssh root@your_server_ip

DigitalOcean has an in-depth guide for initial server setup on Ubuntu 18.04. This guide will quickly cover the basics.

Configure Firewall

Allow OpenSSH through the firewall and enable it.

ufw allow OpenSSH
ufw enable

Add User

Create a new user besides root. This guide calls the new user vapor.

adduser vapor

Allow the newly created user to use sudo.

usermod -aG sudo vapor

Copy the root user's authorized SSH keys to the newly created user. This will allow you to SSH in as the new user.

rsync --archive --chown=vapor:vapor ~/.ssh /home/vapor

Finally, exit the current SSH session and login as the newly created user.

ssh vapor@your_server_ip

Install Swift

Now that you've created a new Ubuntu server and logged in as a non-root user you can install Swift.

Swift Dependencies

Install Swift's required dependencies.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install clang libicu-dev libatomic1 build-essential pkg-config

Download Toolchain

This guide will install Swift 5.2.4. Visit the Swift Releases page for a link to latest release. Copy the download link for Ubuntu 18.04.

Download Swift

Download and decompress the Swift toolchain.

wget https://swift.org/builds/swift-5.2.4-release/ubuntu1804/swift-5.2.4-RELEASE/swift-5.2.4-RELEASE-ubuntu18.04.tar.gz
tar xzf swift-5.2.4-RELEASE-ubuntu18.04.tar.gz


Swift's Using Downloads guide includes information on how to verify downloads using PGP signatures.

Install Toolchain

Move Swift somewhere easy to acess. This guide will use /swift with each compiler version in a subfolder.

sudo mkdir /swift
sudo mv swift-5.2.4-RELEASE-ubuntu18.04 /swift/5.2.4

Add Swift to /usr/bin so it can be executed by vapor and root.

sudo ln -s /swift/5.2.4/usr/bin/swift /usr/bin/swift

Verify that Swift was installed correctly.

swift --version

Setup Project

Now that Swift is installed, let's clone and compile your project. For this example, we'll be using Vapor's API template.

First let's install Vapor's system dependencies.

sudo apt-get install openssl libssl-dev zlib1g-dev libsqlite3-dev

Allow HTTP through the firewall.

sudo ufw allow http

Clone & Build

Now clone the project and build it.

git clone https://github.com/vapor/api-template.git
cd api-template
swift build


If you are building this project for production, use swift build -c release


Once the project has finished compiling, run it on your server's IP at port 80. The IP address is in this example.

sudo .build/debug/Run serve -b

If you used swift build -c release, then you need to run:

sudo .build/release/Run serve -b

Visit your server's IP via browser or local terminal and you should see "It works!".

$ curl
It works!

Back on your server, you should see logs for the test request.

[ NOTICE ] Server starting on
[ INFO ] GET /

Use CTRL+C to quit the server. It may take a second to shutdown.

Congratulations on getting your Vapor app running on a DigitalOcean Droplet!

Next Steps

The rest of this guide points to additional resources to improve your deployment.


Supervisor is a process control system that can run and monitor your Vapor executable. With supervisor setup, your app can automatically start when the server boots and be restarted in case it crashes. Learn more about Supervisor.


Nginx is an extremely fast, battle tested, and easy-to-configure HTTP server and proxy. While Vapor supports directly serving HTTP requests, proxying behind Nginx can provide increased performance, security, and ease-of-use. Learn more about Nginx.