Installing Ruby on Rails and MySQL on Ubuntu

One reason I like Ubuntu, coming from windows, is that it is so much easier setting up a local environment to develop on. It was a breath of fresh air avoiding the extra windows-specific steps to make simple things work. Ruby on Rails is a popular choice to develop web applications and this guide will take you through the installation process on an Ubuntu server or desktop.


This tutorial assumes you have a super user account/access to root. If you’re installing rails on an Ubuntu server, it’s assumed you have a basic configuration your sever done. If haven’t done so already there is an awesome tutorial on Linode.

Let’s go over what we’ll be installing on our Ubuntu 14.04 system.

  • Ruby 2.3.0
  • Rails 4.2
  • MySQL Database
  • Node JS

Note: This tutorial DOES NOT use a Ruby version manager. I don’t have a need for it yet, and chances are if you’re looking up this tutorial you don’t either. We can always add it later if needed.

Installing Ruby

Let’s start by gaining root access and updating out package lists.

sudo -i
apt-get update

Once they’re updated run the following commands to install Ruby 2.1.2 from source:

apt-get install curl zlib1g-dev build-essential libssl-dev libreadline-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev python-software-properties libffi-dev
cd /tmp
tar -xzvf ruby-2.3.0.tar.gz
cd ruby-2.3.0/
make install
ruby -v

If successful the last command will return the version of Ruby currently installed.

Installing Mysql

Most applications need a database, so let’s install MySQL. There’s other options out there like Postgres SQL, or SQLite, but MySQL is what I’m familiar with and probably the most widely used. We’ll install MySQL with apt-get.

Note: The installation will ask you for a root password. For local installations I leave it blank, if this is on a web server it’s recommended you use a secure password.

apt-get install MySQL-server mysql-client libmysqlclient-dev

Now log in to the MySQL command prompt and create a new user. Be sure to edit username and password with your own username and password.

mysql -u root -p
CREATE USER 'username'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON * . * TO 'username'@'localhost';

Installing Rails

Last but not least, Lets install Rails 4.2 on our Ubuntu 14.04 system. Let’s install it using ruby gems by running the following command:

gem install rails

Javascript runtime

In order for a rails app to work we’re are going to need a Javascript runtime. The popular choices are NodeJS and The Ruby Racer Gem. I’ve had nothing but trouble from TheRubyRacer, so I personally recommend that you install NodeJS instead.

curl -sL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Restart your system

To finish everything off restart your computer so all the temporary files will be deleted. Thanks, and happy developing. Any questions, problems, or suggestions, leave a comment below.


  • 12-18-14 - Tutorial has been updated for Ruby version 2.1.5.
  • 03-15-15 - Tutorial has been updated for Ruby version 2.2.1.
  • 02-21-16 - Tutorial has been updated for Ruby version 2.3.0.