Nginx/conf ubuntu

Nginx (pronounced as “Engine-X”) stands out in web servers for its high performance, stability, rich feature set, scalability, and low resource consumption. Originally designed to solve the C10k problem, it has evolved into a versatile server that can act as a reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache. This versatility makes it a favorite among developers, particularly for hosting high-traffic websites.

Purpose of This Blog Post

This blog post aims to guide you through installing and configuring Nginx on an Ubuntu system. Whether you’re setting up a small personal blog or a large commercial site, this post will provide the foundational knowledge needed to get your Nginx server up and running efficiently on Ubuntu.


Before diving into the installation and configuration of Nginx on Ubuntu, there are a few prerequisites to ensure a smooth process:

System Requirements

  • Ubuntu Server: Any recent Ubuntu version (e.g., Ubuntu 20.04 LTS or later) is suitable. Make sure your system is updated.
  • Root Privileges: You will need access to a user account with sudo privileges to install packages and make configuration changes.

Knowledge Prerequisites

  • Basic Ubuntu Skills: Familiarity with Ubuntu’s command line interface is essential as most of the operations will be carried out in the terminal.
  • Networking Fundamentals: A basic understanding of networking concepts such as IP addresses, DNS, and ports will be helpful.

Installing Nginx on Ubuntu

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

  1. Updating Package Lists: Open your terminal and start by updating your package list to ensure you get the latest version of Nginx: sudo apt update
  2. Installing Nginx: Install Nginx by running the following command sudo apt install nginx
  3. Verifying the Installation: Once the installation is complete, you can verify that Nginx is running by typing: systemctl status nginx You should see an active (running) status indicating that Nginx has been successfully installed and is operational.
  4. Accessing the Web Server: To confirm that Nginx is serving pages, open your web browser and navigate to your server’s domain name or IP address. You should see the default Nginx landing page, signifying that Nginx is correctly installed and accessible.

Understanding Nginx Configuration Structure

Nginx Configuration Files

Nginx’s configuration is highly flexible and is stored in various files and directories. The primary configuration file is nginx.conf, typically located in /etc/nginx/. This file contains global settings and includes directives for loading additional configurations.

Key Directories

  • /etc/nginx/nginx.conf: The main Nginx configuration file.
  • /etc/nginx/sites-available/: Directory where you can store configuration files for each of your sites.
  • /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/: Directory containing symlinks to configurations sites-available that you want Nginx to use.
  • /etc/nginx/conf.d/: Directory for additional configuration files, automatically included in the main configuration.

Editing Configuration Files

When editing Nginx configuration files, use a text editor like nano or vim. Always backup configuration files before making changes. After modifications, you can check the configuration for syntax errors with sudo nginx -t.

Basic Configuration of Nginx

Creating a New Site Configuration

  1. Create a New Configuration File: In /etc/nginx/sites-available/, create a new file for your site, e.g., your_domain.
  2. Edit the Configuration File: Configure the file with server block settings, including server name, listening port, and root directory. Example
  3. server { listen 80; server_name; root /var/www/your_domain; index index.html; }
  4. Enable the Site: Create a symlink in sites-enabled to enable this configuration:
  5. sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/your_domain /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
  6. Reload Nginx: Apply the changes by reloading Nginx: sudo systemctl reload nginx

Configuring Server Blocks

  • Server Name: Specifies the domain name of your site.
  • Root Directory: The directory where Nginx looks for files to serve.
  • Index Files: Defines which files to show as the default page.

Securing Nginx

Setting Up a Firewall

  • UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall): Ensure that the firewall allows HTTP and HTTPS traffic. sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'

Enabling SSL/TLS with Let’s Encrypt

  • Install Certbot: Use Certbot to automatically obtain and install a free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
  • Automatic Renewal: Set up a cron job or system timer for automatic certificate renewal.

Access Control

  • Restricting Access: Use allow and deny directives within server blocks to restrict access to certain IP addresses.
  • Password Protection: Implement basic authentication using .htpasswd files for sensitive directories.

