How to host Erlang on Amazon EC2 for $10/mo

Going live with Erlang on Amazon can be difficult especially when you pick the wrong operating system that doesn’t come with needed packages.

In this post I am going to outline how I go about installing Erlang on a brand new server.

There is little hope for those of you looking for shared Erlang hosting. Most of those developers that I have talked to use Amazon EC2 (you can get a free Amazon EC 2 trial for one year) i.e. a VPS.

There are multiple ways to install Erlang. Attempting it with “sudo apt-get install erlang” is a bad idea since this will install a deprecated version which is fine if you’re ok with that but most projects aren’t and won’t execute properly.

Erlang is easiest to install on Amazon EC2 with Ubuntu 14

Installing Erlang on Amazon with Kerl

We will build our newer up-to date Erlang version with kerl(not with sudo apt-get).

Please make sure you select Ubuntu 14 as an OS for your VPS. This will relieve you of many headaches and compatibility-issues!

These are the needed terminal commands (in right order):

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install build-essential autoconf libncurses5-dev libwxgtk2.8-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libpng3 libssh-dev unixodbc-dev

sudo apt-get install git

curl -O

chmod a+x kerl


./kerl update releases

./kerl build 20.3 20.3

./kerl install 20.3 ~/.kerl/20.3

. /home/ubuntu/.kerl/20.3/activate


Most of the commands are self-explanatory, except “export KERL_BUILD_BACKEND=git” (You can read the discussion that caused this here: 

I hope this simple list of commands is going to take away more headache than it causes! It’s a pleasure to work with this robust programming language. It seems like I can get more done within a few weeks than I could within months in any other programming language!

If you are developing web-apps I would highly recommend checking out N2O. It’s a great No-Bullshit web framework for Erlang.

Published by

Erwin Flaming

I love people!