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How to let passenger restart after deployment with capistrano

Phusion Passenger changed the way how it gets restarted several times. Through the project's history, these all were valid:

  • touch tmp/restart.txt
  • sudo passenger-config restart-app /path/to/app
  • passenger-config restart-app /path/to/app

You should not need to know which one to use. Instead, the capistrano-passenger gem will choose the appropriate restart mechanism automatically based on your installed the passenger version.


  1. Add to your Gemfile:

    gem 'capistrano-passenger', require: false
  2. Add to your Capfile:

    require 'capistrano/passenger'
  3. Declare which server role should be restarted (optional). Usually passenger tries to restart all servers with the app role. If you have dedicated Sidekiq servers with the app role, adjust the passenger_roles setting to exclude them.

    set :passenger_roles, :app # This is the default
  4. Remove any homegrown deploy:restart or passenger:restart tasks. The gem will provide both, and hook itself after deploy:publishing automatically.

See the project's readme document for more information.

Important notice

It is possible you get an "error" message like this:

*** ERROR: You are not authorized to query the status for this Phusion Passenger instance. Please try again with 'sudo'.

This happens because your application never ran with the current passenger instance (probably due to no requests to it) and the passenger-config command runs without superuser permissions. This won't stop or break your deploy as the capistrano-passenger gem will execute the passenger-config restart-app with the option --ignore-app-not-running and due to that the command will exit with return code 0. With the next request to your application passenger will start your application based on the code you just deployed.

Your development team has a full backlog of feature requests, chores and refactoring coupled with deadlines? We are familiar with that. With our "DevOps as a Service" offering, we support developer teams with infrastructure and operations expertise.

Owner of this card:

Kim Jahn
Last edit:
about 1 year ago
by Michael Leimstädtner
About this deck:
We are makandra and do test-driven, agile Ruby on Rails software development.
License for source code
Posted by Kim Jahn to makandra dev
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