How To Deploy NodeJS Apps With PM2 & NGINX In Cluster Mode On Production

How To Deploy NodeJS Apps With PM2 & NGINX In Cluster Mode On Production


4 min read

What is a Process Manager?

Process Manager is a special program designed to effectively manage server processes and take benefit of server resources. It's useful to keep the application online and restart on failure.

Process Manager is also useful for clustering, logging, and monitoring the application. Process Managers make it possible to demonize the application so it will be running in the background as a service.


In this tutorial we assume that you have the following setup:

  • Ubuntu server and a user with root / sudo privileges
  • All the necessary packages installed to run a simple NodeJS App

Which Process Manager?

There are multiple Process Managers available, as listed below but in this tutorial, we will be focusing on PM2.

Why PM2?

Following are the complete features set of PM2

PM2 Features

Install Process Manager:

Use npm to install the pm2 globally so it will available system-wide for use

$ sudo npm i pm2 -g

Now let's start our NodeJS app using the pm2 start command

First, change the directory to our node application directory

$ cd /opt/hello-pm2/
$ pm2 start app.js --name Hello -i 2 --watch

It will also register our app in the process list of PM2, which you can see in the output of the above command

Output of PM2 Start

PM2 as a service:

PM2 will take care of all the applications running under it and will restart automatically if the application is killed or crashed, but what if the system boot or reboots? PM2 has an answer for this, PM2 provides an easy way to start PM2 as a system service in systemd.

The startup command generates and configure a PM2 startup script.

$ pm2 startup

Now to set up the startup script copy/paste the last line from the output or earlier command,

[PM2] Init System found: systemd
[PM2] To setup the Startup Script, copy/paste the following command:
sudo env PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin /usr/lib/node_modules/pm2/bin/pm2 startup systemd -u meswapnilwagh --hp /home/meswapnilwagh

Run the command to setup PM2 to start on boot/reboot

sudo env PATH=$PATH:/usr/bin /usr/lib/node_modules/pm2/bin/pm2 startup systemd -u meswapnilwagh --hp /home/meswapnilwagh

Basic PM2 Commands:

Just like all other command line utilities, PM2 also comes with a bundle of subcommands which are helpful to manage applications running under PM2

Start Application in a cluster

To start an application in cluster mode you can use -i flag and specify the number of instances you want to run you can also use --name flag to name your process.

sudo pm2 start /opt/hello-pm2/app.js --name Hello -i 4

Stop Application

sudo pm2 stop Hello

Restart Application

sudo pm2 restart Hello

List Applications

sudo pm2 list

Monitor Application Process

sudo pm2 monit

For more usage of PM2 please refer PM2 quick start.

NGINX As Reverse Proxy :

Till now we configure PM2 and running our node app in the cluster seems all good, but are you still ready for production? How can you get rid of that port in your URL? The answer to all your question is Nginx (Engine-X).

What is NGINX?

Officially, Nginx is a web server that can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy, and HTTP cache.

The best practice to deploy the NodeJS application in production is by using Nginx as a reverse proxy to route the web client's requests to the appropriate node process.

Install NGINX

Use the following command to install Nginx on Ubuntu

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install nginx

Configure NGINX

Open the nginx default site config file:

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

Now add the below configuration in the file (You can take a backup of the original file for a safer side)

server {
  listen       80;

  location / {
    proxy_pass http://localhost:4000;
    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;

As you can see the nginx listening on and the location / block take care of the incoming request and forwarding to the NodeJS application.

Save the file and restart nginx,

$ sudo service nginx restart

Now open your browser and navigate to, you can see how the node app is being served without using any port in the URL.

Congratulations!! You had successfully deployed the NodeJS app on production using PM2 and Ngnix.

Hope you find this tutorial helpful. Don't forget to share if it really helps you. For any query please DM at Swapnil Wagh