Deploying with IHP Cloud

The fastest way to share your app with the internet is by using IHP Cloud. We recommend following this approach as it’s the most simple to get started with.

Account Setup

Register a new IHP Cloud account for free at or sign in.

Creating the Project

Once you’re logged in to IHP Cloud, follow the instructions to create a project for your application.

Private Git Repositories: When you connect a private git repository make sure to provide an SSH git clone URL. IHP Cloud will provide you with an SSH public key. You need to add this deploy key to your repository.

On GitHub, you can do this by opening the repository settings and clicking on Deploy keys.

First Deployment

After the project setup is finished, click on + Deploy Now to start your first deployment.

When your CSS or JS looks broken, take a look at the next section CSS & JS Bundling.

DB Migrations

Database Migrations are automatically executed during the deployment on IHP Cloud.

If you need to make manual changes to your database schema, you can of course also do this: Open the project in IHP Cloud, click Settings, then click Database. There you can find the database credentials for the Postgres DB that is running for your application. Connect to your database and manually apply the migrations.

Changing the domain

Open the project in IHP Cloud, click Settings and click Domain. You can set a *** domain in here.

Using your domain instead of

Using your domain with IHP Cloud is only available for IHP Cloud Pro users. To use your domain point a CNAME record to

After that go to Settings, click Domain and enter your domain name. When you change your domain to a custom domain we are automatically getting an SSL certificate from LetsEncrypt for you so please make sure to set the CNAME record a few minutes before changing the domain inside your project.

Deploying with Docker

Deploying IHP with docker is a good choice for a professional production setup.

IHP has a first party CLI tool called ihp-app-to-docker-image to create Docker images out of your app. This tool is available with IHP Pro and IHP Business. If you’re not on IHP Pro yet, now is a good time to try it out. By switching to Pro, you’re supporting the sustainable development of IHP.

Creating a Docker Image

Assuming your project is using IHP Pro or IHP Business, you can use the ihp-app-to-docker-image tool to make a docker image:

$ ihp-app-to-docker-image

 The docker image is at 'docker.tar.gz'

The command needs to be called from inside the application directory.

This tool will compile your app and output an docker image at docker.tar.gz. The docker image is typically around 85MB in size. If your application has many dependencies declated in the default.nix it could also be larger.

On macOS the ihp-app-to-docker-image tool requires Docker to be up and running. On linux you use the tool without having docker installed.

You can load the docker.tar.gz into your running docker instance using docker load:

$ docker load < docker.tar.gz

8e8f0ea2cd55: Loading layer [==================================================>]  87.73MB/87.73MB
Loaded image: app:g13rks9fb4ik8hnqip2s3ngqq4nq14zw

Running docker images you can now see that the image is available:

$ docker images

REPOSITORY     TAG                                IMAGE ID       CREATED         SIZE
app            g13rks9fb4ik8hnqip2s3ngqq4nq14zw   ffc01de1ec7e   51 years ago    86.6MB

The CREATED timestamp is showing 51 years ago as the image is built using nix. For having a totally reproducable build, the timestamp is set to Jan 1970, 00:00 UTC.

Starting the App Container

First Steps

You can start your app container like this:

$ docker run -p 8000:8000 app:g13rks9fb4ik8hnqip2s3ngqq4nq14zw

Now open http://localhost:8000/ and see that your app is running. It will likely show an error that IHP is unable to connect to the app DB. This will be fixed in the next section.

The app image has to be the fully qualified app:g13rks9fb4ik8hnqip2s3ngqq4nq14zw form, so this will not work:

$ docker run -p 8000:8000 app

Unable to find image 'app:latest' locally

Connecting the DB

You need to connect a postgres database to get your app working.

