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Bitnami Spree for Google Cloud Platform


Spree is an e-commerce platform designed for ease of use. It includes support for product variants, inventory management, shipping, multiple payment gateways, and more.

First steps with the Bitnami Spree Stack

Welcome to your new Bitnami application running on Google Cloud Platform! Here are a few questions (and answers!) you might need when first starting with your application.

What credentials do I need?

You need two sets of credentials:

  • The application credentials, consisting of a username and password. These credentials allow you to log in to your new Bitnami application.

  • The server credentials, consisting of an SSH username and key. These credentials allow you to log in to your Google Cloud Platform server using an SSH client and execute commands on the server using the command line.

What is the administrator username set for me to log in to the application for the first time?


What is the administrator password?

What SSH username should I use for secure shell access to my application?

SSH username: bitnami

How do I get my SSH key or password?

What are the default ports?

A port is an endpoint of communication in an operating system that identifies a specific process or a type of service. Bitnami stacks include several services or servers that require a port.

Remember that if you need to open some ports you can follow the instructions given in the FAQ to learn how to open the server ports for remote access.

Port 22 is the default port for SSH connections.

Bitnami opens some ports for the main servers. These are the ports opened by default: 80, 443.

How to start or stop the services?

Each Bitnami stack includes a control script that lets you easily stop, start and restart services. The script is located at /opt/bitnami/ Call it without any service name arguments to start all services:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ start

Or use it to restart a single service, such as Apache only, by passing the service name as argument:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart apache

Use this script to stop all services:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ stop

Restart the services by running the script without any arguments:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart

Obtain a list of available services and operations by running the script without any arguments:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/

How to access the administration panel?

Access the administration panel by browsing to http://SERVER-IP/admin.

How to create a full backup of Spree?


The Bitnami Spree Stack is self-contained and the simplest option for performing a backup is to copy or compress the Bitnami stack installation directory. To do so in a safe manner, you will need to stop all servers, so this method may not be appropriate if you have people accessing the application continuously.

Follow these steps:

  • Change to the directory in which you wish to save your backup:

      $ cd /your/directory
  • Stop all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ stop
  • Create a compressed file with the stack contents:

      $ sudo tar -pczvf application-backup.tar.gz /opt/bitnami
  • Restart all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ start

You should now download or transfer the application-backup.tar.gz file to a safe location.


Follow these steps:

  • Change to the directory containing your backup:

      $ cd /your/directory
  • Stop all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ stop
  • Move the current stack to a different location:

      $ sudo mv /opt/bitnami /tmp/bitnami-backup
  • Uncompress the backup file to the original directoryv

      $ sudo tar -pxzvf application-backup.tar.gz -C /
  • Start all servers:

      $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ start

If you want to create only a database backup, refer to these instructions for MySQL and PostgreSQL.

How to upgrade Spree?

It is strongly recommended to create a backup before starting the update process. If you have important data, create and restore a backup to ensure that everything works properly.

Run the following commands:

$ cd /opt/bitnami
$ cd apps/spree/htdocs
$ gem update spree
$ /opt/bitnami/ restart apache

How to enable HTTPS support with SSL certificates?

NOTE: The steps below assume that you are using a custom domain name and that you have already configured the custom domain name to point to your cloud server.

Bitnami images come with SSL support already pre-configured and with a dummy certificate in place. Although this dummy certificate is fine for testing and development purposes, you will usually want to use a valid SSL certificate for production use. You can either generate this on your own (explained here) or you can purchase one from a commercial certificate authority.

Once you obtain the certificate and certificate key files, you will need to update your server to use them. Follow these steps to activate SSL support:

  • Use the table below to identify the correct locations for your certificate and configuration files.

    Variable Value
    Current application URL https://[custom-domain]/
      Example: or
    Apache configuration file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/bitnami/bitnami.conf
    Certificate file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.crt
    Certificate key file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key
    CA certificate bundle file (if present) /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt
  • Copy your SSL certificate and certificate key file to the specified locations.

    NOTE: If you use different names for your certificate and key files, you should reconfigure the SSLCertificateFile and SSLCertificateKeyFile directives in the corresponding Apache configuration file to reflect the correct file names.
  • If your certificate authority has also provided you with a PEM-encoded Certificate Authority (CA) bundle, you must copy it to the correct location in the previous table. Then, modify the Apache configuration file to include the following line below the SSLCertificateKeyFile directive. Choose the correct directive based on your scenario and Apache version:

    Variable Value
    Apache configuration file /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/bitnami/bitnami.conf
    Directive to include (Apache v2.4.8+) SSLCACertificateFile "/opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt"
    Directive to include (Apache < v2.4.8) SSLCertificateChainFile "/opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server-ca.crt"
    NOTE: If you use a different name for your CA certificate bundle, you should reconfigure the SSLCertificateChainFile or SSLCACertificateFile directives in the corresponding Apache configuration file to reflect the correct file name.
  • Once you have copied all the server certificate files, you may make them readable by the root user only with the following commands:

     $ sudo chown root:root /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*
     $ sudo chmod 600 /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server*
  • Open port 443 in the server firewall. Refer to the FAQ for more information.

