Breaking glass to debug production

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We've all been there. Something was just merged and now there is a bug that you are having a real hard time pinning down. You hate to do it...but you need to get on a prod box to see what's going on. SHAME

Shame bell

Step 1

Make sure that you have awscli installed locally on your computer.

For macOS you should brew install it:

brew install awscli

Configure AWS CLI

aws configure

From here follow the wizard and enter your AWS Key ID and Secret Key. You should default to us-east-1 as your region.

Step 2

You'll need to make sure that you have the Session Manager plugin for AWS ClI installed. Follow the steps below (for macOS) to install the Session Manager plugin using the bundled installer.

Download the bundled installer.

curl "" -o ""

Unzip the package.


Run the install command.

sudo ./sessionmanager-bundle/install -i /usr/local/sessionmanagerplugin -b /usr/local/bin/session-manager-plugin

Step 3

Go to the ECS console in AWS. Select the posthog-production-cluster and then select the service that you would like to exec into (most likely a web or worker task). From that service select a currently running task. IT MUST BE RUNNING AND STABLE. If the service is flapping this will not help you.

Copy the TASK ID. We'll be using that later.

Step 4

Exec into the container

Plug the Task ID (from the previous step) into the following command and get to work slacker! (You may also need to change the container name depending on the service you are hoping into)

aws ecs execute-command \
--region us-east-1 \
--cluster posthog-production-cluster \
--task <TASK_ID from earlier> \
--container posthog-production \
--command "/bin/bash" \

If you need a Django shell, just run the following after connecting

python shell_plus

If all of this fails reach out to the engineer on call.