It’s recommended to use a managed database service like AWS RDS to run your postgres. For a quick-and-dirty setup you can also use docker to run a database:

$ docker run --name app-db -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword -d postgres

# Import the Schema.sql
$ docker exec -i app-db psql -U postgres -d postgres < Application/Schema.sql

# Import the Fixtures.sql
$ docker exec -i app-db psql -U postgres -d postgres < Application/Fixtures.sql

You can configure the database your app connects to using the DATABASE_URL env variable:

$ docker run \
    -p 8000:8000 \
    -e 'DATABASE_URL=postgresql://postgres:mysecretpassword@the-hostname/postgres' \

In production setup’s you want to configure the IHP_SESSION_SECRET env variable. It’s a private key used to encrypt your session state. If it’s not specified, a new one will generated on each container start. This means that all your users will have to re-login on each container start.

Note on Config/client_session_key.aes: The IHP_SESSION_SECRET env variable is an alternative for placing a Config/client_session_key.aes inside the container. It has been added in recent IHP versions only.

When you start an app container without specifying the IHP_SESSION_SECRET, the app will output the randomly generated one. So you can get a new secret key by starting a new container and copying the value:

$ docker run -it app:g13rks9fb4ik8hnqip2s3ngqq4nq14zw
Server started

There we can copy the IHP_SESSION_SECRET=1J8jtRW331a0IbHBCHmsFNoesQUNFnuHqY8cB5927KsoV5sYmiq3DMmvsYk5S7EDma9YhqZLZWeTFu2pGOxMT2F/5PnifW/5ffwJjZvZcJh9MKPh3Ez9fmPEyxZBDxVp value and use it as our secret:

$ docker run \
    -p 8000:8000 \
    -e 'IHP_SESSION_SECRET=1J8jtRW331a0IbHBCHmsFNoesQUNFnuHqY8cB5927KsoV5sYmiq3DMmvsYk5S7EDma9YhqZLZWeTFu2pGOxMT2F/5PnifW/5ffwJjZvZcJh9MKPh3Ez9fmPEyxZBDxVp' \
    -e 'DATABASE_URL=postgresql://postgres:mysecretpassword@the-hostname/postgres' \

As of IHP v0.16 this env variable is automatically set to a unqiue build hash.

If you use assetPath helpers in your app, specifiy the IHP_ASSET_VERSION env var. Set it e.g. to your commit hash or to the release timestamp.

$ docker run \
    -p 8000:8000 \
    -e 'IHP_SESSION_SECRET=1J8jtRW331a0IbHBCHmsFNoesQUNFnuHqY8cB5927KsoV5sYmiq3DMmvsYk5S7EDma9YhqZLZWeTFu2pGOxMT2F/5PnifW/5ffwJjZvZcJh9MKPh3Ez9fmPEyxZBDxVp' \
    -e 'DATABASE_URL=postgresql://postgres:mysecretpassword@the-hostname/postgres' \
    -e 'IHP_ASSET_VERSION=af5f389ef7a64a04c9fa275111e4739c0d4a78d0' \

If the app is running behind a load balancer, set the environment variable IHP_REQUEST_LOGGER_IP_ADDR_SOURCE=FromHeader to tell IHP to use the X-Real-IP or X-Forwarded-For header for detecting the client IP.

$ docker run \

Without specifying this env var, the app will always use http://localhost:8000/ in absolute URLs it’s generating (e.g. when redirecting or sending out emails).

It’s therefore important to set it to the external user-facing web addresss. E.g. if your IHP app is available at, the variable should be set to that:

$ docker run \
    -e 'IHP_BASEURL=' \

Deploying on Bare Metal

You can build and deploy your IHP app on your own server without external deployment tools.

Make sure that the infrastructure you pick to build your IHP app has enough memory. Otherwise, the build might fail because GHC is very memory hungry. You can also set up a swap file to work around this.

Install Nix on your server

Nix is needed to build your application. Install it the usual way:

curl -L | sh

We recommend to use the digitally induced cachix binary cache to avoid rebuilding the IHP dependencies and IHP itself:

cachix use digitallyinduced

In case you’re on NixOS, you can skip this.

Copy your project folder to your server

Copy your application source code to the build server. If you’re using git to clone it onto your server, we recommend you use SSH agent forwarding.