  • Restart the Apache server.

You should now be able to access your application using an HTTPS URL.

How to create an SSL certificate?

OpenSSL is required to create an SSL certificate. A certificate request can then be sent to a certificate authority (CA) to get it signed into a certificate, or if you have your own certificate authority, you may sign it yourself, or you can use a self-signed certificate (because you just want a test certificate or because you are setting up your own CA).

Follow the steps below:

  • Generate a new private key:

     $ sudo openssl genrsa -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key 2048
  • Create a certificate:

     $ sudo openssl req -new -key /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/cert.csr
    IMPORTANT: Enter the server domain name when the above command asks for the "Common Name".
  • Send cert.csr to the certificate authority. When the certificate authority completes their checks (and probably received payment from you), they will hand over your new certificate to you.

  • Until the certificate is received, create a temporary self-signed certificate:

     $ sudo openssl x509 -in /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/cert.csr -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.crt -req -signkey /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -days 365
  • Back up your private key in a safe location after generating a password-protected version as follows:

     $ sudo openssl rsa -des3 -in /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key -out privkey.pem

    Note that if you use this encrypted key in the Apache configuration file, it will be necessary to enter the password manually every time Apache starts. Regenerate the key without password protection from this file as follows:

     $ sudo openssl rsa -in privkey.pem -out /opt/bitnami/apache2/conf/server.key

Find more information about certificates at

How to force HTTPS redirection?

Add the following to the top of the /opt/bitnami/apps/spree/conf/httpd-prefix.conf file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^/(.*) https://%{SERVER_NAME}/$1 [R,L]

After modifying the Apache configuration files:

  • Open port 443 in the server firewall. Refer to the FAQ for more information.

  • Restart Apache to apply the changes.

How to debug Apache errors?

Once Apache starts, it will create two log files at /opt/bitnami/apache2/logs/access_log and /opt/bitnami/apache2/logs/error_log respectively.

  • The access_log file is used to track client requests. When a client requests a document from the server, Apache records several parameters associated with the request in this file, such as: the IP address of the client, the document requested, the HTTP status code, and the current time.

  • The error_log file is used to record important events. This file includes error messages, startup messages, and any other significant events in the life cycle of the server. This is the first place to look when you run into a problem when using Apache.

If no error is found, you will see a message similar to:

Syntax OK

How to connect instances hosted in separate virtual networks or VPCs?

The Google Cloud Platform makes it possible to connect instances hosted in separate Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs), even if those instances belong to different projects or are hosted in different regions. This feature, known as VPC Network Peering, can result in better security (as services do not need to be exposed on public IP addresses) and performance (due to use of private, rather than public, networks and IP addresses).

Learn more about VPC Network Peering.

How to find the database credentials?

How to connect to the MySQL database?

You can connect to the MySQL database from the same computer where it is installed with the mysql client tool.

$ mysql -u root -p

You will be prompted to enter the root user password. This is the same as the application password.

How to debug errors in your database?

The main log file is created at /opt/bitnami/mysql/data/mysqld.log on the MySQL database server host.

How to change the MySQL root password?

You can modify the MySQL password using the following command at the shell prompt. Replace the NEW_PASSWORD placeholder with the actual password you wish to set.

$ /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqladmin -p -u root password NEW_PASSWORD

How to reset the MySQL root password?

If you don't remember your MySQL root password, you can follow the steps below to reset it to a new value:

  • Create a file in /home/bitnami/mysql-init with the content shown below (replace NEW_PASSWORD with the password you wish to use):

     UPDATE mysql.user SET Password=PASSWORD('NEW_PASSWORD') WHERE User='root';

    If your stack ships MySQL v5.7.x, use the following content instead of that shown above:

     UPDATE mysql.user SET authentication_string=PASSWORD('NEW_PASSWORD') WHERE User='root';
    TIP: Check the MySQL version with the command /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqladmin --version or /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqld --version.
  • Stop the MySQL server:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ stop mysql
  • Start MySQL with the following command:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/mysql/bin/mysqld_safe --pid-file=/opt/bitnami/mysql/data/ --datadir=/opt/bitnami/mysql/data --init-file=/home/bitnami/mysql-init 2> /dev/null &
  • Restart the MySQL server:

     $ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart mysql
  • Remove the script:

     $ rm /home/bitnami/mysql-init

How to access phpMyAdmin?

For security reasons, phpMyAdmin is accessible only when using as the hostname. To access it from a remote system, you must create an SSH tunnel that routes requests to the Web server from This implies that you must be able to connect to your server over SSH in order to access these applications remotely.

IMPORTANT: Before following the steps below, ensure that your Web and database servers are running.
NOTE: The steps below suggest using port 8888 for the SSH tunnel. If this port is already in use by another application on your local machine, replace it with any other port number greater than 1024 and modify the steps below accordingly. Similarly, if you have enabled Varnish, your stack's Web server might be running on port 81. In this case, modify the steps below to use port 81 instead of port 80 for the tunnel endpoint.

