Ruby Version Manager (RVM)


If your Ruby application won't start because of a missing gem, then you must install it locally using Bundler. For more information about using Bundler, please visit the following page:

Ruby Version Manager (RVM) is a utility that allows you to add your own personal version of Ruby to a user. It allows you to add, remove, or have multiple versions of Ruby and its libraries live in your user directory.

This article walks you through how to manually install RVM as well as a custom version of Ruby and/or Rails.

Installing RVM

To get started, you'll first need to install RVM under your shell user and set it up to load automatically. Visit the Creating a user with Shell (SSH) access article to make sure your user is a Shell user. Then you can log in to your server via SSH to run the following commands in your user's directory.

  1. Make sure you're in your user's home directory:
    [server]$ cd ~
  2. Install RVM's public keys:
    [server]$ gpg --keyserver --recv-keys 409B6B1796C275462A1703113804BB82D39DC0E3 7D2BAF1CF37B13E2069D6956105BD0E739499BDB

    This creates a new folder under your user named /.gnupg with the public key.

  3. Install the latest stable version of RVM:
    [server]$ curl -sSL | bash -s

    This command does the following three things:

    • Creates a new folder under your user named /.rvm
    • Adds this line to your .bash_profile
    [[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && source "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" # Load RVM into a shell session *as a function*
    • Adds this line to your .bashrc file:
    # Add RVM to PATH for scripting. Make sure this is the last PATH variable change.
    export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/.rvm/bin"
  4. Run this to unset your GEM_HOME:
    [server]$ unset GEM_HOME
  5. Run this to source your new RVM install:
    [server]$ source ~/.rvm/scripts/rvm
  6. Run the following to disable autolibs:
    [server]$ rvm autolibs disable
  7. Check if RVM is installed and functioning:
    [server]$ rvm --version
    rvm 1.29.12-next (master) by Michal Papis, Piotr Kuczynski, Wayne E. Seguin []

Installing any version of Ruby you wish

Once RVM is configured, you can install any version of Ruby you like.

You must first disable autolibs. If autolibs is not disabled, the Ruby installation fails due to permission issues.

  1. Run the following to get a list of available versions to install:
    [server]$ rvm list known

    Several interpreters will be listed such as MRI, JRuby, Rubinius, etc. You should install a version under the MRI section. For example:

    # MRI Rubies
    [ruby-]1.8.7[-head] # security released on head
  2. Install the exact version of Ruby you require. This example installs version 3.0.1:
    [server]$ rvm install 3.0.1
  3. Run the following to tell your system to use this version by default:
    [server]$ rvm use 3.0.1 --default
  4. Check the version of Ruby to confirm it's been updated.
    [server]$ ruby -v
    ruby 3.0.1p64 (2021-04-05 revision 0fb782ee38) [x86_64-linux]

Installing any version of Rails you wish

You must first disable autolibs. If autolibs is not disabled, the Rails installation fails due to permission issues.

  1. Run this command to install the latest version of Rails:
    [server]$ gem install rails
  2. Alternatively, run the following to install a specific version:
    [server]$ gem install rails --version
  3. View a full list of available versions at

See also

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