Make required modifications to your Config/Config.hs:

  1. Switch option Development to option Production
  2. Set option (AppHostname "YOUR_HOSTNAME") or option (BaseUrl "YOUR_URL")
  3. Configure any custom settings (This includes ´make -B .envrc´ to download and build any extra Haskell packages, such as the mmark package in the tutorial)

AppHostname is used to build your BaseUrl when this is not set manually. BaseUrl equals http://{AppHostname}:{port} or http://{AppHostname} if port is 80. You can overwrite BaseUrl by setting it in Config/Config.hs

If you deploy behind an Nginx proxy or similar which handles SSL certificates, so the IHP instance only sees http, the BaseUrl must still have https as it is used to form absolute URLs.

When you deploy with IHP Cloud your Config.hs is set automatically on project creation. IHP Cloud sets your BaseUrl to https://{AppHostname} because every deployed app is served with SSL enabled.

To configure your database connection: Set the env var DATABASE_URL to your Postgres connection URL. Set the env var PORT to the port the app will listen on.

The database needs the UUID-extension which is enabled by running create extension if not exists "uuid-ossp";

If the app is running behind a load balancer, set the environment variable IHP_REQUEST_LOGGER_IP_ADDR_SOURCE=FromHeader to tell IHP to use the X-Real-IP or X-Forwarded-For header for detecting the client IP.


Inside your project directory start a nix-shell for the following steps.

We can use make to build the application binary. The default IHP Makefile provides two target: build/bin/RunUnoptimizedProdServer and build/bin/RunOptimizedProdServer.

The first target runs with -O0. It’s useful when you’re setting up the deployment workflow for the first time. Otherwise, you will always need to spend lots of time waiting for GHC to optimize your Haskell code.

Both make targets will generate a binary at build/bin/RunUnoptimizedProdServer or build/bin/RunOptimizedProdServer and will create a symlink at build/bin/RunProdServer targeting to the binary.

Run make static/prod.css static/prod.js to build the asset bundles.

Starting the app

Now you should be able to start your app by running build/bin/RunProdServer.

More Resources

Check out this blog post on how to deploy IHP to EC2.

CSS & JS Bundling

Bundling all your CSS and JS files into a single CSS and JS file can be useful to improve performance when you have many assets.


To decide whether bundling is useful for your application it might be useful to quickly go into details about the browser caching that is applied to all static files.

In production mode IHP automatically adds caching headers to your CSS and JS files following these rules:

  1. static/vendor/*: cached for 30 days
  2. static/* cached for 24 hours
  3. IHP built-ins (e.g. helpers.js, ihp-auto-refresh.js, ..): cached for 30 days

This means that all JS and CSS is stored in the browser cache after the first request. This also means that bundling only improves the cache-miss case. To optimise the first request it could be useful to move more scripts from the <head> to the end of the <body> in your Layout.hs. Usually not all CSS and JS is needed when the page is first displayed.

If you have many JS and CSS files that are all required for the initial page render, you should enable bundling.

If you’re curious: The following cache headers are set in production:

Activate Bundling

IHP provides a simple bundling out of the box using make. These bundles can be generated using these commands:

make static/prod.js # Generates a bundle at static/prod.js
make static/prod.css # Generates a bundle at static/prod.css

The bundling process is only concatenating the files (along the lines of cat a.css b.css c.css > static/prod.css). There is no minification or transpiling applied.

Bundling should only be used in production. In development mode you should generally not use the bundling mechanism.

Configuring the CSS & JS Bundling

The files that are bundled together to get our prod.css and prod.js are configured in your projects Makefile. Inside your projects Makefile you will have these statements:

CSS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.css
CSS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/flatpickr.min.css

JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/jquery-3.6.0.slim.min.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/timeago.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/popper.min.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/flatpickr.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/helpers.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/morphdom-umd.min.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/turbolinks.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/turbolinksInstantClick.js
JS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/turbolinksMorphdom.js

You need to add your app-specific CSS and JS files here as well. E.g. if you have an app.css, layout.css and app.js add them by appending this:

CSS_FILES += static/app.css
CSS_FILES += static/layout.css
JS_FILES += static/app.js

Run make static/prod.js static/prod.css to test that the bundle generation works locally. To force a rebuild, either delete the files and run make again, or run make -B static/prod.js static/prod.css.