Best Security Practices

  • Regular Updates: Keep Ubuntu and Nginx up-to-date with the latest security patches.
  • Disable Unnecessary Modules: Minimize potential vulnerabilities by disabling modules that are not in use.
  • Use Strong Encryption: Configure strong SSL protocols and ciphers for HTTPS connections.

Advanced Configurations

Optimizing Nginx Performance

  • Tuning Worker Processes: Adjust the worker_processes directive in nginx.conf to match the number of CPU cores on your server for optimal performance.
  • Managing Client Connections: Configure worker_connections to handle the number of simultaneous connections per worker process.
  • Enabling Gzip Compression: Reduce load times by compressing files. Enable Gzip in nginx.conf and specify the types of files to be compressed.
  • Caching: Implement caching to reduce the load on the server and speed up content delivery.

Load Balancing and Reverse Proxy Setup

  • Load Balancing Configuration: Distribute traffic across multiple backend servers to enhance performance and reliability.
  • Setting Up a Reverse Proxy: Use Nginx as a reverse proxy to forward requests to other servers, enhancing security and load distribution.

Configuring Nginx for High Traffic Websites

  • Fine-Tuning Timeouts: Adjust keepalive_timeout and client_body_timeout for better handling of high traffic.
  • Using FastCGI Cache for Dynamic Content: Implement FastCGI caching for sites running CMS like WordPress to reduce server load.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Diagnosing and Resolving Errors

  • Error Log Analysis: Check the Nginx error logs at /var/log/nginx/error.log for specific error messages.
  • Handling 502 Bad Gateway Error: Commonly caused by misconfigured proxy settings or backend server issues.
  • Addressing 404 Not Found Error: Ensure that the root directive in your server block points to the correct directory.

Tools and Commands for Troubleshooting

  • Nginx Configuration Test: Use nginx -t to test your configuration for syntax errors.
  • Checking Server Status: This is used systemctl status nginx to check the running status of Nginx.

Maintenance and Updates

Regular Maintenance Practices

  • Updating Nginx: Keep Nginx up-to-date with the latest version for security and performance improvements.
  • Monitoring Server Performance: Regularly monitor server logs and performance metrics to identify and address issues promptly.

Automating Updates and Backups

  • Automated Backup Setup: Implement a system to regularly back up your Nginx configuration and website files.
  • Update Automation: Use Ubuntu’s unattended upgrades package or similar tools to automate the update process for security patches.

Continuous Improvement

  • Stay informed about new Nginx features and best practices.
  • Regularly review and optimize your Nginx configurations to adapt to changing needs and traffic patterns.


Key Takeaways

In this blog post, we’ve explored the essentials of setting up and configuring Nginx on an Ubuntu server. From the initial installation to advanced configurations, we covered a wide range of topics including basic setup, security enhancements, performance optimizations, and troubleshooting common issues. The goal was to provide a comprehensive guide that caters to both beginners and experienced users looking to leverage Nginx’s powerful features.

Final Thoughts

Nginx is a versatile and reliable web server that can significantly improve your website’s performance and security. With its flexibility and efficiency, it is an excellent choice for hosting a variety of web applications. Remember, the key to a successful Nginx deployment lies in continuous learning and adaptation to new challenges and requirements.


Q1: Can Nginx handle both static and dynamic content?

A: Yes, Nginx efficiently serves static content and can also act as a reverse proxy for dynamic content, passing requests to application servers like PHP-FPM.

Q2: How does Nginx compare to Apache?

A: Nginx is known for its high performance, especially in handling high numbers of concurrent connections, while Apache offers a wide range of modules and flexibility. The choice depends on specific needs and server configurations.

Q3: Is Nginx suitable for beginners?

A: Nginx can be beginner-friendly, especially with

Atiqur Rahman

I am MD. Atiqur Rahman graduated from BUET and is an AWS-certified solutions architect. I have successfully achieved 6 certifications from AWS including Cloud Practitioner, Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, and Developer Associate. I have more than 8 years of working experience as a DevOps engineer designing complex SAAS applications.

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