Live host deployment

Creating a host file

You'll need to tell Ansible how to connect to your host. There are multiple ways to do this. The easiest for our purposes is to create a manifest file.

Create a file with a name like myhost.cfg that follows the pattern: ansible_ssh_user=stevem ansible_ssh_host= ansible_ssh_port=5555

You may leave off the ansible_ssh_host setting if the hostname is real. However, when doing early provisioning, it's often not available. ansible_ssh_port is only required if you want to use a non-standard ssh port. ansible_ssh_user should be the login id on the remote machine. That user must have sudo rights.

Running your playbook

ansible-playbook --ask-sudo-pass -i myhost.cfg playbook.yml

The --ask-sudo-pass option instructs Ansible to ask for your user password when it uses sudo for provisioning. It's not required if the remote user has password-less sudo rights.


Using tags for quick, partial updates.

The following tags are set up in playbook.yml.

  • plone
  • haproxy
  • varnish
  • postfix
  • logwatch
  • munin
  • motd
  • nginx

When you use one of these tags while running your playbook, only the bare minimum setup and the module named will be updated.

Apply a tag using the --tags option. Example: --tags="nginx"


The main playbook, playbook.yml, does not configure your firewall.

A separate playbook, firewall.yml sets up a basic firewall that closes all ports except ssh, http and https. The munin-node port is also opened to your monitoring server(s).


To reach other ports, use SSH tunnelling. In the default setup, you will have to use a tunnel and connect to the load-balancer port in order to get access to the Zope root. (The default proxy-cache setup blocks http basic authentication.)


You must set the plone_initial_password variable to the desired password for the Zope admin user. Use this id only for initial Plone login, then create users within Plone.

Hotfixes, Updates, Upgrades


If you are administering an Internet-accessible Plone install, you must subscribe to the Plone-Announce mailing list to receive vital security and version update announcements. Expect to apply periodic hotfixes to maintain your site.

This is the minimum responsibility of a site administrator. Ideally you should also participate in the Plone community and read other Plone news.