Nginx pronounced “engine x” is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP and reverse proxy server responsible for handling the load of some of the largest sites on the Internet.
Nginx can be used as a standalone web server, and as a reverse proxy for Apache and other web servers.
Compared to Apache, Nginx can handle a much large number of concurrent connections and has a smaller memory footprint per connection.
This tutorial will outline the steps required to install Nginx on an Ubuntu 18.04 machine.
Before starting with the tutorial, make sure you are logged in as a user with sudo privileges and you don’t have Apache or any other web server running on port
Nginx packages are available in the default Ubuntu repositories. The installation is pretty straightforward.
We’ll start by updating the packages list and then install Nginx:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install nginx
Once the installation is completed, Nginx service will start automatically. You can check the status of the service with the following command:
sudo systemctl status nginx
The output will look something like this:
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Sun 2018-04-29 06:43:26 UTC; 8s ago Docs: man:nginx(8) Process: 3091 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS) Process: 3080 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -q -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS) Main PID: 3095 (nginx) Tasks: 2 (limit: 507) CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service ├─3095 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; └─3097 nginx: worker process
Assuming you are using
UFW to manage your firewall, you’ll need to open HTTP (
80) and HTTPS (
443) ports. You can do that by enabling the ‘Nginx Full’ profile which includes rules for both ports:
sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'
To verify the status type:
sudo ufw status
The output will look something like the following:
Status: active To Action From -- ------ ---- 22/tcp ALLOW Anywhere Nginx Full ALLOW Anywhere 22/tcp (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6) Nginx Full (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)
Test the Installation
You can test your new Nginx installation open
http://YOUR_IP in your browser of choice, and you will be presented with the default Nginx landing page as shown on the image below:
Managing Nginx Service
You can manage the Nginx service in the same way as any other systemd service.
To stop the Nginx service, run:
sudo systemctl stop nginx
To start it again, type:
sudo systemctl start nginx
sudo systemctl restart nginx
Reload the Nginx service after you have made some configuration changes:
sudo systemctl reload nginx
By default Nginx service will start on boot. If you want to disable the Nginx service to start at boot:
sudo systemctl disable nginx
And to re-enable it again:
sudo systemctl enable nginx
Nginx Configuration File’s Structure and Best Practices
- All Nginx configuration files are located in the
- The main Nginx configuration file is
- To make Nginx configuration easier to maintain it is recommended to create a separate configuration file for each domain. You can have as many server block files as you need.
- Nginx server block files are stored in
/etc/nginx/sites-availabledirectory. The configuration files found in this directory are not used by Nginx unless they are linked to the
- To activate a server block you need to create a symlink (a pointer) from the configuration file sites in a
sites-availabledirectory to the
- It is recommended to follow the standard naming convention, for example if your domain name is
mydomain.comthen your configuration file should be named
/etc/nginx/snippetsdirectory contains configuration snippets that can be included in the server block files. If you use repeatable configuration segments then you can refactor those segments into snippets and include the snippet file to the server blocks.
- Nginx log files (
error.log) are located in the
/var/log/nginxdirectory. It is recommended to have a different
errorlog files for each server block.
- You can set your domain document root directory to any location you want. The most common locations for webroot include:
Congratulations, you have successfully installed Nginx on your Ubuntu 18.04 server. You’re now ready to start deploying your applications and use Nginx as a web or proxy server. A secure certificate is a must-have feature for all websites nowadays, to secure your website with a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, you can follow this guide on securing Nginx with Let’s Encrypt on Ubuntu 18.04.
If you intend to host multiple domains on your server, you can check this tutorial and learn how to create Nginx server blocks.