Common Questions

Do you provide production-level hosting?

No. Tugboat previews are intended to be short-lived, and do not come with the stability or support guarantees needed to host a production application.

Can I have SSH access to a Preview?

No. Direct SSH access to a Preview is not possible. However, shell access is provided in both the web interface and the command line tool.

How does Tugboat deal with sending email?

Tugboat makes a best effort to capture outbound email. Using the local sendmail or the SMTP server at $TUGBOAT_SMTP will result in email being captured by Tugboat. These captured emails are only saved for as long as the Preview that sent them exists.

Tugboat does not attempt to capture any other outbound SMTP server connections, so if you are concerned with sending emails to customers from a QA environment, be sure to update your application configuration to use Tugboat’s SMTP server.

For more details, see: Inside a Preview -> Captured Mail.

Why don’t you have Alpine versions of some Docker images?

We’ve run into issues with some packages not working on Alpine, because it uses musl and not glibc. Many developers don’t know how to solve these sorts of issues. We’ve chosen to default to Ubuntu / Debian for Tugboat instead. While that can result in larger disk usage, when using a Base Preview, that additional disk usage becomes negligible.

You can use your own images with Tugboat, and we do offer an empty Alpine image as well.

Can I password protect my Preview URLs?

You may be used to protecting your staging and development sites behind a username and password, such as HTTP Basic Authentication. Often folks choose to do this so that these environments cannot be crawled by search engines or guessed by outsiders.

Tugboat secures each preview URL with a unique, high entropic token. (For the math nerds, our tokens have over 165 bits of entropy. It would take 3.17E+49 guesses to have a 50% chance of guessing a Tugboat token.) In addition, Tugboat blocks bots and crawlers by sending the X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow HTTP header, and a Disallow: / robots.txt.

Private Previews

On our Premium tiers, you can take this one step further by configuring IP filtering. That allows you to specify the IP ranges or addresses that are allowed to access your Tugboat previews. You might have a company VPN that you would like to require a connection to prior to accessing your Tugboat Previews.

If you’re still interested in password protecting your previews, you can add an HTTP proxy service (with HTTP basic authentication configured) as the default service in your config.yml. If you’re previewing a Drupal site, you can enable the Shield module.