Accessing phpMyAdmin on Windows

Watch the following video to learn how to easily access phpMyAdmin on Windows through an SSH tunnel:

In order to access phpMyAdmin via SSH tunnel you need an SSH client. In the instructions below we have selected PuTTY, a free SSH client for Windows and UNIX platforms. The first step is having PuTTY configured. Please, check how to configure it in the section how to connect to the server through SSH using an SSH client on Windows.

Once you have your SSH client correctly configured and you tested that you can successfully access to your instance via SSH, you need to create an SSH tunnel in order to access phpMyAdmin. For doing so, follow these steps:

  • In the "Connection -> SSH -> Tunnels" section, add a new forwarded port by introducing the following values:

    • Source port: 8888
    • Destination: localhost:80

    This will create a secure tunnel by forwarding a port (the "destination port") on the remote server to a port (the "source port") on the local host ( or localhost).

  • Click the "Add" button to add the secure tunnel configuration to the session. (You'll see the added port in the list of "Forwarded ports").

    PuTTY configuration

  • In the "Session" section, save your changes by clicking the "Save" button.
  • Click the "Open" button to open an SSH session to the server. The SSH session will now include a secure SSH tunnel between the two specified ports.
  • Access the phpMyAdmin console through the secure SSH tunnel you created, by browsing to
  • Log in to phpMyAdmin by using the following credentials:

    • Username: root
    • Password: application password. (Refer to our FAQ to learn how to find your application credentials).

Here is an example of what you should see:

Access phpMyAdmin

If you are unable to access phpMyAdmin, verify that the SSH tunnel was created by checking the PuTTY event log (accessible via the "Event Log" menu):

PuTTY configuration

Accessing phpMyAdmin on Linux and Mac OS X

To access the application using your Web browser, create an SSH tunnel, as described below.

  • Open a new terminal window on your local system (for example, using "Finder -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal" in Mac OS X or the Dash in Ubuntu).
  • Make sure that you have your SSH credentials (.pem key file) in hand.
  • Run the following command to configure the SSH tunnel. Remember to replace KEYFILE with the path to your private key and SERVER-IP with the public IP address or hostname of your server:

       $ ssh -N -L 8888: -i KEYFILE bitnami@SERVER-IP
NOTE: If successful, the above command will create an SSH tunnel but will not display any output on the server console.
  • Access the phpMyAdmin console through the secure SSH tunnel you created, by browsing to
  • Log in to phpMyAdmin by using the following credentials:

    • Username: root
    • Password: application password. (Refer to our FAQ to learn how to find your application credentials).

Here is an example of what you should see:

Access phpMyAdmin

How to modify PHP settings?

The PHP configuration file allows you to configure the modules enabled, the email settings or the size of the upload files. It is located at /opt/bitnami/php/etc/php.ini.

For example, to modify the default upload limit for PHP, update the PHP configuration file following these instructions.

After modifying the PHP configuration file, restart both Apache and PHP-FPM for the changes to take effect:

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart apache
$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart php-fpm

How to modify the allowed limit for uploaded files?

Modify the following options in the /opt/bitnami/php/etc/php.ini file to increase the allowed size for uploads:

; Maximum size of POST data that PHP will accept.
post_max_size = 16M

; Maximum allowed size for uploaded files.
upload_max_filesize = 16M

Restart PHP-FPM and Apache for the changes to take effect.

$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart apache
$ sudo /opt/bitnami/ restart php-fpm    

How to upload files to the server with SFTP?

Although you can use any SFTP/SCP client to transfer files to your server, the link below explains how to configure FileZilla (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X), WinSCP (Windows) and Cyberduck (Mac OS X). It is required to use your server's private SSH key to configure the SFTP client properly. Choose your preferred application and follow the steps in the link below to connect to the server through SFTP.

How to upload files to the server

How to install the sample data in Spree?

The sample data shipped with Spree can be added manually after the Bitnami Spree Stack is installed, if not done automatically. To do this, run the following commands:

$ cd /opt/bitnami
$ cd apps/spree/htdocs
$ rake spree_sample:load
$ rake assets:precompile:all RAILS_ENV=production RAILS_GROUPS=assets
$ /opt/bitnami/ restart apache

How to install the SpreeFancy theme?

SpreeFancy is a theme that can be applied to an existing Spree application. It's intended as a starting point to show how a barebones Spree application can be easily modified to give a nice look and feel. As a special bonus it uses a responsive design so looks good on mobile devices as well as on larger screens.

To apply ths theme to a Bitnami Spree (>= 2.x) installation, follow these steps:

  • Add the following text to the /opt/bitnami/apps/spree/htdocs/Gemfile:

     $ gem 'spree_fancy', :github => 'spree/spree_fancy', :branch => '2-0-stable'
  • Install dependencies:

     $ bundle install --without development test postgres sqlite --binstubs
  • Enable the theme:

     $ yes | bundle exec rails g spree_fancy:install
  • Precompile assets and restart the Apache server:

     $ bin/rake assets:precompile RAILS_RELATIVE_URL_ROOT='/spree'
     $ /opt/bitnami/ restart apache

The SpreeFancy theme should now be installed.