Ruby & Ruby on Rails

HelioHost is one of the few free web hosts to offer the Ruby programming language. A combination of Perl's syntax and Smalltalk's semantics, Ruby is a recent language that is growing in popularity. Ruby's compatibility with multiple programming paradigms allows it great versatility and makes it an easy language to learn for existing developers. One of HelioHost's unique offerings is the ability of each user to configure their own Ruby extensions (known as Ruby Gems) from their control panel.

We also offer the powerful Ruby on Rails web application framework. This framework contains all the essentials for building a web application, and greatly simplifies the task by providing libraries tailored to do almost any task. By utilizing the Model-View-Controller architectural pattern, Rails effectively separates different aspects of your web application, allowing for modular design and extensibility.

Ruby on Rails is only available on our Johnny server, so if you want to use it you'll have to create your account on Johnny not Stevie during server selection.

Ruby on Rails

Ruby 1.8.7
Ruby on Rails 2.3.18

Libraries, extensions, and configuration options


  • Ruby Gems
    HelioHost allows every user to install their own Ruby Gems (Ruby code libraries) to use with Ruby on their accounts.
  • Complete Ruby on Rails
    We offer the complete Ruby on Rails installation, including the following Ruby Gems: rails, actionmailer, actionpack, activerecord, activeresource, and activesupport.
  • MySQL
    HelioHost offers the MySQL library for Ruby. This library allows interfacing between the MySQL database server and Ruby/Ruby on Rails applications.
  • PostgreSQL
    HelioHost offers the PostgreSQL library for Ruby. This library allows interfacing between the PostgreSQL database server and Ruby/Ruby on Rails applications.
  • Rake
    Rake is Ruby's equivalent of GNU Make. Rakefiles gets rid of a lot of the complex syntax in standard Makefiles, and redesign the important directives in Ruby syntax.
  • Ruby daemons
    Ruby daemons allow a Ruby application to run in the background. They also enable management of the application, enabled a coder to turn their application on or off programatically. This feature is employed by most Ruby on Rails applications.
  • Need shell? Try Bluehost.
  • Ruby fastthread
    The Ruby fastthread extension enables threading. Being based on the C programming language, fastthread offers significant performance improvements over Ruby's standard thread.rb library.


  • Shell access
    We don't offer shell (command line) access to our users. Many Ruby/Rails tutorials and installation instructions assume that users have command line access, which may make working with Ruby more difficult. Most people tend to develop on their home computer and then upload to their web server, which almost negates the need for this feature. Furthermore, most configuration done through the command line can be done through other methods, such as FTP and manual file editing.
  • More than 4 simultaneous Rails applications
    Because of the load Ruby on Rails application put on our server, we limit each user to a maximum of four applications. This shouldn't be a problem, as Rails applications are very modular and can contain an entire website.
How do I use Ruby/Rails?
If you're looking to learn Ruby/Rails, we recommend this tutorial. If you really get into it, you can purchase a full book on PDF from the link provided. Ruby scripts are easy to configure and run. Just create a file in your cgi-bin directory under public_html, and place the Ruby "shebang" line (#!/usr/bin/ruby) on the first line of the file. Below this line you may write Ruby code. Make sure you make this file's CHMOD permissions 755, and output a Content-type header before anything else.

Ruby on Rails applications are significantly harder to configure. This has to do with the fact that each Rails application runs in its own server process, and so must be configured before being accessible. Follow the directions below to get your Ruby on Rails application working.
  • Create a new Ruby on Rails application on your development computer.
  • Follow this article to deploy your Ruby on Rails application on HelioHost.
Please disregard the instructions provided on the application's default index page, as you cannot perform these steps without shell access. Actually, because of such limitations most people who use our hosting with Ruby on Rails tend to develop at home with a tool such as the Aptana Studio, and then install their applications to HelioHost later. Either way, using an IDE to develop your Rails application will usually be much easier than manually editing your Ruby files with a text editor.

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