Deploying Web Applications with NGINX HTTP Server

Introduction to NGINX

NGINX is a powerful and efficient HTTP server and reverse proxy. It was created by Igor Sysoev in 2004 to solve the problem of handling a large number of simultaneous connections, known as the "C10K problem". Traditional web servers struggled with this, but NGINX's asynchronous framework made it a game-changer for high-performance web applications.

Why NGINX Stands Out

Many web servers are available, but NGINX is preferred for several reasons:

  1. Cost-Effective: NGINX requires less memory due to its event-driven architecture.

  2. High Performance: It can handle thousands of connections simultaneously, making it ideal for busy websites.

  3. Open Source: NGINX is free and open-source, which is a big plus for many users.

  4. Fast Loading Times: Websites load faster, which is important for user experience and SEO.

  5. Trusted by Major Companies: Netflix,, Pinterest, and Hulu use NGINX for its stability and high performance.

Additional Uses of NGINX

Besides being a web server, NGINX has several other important uses:

Reverse Proxy Server:

NGINX can act as a reverse proxy server, which directs client requests to appropriate backend servers. This improves performance by caching static content and adding security.

Email Proxy Server

NGINX supports email protocols like IMAP, POP3, and SMTP, making it a good choice for email services. It can efficiently handle email traffic and scale as your business grows.

Load Balancer

NGINX can distribute incoming traffic across multiple servers, balancing the load and preventing any single server from becoming overwhelmed. This makes it ideal for dynamic websites and cloud-based applications.

Deploying Web Applications with NGINX

Here's a step-by-step guide to deploying a web application with NGINX:

On Linux:

  1. Install NGINX on Ubuntu:

  • sudo apt update

  • sudo apt upgrade -y

  • sudo apt install nginx

  1. Start and enable NGINX:

  • sudo systemctl start nginx

  • sudo systemctl enable nginx

Configure NGINX:

  • Navigate to the configuration directory:

cd /etc/nginx/sites-available/

  • Create a new config file:

sudo nano myapp.conf

  • Add the following configuration:

server {

listen 80;

server_name; # Replace with your domain name or IP address

root /var/www/myapp; # Path to your web application

index index.html index.htm;

location / {

try_files $uri $uri/ =404;


error_page 404 /404.html;

location = /404.html {



error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;

location = /50x.html {




  • Enable the site:

    • sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/myapp /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

    • sudo nginx -t # Test the configuration

    • sudo systemctl reload nginx # Reload NGINX

Set Up Your Web Application:

  • Place your web application files in the root directory:

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/myapp

sudo cp -r /path/to/your/app/* /var/www/myapp/

  • Set the correct permissions:

sudo chown -R abc:abc /var/www/myapp

sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/myapp

Check Your Setup:

  • Open a web browser and go to http://your_server_ip or

SSL Configuration

For enhanced security, use Let's Encrypt to obtain an SSL certificate:

  1. Install Certbot:

sudo snap install --classic certbot

  1. Obtain and Install the Certificate:

sudo certbot certonly --standalone -d --register-unsafely-without-email --non-interactive --agree-tos


NGINX is a versatile and high-performance web server suitable for various applications. Whether you're serving a simple website, acting as a reverse proxy, handling email traffic, or balancing loads, NGINX provides a robust solution. By following this guide, you can deploy your web application efficiently and enjoy the benefits of using NGINX.

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