Install Nginx on Ubuntu

Install Nginx on Ubuntu

Nginx is a high performance webserver because it uses an event‑driven processing approach. That is why, it is faster than other webservers. We will Install Nginx on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS server.

In case you already installed iRedMail on your server, you don’t need to install Nginx on Ubuntu separately as it’s included in iRedMail installation.


a. Download and Install Nginx

1. Before we install Nginx on Ubuntu server, we need to create a repository source file for Nginx by running the command below on PuTTY SSH client or any Linux terminal to open a new file:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/nginx.list

Then, add the following two lines in the file.

deb [arch=amd64] http://nginx.org/packages/mainline/ubuntu/ focal nginx
deb-src http://nginx.org/packages/mainline/ubuntu/ focal nginx
Create Nginx Repository Source File

After that, close and save the file.

2. Download Nginx public key by running the following command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# wget http://nginx.org/keys/nginx_signing.key
Download Nginx Public Key

3. Add Nginx public key by running the below command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# apt-key add nginx_signing.key
Add Nginx Public Key

4. Once the repository is added to your Ubuntu system, run the following command to update repository info.

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# apt update

5. [Not required if it’s fresh installation] In case you have already installed Nginx from the default Ubuntu software repository, you need to remove it by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# apt remove nginx nginx-common nginx-full nginx-core

Then, backup the main Nginx configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf because it will be replaced with a new nginx.conf file when we later install the latest version of Nginx.

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# cp /etc/nginx/nginx.conf /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.backup

6. Let’s install Nginx on Ubuntu now by running the following command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# apt install nginx

You will see a progress like below.

Install Nginx on Ubuntu Progress

And here when the installation is complete:

Install Nginx on Ubuntu is Done

Test Nginx Configuration

Once Nginx is installed, test Nginx configuration by running the below command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nginx -t
Test Nginx on Ubuntu Configuration Command

7. As you see above, the test is successful. So, let’s start Nginx by running the command below:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# service nginx start
Start Nginx Ubuntu Command

In case the above command hangs, use this command to start Nginx:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# systemctl start nginx

And in case the above command doesn’t work too, just reboot your server by running the below command then try again, it should work.

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# reboot

Let’s check the version of Nginx by running the following command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nginx -v
Check Nginx Version on Ubuntu

You can check Nginx status by running the command.

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# service nginx status
Check Nginx Status Command

To exit, press: Ctrl + c then hit Enter key.

If your Nginx doesn’t start at boot time automatically, enable autostart by running the below command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# systemctl enable nginx

b. Configure Nginx

1. First, let’s check Nginx on web to see if it works, check the IP address of your server on the browser as below, you should see welcome page which is an HTML page:

Test Nginx on Web Browser

2. Let’s change the Document Root directory of Nginx where the you will place the directories of your websites. The default document root directory is: /usr/share/nginx/html, we will change it to: /var/www/html, but first we need to create the directories www and html. Run the command below to create the www directory:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# mkdir /var/www

And this command to create the html directory inside it:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# mkdir /var/www/html

Open default.conf File

Now, open the default configuration file by running the below command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf
Nginx Document Root

Notice the current document root: /usr/share/nginx/html. We need to comment the two lines for the current document root by adding hash symbol (#) in front of them like this:

#root /usr/share/nginx/html;

And add below each commented line, the below line for the new directory:

root /var/www/html;
Change Nginx Document Root

Your file should look like above. Close and save the file.

3. When you install Nginx independently, site-available and site-enabled directories won’t be created, so we need to create them manually and include them in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file. Let’s create them by running the below commands:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# mkdir /etc/nginx/sites-available
root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# mkdir /etc/nginx/sites-enabled

Open nginx.conf File

Now, open nginx.conf file by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Edit the http block and add this line:

include /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;

It should look like below:

Include Sites Enabled in Nginx Configuration File

Close and save the file, then test Nginx configuration by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nginx -t

It should be okay, now restart nginx for the changes to take effect:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# service nginx restart

c. Connect Nginx to PHP

Before running any PHP program on Nginx webserver, we need to connect Nginx to PHP properly as below:

1. Let index.php be the first index file to be looked for when sending request to Nginx. So, open the default configuration file by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf

Then, add index.php inside the location / block after index as below in bold text:

location / {
        #root   /usr/share/nginx/html;
        root    /var/www/html;
        index   index.php index.html index.htm;
    }
Let Index PHP File Be First File

2. Copy the file: 50x.html inside the directory: /usr/share/nginx/html to the new directory by running the following command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# cp /usr/share/nginx/html/50x.html /var/www/html

This step is important to avoid getting error when missing this file as it’s included in default configuration file and we already changed the default directory for it there.

Open www.conf File

3. Open www.conf file to see which socket is listening to the traffic, run the below command to open it:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/php/8.0/fpm/pool.d/www.conf

Then, locate the line that starts with: listen =, which is below:

listen = /run/php/php8.0-fpm.sock
Locate PHP Socket

After that, save this line somewhere then close the file. You can check the running FPM by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# ps aux | grep 'php-fpm'

But as we installed php8.0-fpm, we’ve no much options to choose from.

4. Open the default.conf file:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf

Then, locate the below block:

#location ~ \.php$ {
#    root           html;
#    fastcgi_pass   127.0.0.1:9000;
#    fastcgi_index  index.php;
#    fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  /scripts$fastcgi_script_name;
#    include        fastcgi_params;
#}

After that, add the following code below it. Note that we’ve just changed the values of fastcgi_pass and fast_cgi_param as seen in bold red.

location ~ \.php$ {
    root           html;
    fastcgi_pass   unix:/var/run/php/php8.0-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index  index.php;
    fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  /var/www/html$fastcgi_script_name;
    include        fastcgi_params;
}

Your file should look like below:

Edit PHP Location

5. Check Nginx configuration then restart it:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nginx -t
root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# service nginx restart

Add Nginx to www-data Group

6. Add Nginx to www-data group as the webserver is owned by www-data on Linux by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# adduser nginx www-data

Also, you can use this command they work same!

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# usermod -a -G www-data nginx

In order to remove Nginx from the www-data group, run the command below:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# deluser nginx www-data

Test PHP

7. Let’s test the PHP by creating PHP file inside the document root directory and to see if it executes the PHP. So, open a php file by running the command below:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# nano /var/www/html/index.php

Then, add the simple PHP code inside it:

<?php echo "Test PHP" ?>
Add PHP Code to Test Nginx

After that, close and save the file and restart Nginx for the changes to take effect:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# service nginx restart

Now, test the IP address from the browser, you should get the output of the PHP file as below:

PHP Works with Nginx

If you don’t restart Nginx, you will get an error.

Check Nginx Error Log

In case you have any error, you can check the Nginx error log by running the below command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# tail -100 /var/log/nginx/error.log

Change the ownership of the directory /var/www/html to www-data by running the command:

root@iRedMail-doesnt-exist:~# chown -Rf www-data:www-data /var/www/html

Everything is perfect! In the next article, we will show you how to install the latest stable release of MariaDB.

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