You can also remove the JS and CSS files that are provided by IHP (like ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.css) if you don’t need them. E.g. if you don’t use bootstrap for your CSS, just remove the CSS_FILES and JS_FILES statements for bootstrap.

Note on CSS Imports:

If your app.css uses @import syntax like this:

@import "./layout.css";
@import "./startpage.css";

Browsers only load these @import statements if they’re the first rules defined in your CSS file. When bundling your file, you usually have your CSS frameworks and libraries first before your own app specific CSS. That means that the @import statements will be ignored by the browser in production. To make this work in production you need to duplicate these import statements in your Makefile like this:

# CSS Frameworks
CSS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/bootstrap.min.css
CSS_FILES += ${IHP}/static/vendor/flatpickr.min.css

CSS_FILES += static/app.css # The main app.css
CSS_FILES += static/layout.css # The first import of app.css
CSS_FILES += static/startpage.css # The second import of app.css

Enabling Bundling in the Layout

We need to update the Layout.hs to only load prod.css and prod.js when running in production.

For that we use isDevelopment and isProduction to conditionally load different files. Change your Web/View/Layout.hs to look like this:

stylesheets :: Html
stylesheets = do
    when isDevelopment [hsx|
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="/vendor/bootstrap.min.css"/>
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="/vendor/flatpickr.min.css"/>
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="/app.css"/>
    when isProduction [hsx|
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="/prod.css"/>

scripts :: Html
scripts = do
    when isDevelopment [hsx|
        <script id="livereload-script" src="/livereload.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/jquery-3.6.0.slim.min.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/timeago.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/popper.min.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/bootstrap.min.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/flatpickr.js"></script>
        <script src="/helpers.js"></script>
        <script src="/vendor/morphdom-umd.min.js"></script>
    when isProduction [hsx|
        <script src="/prod.js"></script>

Updating your Deployment Process

If you’re using IHP Cloud: Nothing to do. The command make static/prod.js static/prod.css is automatically executed during deployment.

If you’re deploying manually: Make sure that make static/prod.js static/prod.css is called.

Operating an IHP app

Error Monitoring with Sentry

In production it’s highly recommended to use an exception tracking service like Sentry for error monitoring.

To use sentry in your IHP app you need to install the ihp-sentry plugin. The ihp-sentry plugin is bundled with IHP Pro.

Once the ihp-sentry plugin is installed and configured, exceptions that happen in production (so option Production is set) are reported to sentry.

Install ihp-sentry in your IHP app

Add ihp-sentry to the haskellDeps in your default.nix:

    haskellEnv = import "${ihp}/NixSupport/default.nix" {
        ihp = ihp;
        haskellDeps = p: with p; [
            # ...

Now you need to remake your environment using make -B .envrc.

Next add import IHP.Sentry to your Config/Config.hs:

module Config where

-- ...

import IHP.Sentry

Add a call to initSentry inside the Config/Config.hs to configure the sentry DSN:

module Config where

import IHP.Prelude
import IHP.Environment
import IHP.FrameworkConfig
import IHP.Sentry

config :: ConfigBuilder
config = do
    option Development
    option (AppHostname "localhost")

    initSentry "YOUR-SENTRY-DSN"

Now sentry is set up.

When running on IHP Cloud: You also need to update the Config.hs inside your IHP Cloud project settings.

Building with Nix

You can use nix-build to make a full build of your IHP app:

# Optional, if you skip this the binary will not be optimized by GHC
make prepare-optimized-nix-build

# The actual build process

This will build a nix package that contains the following binaries:

The build contains an automatic hash for the IHP_ASSET_VERSION env variable, so cache busting should work out of the box.