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Need to serve gems locally or for your organization?

There are times you would like to run your own gem server. You may want to share gems with colleagues when you are both without internet connectivity. You may have private code, internal to your organization, that you’d like to distribute and manage as gems without making the source publicly available.

There are a few options to set up a server to host gems from within your organization. This guide covers the Gemstash, Gem in a Box, and Gemirro projects. It also discusses how to use these servers as gem sources during development.

Running Gemstash

Gemstash is both a cache for remote servers (such as, and a private gem source.

To get started, install gemstash:

$ gem install gemstash

After it is installed, start the Gemstash server with the following command:

$ gemstash start

By default, the server runs on port 9292.

If you want to use it as a cache, you can tell Bundler to use Gemstash to find gems from

$ bundle config mirror. http://localhost:9292

With this configuration, all gems fetched from via bundler are cached by Gemstash.

You can also push your own gems and use the gemstash server as a private gemsource. For more information about gemstash features and commands, read the Gemstash documentation.

Running Gem in a Box

For a server with more features, including the ability to push gems, try out the Gem in a Box project.

To get started, install geminabox:

[~/dev/geminabox] gem install geminabox

Make a data directory for storing gems:

[~/dev/geminabox] mkdir data

Include the following in a file:

[~/dev/geminabox] cat
require "rubygems"
require "geminabox" = "./data"
run Geminabox::Server

And run the server:

[~/dev/geminabox] rackup
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  WEBrick 1.3.1
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  ruby 1.9.2 (2011-02-18) [x86_64-darwin10.5.0]
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  WEBrick::HTTPServer#start: pid=60941 port=9292

Now you can push gems using the gem inabox command. The first time you do this, you’ll be prompted for the location of your gem server.

[~/dev/secretgem] gem build secretgem.gemspec
  Successfully built RubyGem
  Name: secretgem
  Version: 0.0.1
  File: secretgem-0.0.1.gem
[~/dev/secretgem] gem inabox ./secretgem-0.0.1.gem
Enter the root url for your personal geminabox instance. (E.g. http://gems/)
Host:  http://localhost:9292
Pushing secretgem-0.0.1.gem to http://localhost:9292/...

There is a web interface available on http://localhost:9292 as well. For more information, read the Gem in a box README.

Running Gemirro

If you need a simple application that makes it easy way to create your own RubyGems mirror without having to push or write all gem you wanted in a configuration file try out Gemirro. It does mirroring without any authentication and you can add your private gems in the gems directory. More, to mirroring a source, you only need to start the server, and gems will automatically be downloaded when needed.

To get started, install gemirro:

$ gem install gemirro

The process of setting up a mirror is fairly easy and can be done in few seconds.

The first step is to set up a new, empty mirror directory. This is done by running the gemirro init command.

$ gemirro init /srv/http/

Once created you can edit the main configuration file called config.rb. This configuration file specifies what source to mirror, destination directory, server host and port, etc.

Once configured and if you add gem in the define_source, you can pull them by running the following command:

$ gemirro update

Once all the Gems have been downloaded you’ll need to generate an index of all the installed files. This can be done as following:

$ gemirro index

Last, launch the server, and all requests will check if gems are detected, and download them if necessary and generate index immediately.

$ gemirro server --start
$ gemirro server --status
$ gemirro server --restart
$ gemirro server --stop

A web interface will be available at http://localhost:2000.

For more information, read the Gemirro README.

Using gems from your server

Whether you use Gemstash, Gem in a Box, Gemirro or another gem server, you can configure RubyGems to use your local or internal source alongside other sources such as

Use the gem sources command to add the gem server to your system-wide gem sources. The following URL is the default for running Gem in a Box via rackup:

gem sources --add http://localhost:9292

Then install gems as usual:

[~] gem install secretgem
Successfully installed secretgem-0.0.1
1 gem installed

If you’re using Bundler then you can specify this server as a gem source in your Gemfile:

[~/dev/myapp] cat Gemfile
source "http://localhost:9292"
gem "secretgem"

[~/dev/myapp] bundle
Using secretgem (0.0.1)
Using bundler (1.0.13)
Your bundle is complete! Use `bundle show [gemname]` to see where a bundled gem is installed.