Compute Engine Google Cloud

How To Install Node.js on Google Cloud with Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx – HTTPS

How To Install Node.js on Google Cloud with Ubuntu 18.04, Nginx

Node.js is a JavaScript platform for programming that allows users to build network applications quickly.

In this guide, you will learn how to setup a production Node.js environment on Google Cloud with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Nginx and HTTPS.

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Prerequisites

  1. Your Compute Engine Instance running, see the Setting up Compute Engine Instance.
  2. Domain name is pointed to your virtual machine.
  3. For setting up Cloud DNS, see the Setting up Google Cloud DNS for your domain.

Install Node.js

You can install the latest LTS release of Node.js

curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_10.x | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt install -y nodejs

Once the installation is complete you can check the node.js version and npm version using the following commands

node -v
npm -v

Some packages requires compiling from source so you need to install the build-essential package.

sudo apt install build-essential

Create a Node.js Application

Now you can create a demo Node.js app

cd ~/
sudo nano server.js

Insert the following code into the file

const http = require('http');
const hostname = 'localhost';
const port = 3000;

const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
    res.statusCode = 200;
    res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
    res.end('Welcome to Node.js!\n');
});

server.listen(port, hostname, () => {
    console.log(`Server running at http://${hostname}:${port}/`);
});

Save the file and exit.

Install Process Manager

sudo npm install [email protected] -g

Now you can start your app using the process manager

pm2 start server.js

Now your Node.js application is running in the background

Install and Set up Nginx

sudo apt install nginx

Remove default configurations

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-available/default
sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

Create new Nginx configuration

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourdomainname.com

Paste the following

server {
listen [::]:80;
listen 80;

server_name yourdomainname.com www.yourdomainname.com;

location / {
proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
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;
}

Save and exit the file

Enable your configuration by creating a symbolic link

sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/yourdomainname.com /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/yourdomainname.com

Check your Nginx configuration and restart Nginx

sudo nginx -t
sudo service nginx restart

Now you can visit your domain name in browser, you should view the output of your server.js (Welcome to Node.js!)

Create SSL certificate and enable HTTP/2

HTTPS
HTTPS is a protocol for secure communication between a server (instance) and a client (web browser). Due to the introduction of Let’s Encrypt, which provides free SSL certificates, HTTPS are adopted by everyone and also provides trust to your audiences.

HTTP/2
HTTP/2 is the latest version of the HTTP protocol and can provide a significant improvement to the load time of your sites. There really is no reason not to enable HTTP/2, the only requirement is that the site must use HTTPS.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-nginx

Now we have installed Certbot by Let’s Encrypt for Ubuntu 18.04, run this command to receive your certificates.

sudo certbot --nginx certonly

Enter your email and agree to the terms and conditions, then you will receive the list of domains you need to generate SSL certificate.

To select all domains simply hit Enter

The Certbot client will automatically generate the new certificate for your domain. Now we need to update the Nginx config.

Redirect HTTP Traffic to HTTPS with www in Nginx

Open your site’s Nginx configuration file add replace everything with the following. Replacing the file path with the one you received when obtaining the SSL certificate. The ssl_certificate directive should point to your fullchain.pem file, and the ssl_certificate_key directive should point to your privkey.pem file.

 
server {
listen [::]:80;
listen 80;

server_name yourdomainname.com www.yourdomainname.com;

return 301 https://yourdomainname.com$request_uri;
}

server {
listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
listen 443 ssl http2;

server_name www.yourdomainname.com;

ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomainname.com/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomainname.com/privkey.pem;

return 301 https://yourdomainname.com$request_uri;
}

server {
listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
listen 443 ssl http2;

server_name yourdomainname.com;

ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomainname.com/fullchain.pem;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/yourdomainname.com/privkey.pem;

location / {
proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
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;

add_header Content-Security-Policy "img-src * 'self' data: blob: https:; default-src 'self' https://*.googleapis.com https://*.googletagmanager.com https://*.google-analytics.com https://s.ytimg.com https://www.youtube.com https://yourdomainname.com https://*.googleapis.com https://*.gstatic.com https://*.w.org data: 'unsafe-inline' 'unsafe-eval';" always;
add_header X-Xss-Protection "1; mode=block" always;
add_header X-Frame-Options "SAMEORIGIN" always;
add_header X-Content-Type-Options "nosniff" always;
add_header Access-Control-Allow-Origin "https://yourdomainname.com";
add_header Referrer-Policy "origin-when-cross-origin" always;
add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains; preload";
}
}

The http2 value is all that is needed to enable the HTTP/2 protocol.

Now you have enabled SSL Hardening, created a Content Security Policy, X-XSS-Protection, Clickjacking, MIME Sniffing, Referrer Policy, Access Control Allow Origin.

These are some Nginx security tweaks by closing all areas of attacks.

Hit CTRL+X followed by Y to save the changes.

Check your configuration and restart Nginx for the changes to take effect.

sudo nginx -t
sudo service nginx restart

Renewing SSL Certificate

Certificates provided by Let’s Encrypt are valid for 90 days only, so you need to renew them often. Now you set up a cronjob to check for the certificate which is due to expire in next 30 days and renew it automatically.

sudo crontab -e

Add this line at the end of the file

0 0,12 * * * certbot renew >/dev/null 2>&1

Hit CTRL+X followed by Y to save the changes.

This cronjob will attempt to check for renewing the certificate twice daily.

Now you have installed a production environment of Node.js on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Nginx and HTTPS on Google Compute Engine

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1 Comment

  1. Lennert Van Sever Reply

    Thanks a lot for the tutorial, it helped me out.
    Just one remark, the following snippet is missing a closing curly brace at the end:

    server {
    listen [::]:80;
    listen 80;

    server_name yourdomainname.com http://www.yourdomainname.com;

    location / {
    proxy_pass http://localhost:3000;
    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;
    }

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