Getting Rails up and Running on Windows Subsystem for Linux

Jake Moening
2 min readOct 3, 2019


As part of #hacktoberfest 2019 I’ve noticed a lot of interesting teams/companies/projects are still using Rails. In the spirit of learning I decided I’d setup a rails environment give it a whirl on a test app to see how it compares to my server-side tool of choice, ASP.NET core.

Since I’m part of the ever shrinking world of developers that don’t work on a MacBook I decided first to try the native window install. I immediately ran into a bunch of conflicts and an out of date installer for windows. Not looking to spend two hours just getting a dev environment running I decided to change tactics.

I thought perhaps it would be best to try to do what the rest of the rails world is doing I opted to switch over to the WSL and try this experiment from a more *nix perspective. Unfortunately, WSL still isn’t quite a normal distro setup and I ran into a few more issues attempting the Ubuntu standard setup.

After a bit of research and struggle I finally landed on a working combination of packages that got things up and going. In the interest of saving the next poor developer some of that effort I’m documenting those steps here:

  1. Add the Yarn Repo for apt-get to find the latest Yarn
curl -sS | sudo apt-key add - echo "deb stable main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yarn.list
sudo apt-get update

2. Install all Rails development dependencies

sudo apt-get install make gcc zlib1g-dev ruby ruby-dev sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev yarn

3. Install Rails

sudo gem install rails

4. Once the rails install is finished you can run your rails new command:

rails new myprojectname

5. Now we can startup the new rails project

cd ./myprojectnamerails server

Open a browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000

A few steps, but nothing too crazy. I hope this helps someone else out, and saves some time so you can just get coding!



Jake Moening

Married, software-developing, backpacking, photographing, cooking, father of three.