…or: How to run a script after Elastic Beanstalk deployment finishes.

In this article we will have a look on AWS ElasticBeanstalk post/pre deployment script running.

I will assume you know how eb CLI works, I assume you know how to use eb deploy to do the deployment and I assume you are executing command from a folder where is your .elasticbeanstalk/config.yml (or Dockerrun.aws.json)

I will be updating this article each time I learn a new trick related to .ebextensions or come up with new example

Using Post deployment hook folder

AWS ElasticBeanstalk provides “hooks” folders that you can configure to run various scripts before/after deployment

I will not go into depth but in short: in you EC2 instance provisioned by AWS ElasticBeanstalk you have a folders:

/opt/elasticbeanstalk/hooks/appdeploy/pre/       # before deployment
/opt/elasticbeanstalk/hooks/appdeploy/post/      # after deployment

note: if you don’t have them you can create them.

Here you can create file e.g. 91_run_something_after_deploymnet.sh. Notice the number in the beginning of the file name. That is important as EB will execute the scripts in order of names and some AWS built in system names are 01_..., 02_... and you don’t want them to be skipped with your script

Now if you don’t have to write a script manually to every EC2 instance, all you have to do is to create file in .ebextensions folder in the folder from which you are executing eb deploy:

Content of .ebextensions/91_run_something_after_deploymnet.config

    mode: "000755"
    owner: root
    group: root
    content: |
      mail -s 'Starting deploymnet !!!' "[email protected]" < /dev/null

note .ebextension/*.config are also executed in alphabetic order, it’s considered good practice to name them %d%d_name_of_script.config

Now each time you deploy or a new EC2 instance is introduced /opt/elasticbeanstalk/hooks/appdeploy/post/91_run_something_after_deploymnet.sh with this content will be created => you will have after hook script.

NOTE !!! if you rename your hook file to something else in .ebextensions, or you remove it from .ebextensions be sure you write a script that will remove the file from from this server folder ( or ssh in and remove the script file manually). .ebextensions will not delete old files automatically !!! You may end up with old script still being executed on old Instances even if it’s not in .ebextensions folder.

Related articles that contains more info:

Direct .ebextension command enxecution

You can specify .ebextension/01_some-name.config to have command like:

    command: touch /opt/elasticbeanstalk/.post-provisioning-complete


    command: PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH bash touch /tmp/aaaaa

Be careful doh. I’ve learned the hard way that this commands are executed only in certain stage of deployment process. So if you’re running Docker EB environment some parts of your application may not be ready yet (e.g. containers)

So if you need something after deployment is finished you won’t be able to do that from here. I recommend using the folder hooks mentioned above.

I’ve read in some StackOverflow answer that folder hooks are deprecated and commands should be used. Don’t believe that, they are not deprecated and it looks like they never will be as the entire AWS EB flow works is folder hooks. commands are just more recommended in some cases. I honestly don’t use commands anymore as .ebextensions scenarios that I’m dealing with require folder hooks, so if you find any error in syntax above please let me know.

update I don’t have any link to official AWS statment on this as AWS documentation on this topic is minimal or not existing. The only reason I’m pretty sure this will not be deprecated is if you watch /var/log/eb-activity.log you can see bunch of hook folders being executed and most of them are AWS EB essential.

Related articles

Execution only on one instance.

Let say you have load balanced environment with 10 EC2 instances and you want to execute some script after deployment only on one of them.

.ebextensions provide leader_only option which means “run only on leader instance”

    command: "touch /tmp/abc"
    leader_only: true

Developer may be tempted to put a cron job into this task but (as it was pointed out to me in this post) it’s considered bad practice to put cron jobs to loadbalanced environments as the instance may die/is removed -> your essential task may not run overnight. Check AWS Lambda Scheduling or this and this article for how to do it with Worker instance.

Many possible hooks

As user Froyoforever kindly pointed out in this Reddit Discussion, one danger here is that different hook directories get called for different events. There’s appdeploy, configdeploy, restartappserver, postinit, preinit, etc.

Just do ls /opt/elasticbeanstalk/hooks/ to list them all

Unfortunately I can only speak for appdeploy as it’s the only one that I’ve used. I’ll let you figure out what is what if you need them.

Example 1 - load SSL certificate from S3

…after deployment or when new instance is added

You probably have AWS load balancer and threfore you have your SSL certificates uploaded there. But let say you have Nginx container running on you EC2 instance to proxy some routes/headers before going to actual web server (e.g. AWS Load balancer > Nginx > Unicorn/Puma server > Ruby on Rails app

Now you need to be able to use those ssl certificates in in your Docker containers.


  1. configure your Nginx Docker.aws.json so that you share common folder (e.g. Host ~/shared/certs/ to Container /shared/certs/)
  2. configure your Nginx to use ssl cert from Docker container folder /shared/certs/ssl.crt and key form /shared/certs/ssl.key (how to do that)
  3. AWS EB provides a AWS S3 Bucket that all your environment instances have access to download configuration files. Upload your SSL certificates to this this bucket (e.g. s3://my-app-bucket.com.systems/ssl/production/my-app.crt)
  4. create .ebextensions/50_pull_ssl_certificates_files.config (bellow)
  5. git commit, push and redeploy with eb deploy

Content of .ebextensions/50_pull_ssl_certificates_files.config

    mode: "000755"
    owner: root
    group: root
    content: |
      #!/usr/bin/env bash
      /usr/bin/aws s3 --region eu-west-1 cp s3://my-app-bucket.com.systems/ssl/${environment}/${cert} /home/ec2-user/shared/certs/ssl.crt
      /usr/bin/aws s3 --region eu-west-1 cp s3://my-app-bucket.com.systems/ssl/${environment}/${key} /home/ec2-user/shared/certs/ssl.key

After deployment this will create /opt/elasticbeanstalk/hooks/appdeploy/pre/50_pull_ssl_certificate_files.sh on your EC2 instance with content:

/usr/bin/aws s3 --region eu-west-1 cp s3://my-app-bucket.com.systems/ssl/${environment}/${cert} /home/ec2-user/shared/certs/ssl.crt
/usr/bin/aws s3 --region eu-west-1 cp s3://my-app-bucket.com.systems/ssl/${environment}/${key} /home/ec2-user/shared/certs/ssl.key

Note: it may be good idea to encrypt your key on S3 Bucket and then decrypt it in a NginX docker image using OpenSSL. You can set the decryption password as ENV variable in EB web console.


Example 2 - run reindex ElasticSearch after deployment (Ruby on Rails Docker)

Let say we have Ruby on Rails application in a Docker container (named rails-app)

Imagine that you want to run a script that will reindex the Elasticsearch after deployment to test / QA environment.

Content of .ebextensions/90_create_reindex_elastic_cache_file.config :

    mode: "000755"
    owner: root
    group: root
    content: |
      #!/usr/bin/env bash
      rails_container_id=$(docker ps | grep -e rails-[^r] | awk '{print$1;}') && docker exec -d $rails_container_id rake reindex

First we will fetch the container ID of Ruby on Rails instance and we will run demonized rake reindex command on that Docker container

rake reindex have content:


task reindex: :environment do