Upgrading My Digital Ocean Mastodon Instance from 3.5.3 to 4.0.2

Terminal with Mastodon upgrade commands.

For the sake of my own reference, and potentially to help others through the process, I’m documenting and sharing here the steps I took to upgrade my instance, that I host with a Droplet, from version 3.5.3 to version 4.0.2. In the past I’ve had a rough go of it with the upgrades so I figure if any of that happens again I’ll have a record of it here for my own reference as well as for others.

One other item to note is that I made the choice not to jump on the new version 4.x release to just make sure any issues that might have been found were worked out. This was a good choice as within a week of the release things were fixed and we are now on version 4.0.2.

The general upgrade steps to version 4 are found on the releases page in GitHub.

Time needed: 1 hour.

Update Steps

  1. Login to your instance console.

    You can use either the , in the Digital Ocean Droplet dashboard, or via using your client of choice.

  2. Shutdown the Mastodon services.

    $ sudo systemctl stop mastodon-*.service

    Note: My Digital Ocean Droplet only has 2GB of RAM, and thus when it comes to compiling the assets steps after an upgrade the process will fail most likely due to the amount of memory required to do that.

  3. Change to the `mastodon` user.

    su - mastodon

  4. Change to the `live` directory.

    cd live

  5. Update to version 3.0.4.

    $ rbenv install --verbose 3.0.4

  6. Set Ruby 3.0.4 as the global default.

    $ rbenv global 3.0.4

  7. Checkout the 4.0.2 release via .

    $ git fetch && git checkout v4.0.2
    Note: that I needed to revert my Gemfile.lock file. git checkout -- Gemfile.lock

  8. Install the dependencies.

    $ bundle install
    then
    $ yarn install

  9. Run pre-deployment database migrations.

    $ SKIP_POST_DEPLOYMENT_MIGRATIONS=true RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails db:migrate

  10. Precompile the assets.

    $ RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails assets:precompile

    Note: If on this step you get a message Compilation failed: then you may have run out of memory during that step(note my early step about shutting down the Mastodon services). If that happens try to shutdown the services and then also run $ RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails assets:clobber and then run the precompile step again.

  11. Restart the Mastodon services.

    $ sudo systemctl restart mastodon-web
    $ sudo systemctl restart mastodon-streaming
    $ sudo systemctl restart mastodon-sidekiq


    Note: It is easier to just exit from being in the mastodon account switching back to root to run those commands. After restarting the services then switch back to the mastodon user for the next step. su - mastodon.

  12. Finish the database migrations.

    Make sure you are back in the ~/live directory as the mastodon user then run the following command:
    $ RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rails db:migrate

  13. Restart the Mastodon services again.

    See step 11.

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you. Saving this for when I eventually get around to upgrading. I looked at the official documentation and freaked out.

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