1. Sign up Vultr.Com and create VPS Ubuntu

2. Install the Dependencies

  1. SSH to the server, or connect with the Vultr web console.
  2. Update all your dependencies.

    $ sudo apt update
  3. Install Node.js

    $ sudo curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_lts.x | sudo -E bash -
    $ sudo apt install -y nodejs nano nginx
  4. Confirm Node.js was installed properly.

    $ node -v

    This command should say something like v14.x.x

  5. Install pm2.

    $ sudo npm i -g pm2
  6. Install python3-certbot-nginx.

    $ sudo apt-get install -y python3-certbot-nginx

3. Project Setup

Clone your project from Github

    • There are a few ways to get your files on to the server, I would suggest using Git

      git clone yourproject.git
    • Install dependencies and test app

      cd yourproject
      npm install
      npm start (or whatever your start command)
      # stop app

Initialize a new project

    1. Install Express.js

      $ mkdir express-website
      $ cd express-website
      $ npm init -y 
      $ npm i express
    2. Create your project's main file.

      $ nano index.js
    3. Paste the following into your editor. Save and exit the file.

      const express = require("express"); // Acquire the express package and assign it to a variable called "express"
      const app = express(); // Calls the method "express()" and assigns it's output to "app". "express()" will create an express app for you.
      app.get("/", (req, res) => { // Creates sort of a listener for when there are "GET" requests to the "/" (root) path. Takes in req (request) and res (response)
          res.send("Hello world!"); // For the response, send a string "Hello World!"
      app.listen(3000, () => { // Tells the app to start on port 3000. This function below is run when
          console.log("Server listening on port 3000!"); // Say in the console "Server listening on port 3000!"
    4. Run your app:

      $ node index.js

      If it works, it reports "Server listening on port 3000!". Type CTRL + C to exit.

4. Setup PM2 process manager to keep your app running

sudo npm i pm2 -g
pm2 start app (or whatever your file name)

# Other pm2 commands
pm2 show app
pm2 status
pm2 restart app
pm2 stop app
pm2 logs (Show log stream)
pm2 flush (Clear logs)

# To make sure app starts when reboot
pm2 startup ubuntu

You should now be able to access your app using your IP and port. Now we want to setup a firewall blocking that port and setup NGINX as a reverse proxy so we can access it directly using port 80 (http)

5. Setup ufw firewall

sudo ufw enable
sudo ufw status
sudo ufw allow ssh (Port 22)
sudo ufw allow http (Port 80)
sudo ufw allow https (Port 443)

6. Nginx Reverse Proxy

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/default

Add the following to the location part of the server block

server {
    listen 80; # Listen on port 80
    listen [::]:80; # Listen on port 80 for ipv6

    server_name yourdomain.com www.yourdomain.com;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:3000; #whatever port your app runs on
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection 'upgrade';
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_cache_bypass $http_upgrade;
# Check NGINX config
sudo nginx -t

# Restart NGINX
sudo service nginx restart

You should now be able to visit your IP with no port (port 80) and see your app. Now let's add a domain

7. Point a Domain Name to Your Vultr VPS

Example: Go to the domain Namecheap.com management, the "Advanced DNS" tab, click Add New Record (red letters), select A record and then enter the following information:

  • Host: Enter the character “@”.
  • Value box: Enter the IP address of the hosting or VPS.

Next, click on the gray tick to save the information to create a new A record.

Point a Domain Name to Your Vultr VPS

Enter all 3 Records as shown… @, *, www and point to ip vps and that's it!

Please ping the domain to check that the domain name has been successfully pointed to the ip vps

8. Add SSL with Let's Encrypt

sudo certbot --nginx -d yourdomain.com -d www.yourdomain.com

# Only valid for 90 days, test the renewal process with
certbot renew --dry-run