DEV Community

Cover image for Learn AWS EC2 by deploying a NodeJS application (P2)
Vinh Le
Vinh Le

Posted on

Learn AWS EC2 by deploying a NodeJS application (P2)

Part 2: Run a NodeJS application on an EC2 instance

In the previous part of this blog, we have learnt to create and SSH to an EC2 instance. In this part, we will setup and run a NodeJS server on it 😎

Let's split the work into 3 smaller tasks. First of all, we need to configure our instance to accept traffics coming to Node server's port. Next, after installing nvm and node, we will clone the source code and get the server running.

Edit Inbound Rules to accept traffic from server port

Let's add another security group for this purpose. This is pretending that our Node server will run on port 3000.

    - !Ref NodeServerGroup
  Type: AWS::EC2::SecurityGroup
    GroupName: NodeServer
    GroupDescription: Allow traffics to instance in port 3000
    - CidrIp:
      FromPort: 80
      IpProtocol: tcp
      ToPort: 3000

Install nvm and node to the instance

First, we need to SSH to the instance:

ssh -i <pem-key-name.pem> ec2-user@<public_ip_v4>

If the instance asks you to run any updates, go ahead and do so:

sudo su
sudo yum update

Next, we need to install nvm in our instance:

curl -o- | bash
. ~/.nvm/

Let's verify if nvm has been successfully installed:

nvm --version

We could then install node:

nvm install node
node -v

Clone Git repository

Let's make a Node Express app and push it to GitHub so that we could clone the source code to our instance. I have made a dead simple one that you might use as a reference: vinhlee95/express-ec2. Keep in mind that you will have to create your own repository to add SSH key generated in EC2 instance to your settings.

Generate a SSH key in EC2 instance

We could do that by this command:


After following the instructions (remember to note down the passphrase), you should have a SSH key in place. Let's get it and add to GitHub settings:

cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa

Your newly generated SSH key will be shown in the Terminal. Copy it and and it in your GitHub SSH settings (Settings -> SSH and GPG keys -> New SSH key).

Clone the source code

After having the SSH key saved, you should be able to clone your application's source code to EC2 instance:

git clone

After it is done, you should see application's code under your current directory:

cloned source code

Install dependencies and run the Node server

Let's first install all of dependencies:

npm install

We will use pm2 - a Node process manager to start our server. Let's install it:

npm install -g pm2
pm2 -v
pm2 start app.js

pm2 start

Our server should be running now 🥂 Let's show server's logs in the terminal:

pm2 log

pm2 log

Cheers! Things are working now. Let's test it by open the instance's public DNS in the browser! You could get the URL in Description section in the bottom of AWS EC2's console. Remember that we need to specify our server's running port in the URL as well.

instance DNS

Congrats! Your instance is running a Node.js server now 😎

Note that you might want to delete CloudFormation stack after done playing around to avoid any extra charge from AWS 😉

Let's sum up what we have done to make it happen:

  • Configure EC2's instance Inbound rules to accept traffic from server port.
  • Install nvm and node in the instance
  • Use Git to clone source code to the instance. In order to do that in the Linux instance, we need to:
    • Generate SSH key in the instance and add it to GitHub settings
    • Install Git and clone the repo
  • Install app's dependencies along with PM2
  • Run the Node.js server

Top comments (2)

thejscode profile image
Jaskirat Grewal

Hi! Great Post. Can you give a tutorial on How to host my Express Application on AWS with custom-domain?

vinhle95 profile image
Vinh Le

Hi! Thanks for reading and I am glad that you like it 😄
I think you could consider AWS Route53 for hosting your Express app in a custom domain.