Migrate from Apache to Nginx: The new guide

`AG_BACKQUOTE_TURN_ON`

If you are here then most probably, like me you too want to migrate from Apache to Nginx. Well I have already migrated and I am loving it! You can get a quick recap of Apache vs Nginx comparison here. Via this blog post I will share and explain my Nginx conf, in the hope that this can prove helpful for you. I have assumed that you have Nginx and Php-FPM installed. You can read how to install Ngnix from here – http://goo.gl/tq6vT. I installed it from its source. You can install PHP-FPM as per the guide at – http://goo.gl/Fx9hJ. My repo had PHP-FPM so I was saved from this trouble.

The net is littered with loads of blog posts on this topic, but most of them are either out of date or make contradictory suggestions. I have scoured the net and cooked up my own Nginx config based on many helpful blog posts on them. My config has been progressively tweaked as per my needs. I now feel that it is good enough to be shared.

To see if my Nginx config suites your needs, you first need to understand my use case. I have four domains hosted on the same server – applegrew.com, cink.applegrew.com, fb.applegrew.com and this blog.

  • applegrew.com – This serves some static HTML, few XMLs and dynamic web pages (PHP).
  • cink.applegrew.com – This is my Chrome Experiment site and has no dynamic web pages, only static files like HTMLs, images, text files, etc.
  • fb.applegrew.com – I added this one recently to host my Facebook Apps. So, naturally this has dynamic web pages, coded in PHP. Since, FB has mandated that from 1 Oct, 2011, all FB Apps must be accessible via HTTPS, so, this domain is configured to be accessible via both HTTP and HTTPS. The Nginx config for this takes care of setting the PHP parameter `$_SERVER[‘HTTPS’]` when HTTPS is used.
  • blog.applegrew.com– Configuring Nginx for this blog was no easy task. This blog is powered by WordPress. If you too have a WordPress blog then you MUST install the following WP plugins for performance. The Nginx config that I have shared assumes that these plugins are installed and takes full advantage of it.

    Must have WordPress plugins:-

    • WP Super Cache– Excellent plugin which generates static HTML files for your blog. Nobody updates their blog every minute. It’s not a Twitter. So, why generate that same page again and again for every user who visits you blog? The solution is to cache the generate page. Later when any user visits your blog then that user will be served the cached page. This saves a ton of overhead. Particularly when you are using Nginx, since, we run PHP and Nginx processes separately. So we can configure Nginx to serve the generated file, if present, and completely bypass PHP. This plugin is smart enough to refresh the cache when you make a new post or update it.

      Tip: Install this plugin after you have finalized your sites design, else you will have to manually clean the cache to make the site changes available.

    • WP Minify– This plugin strips out all the JS and CSS links from your blog and then combines them generate a unified CSS and JS. The result is cut down on the number of requests to your server for additional CSS and JS files. This plugin also minifies the combined CSS and JS files, which produces a much smaller file.

      Tip: If you install a new plugin after you install this one, and if that is not working, then try clearing the cache of this plugin. Since, it is possible that the new plugin will try to put some new CSS or JS which might get stripped out but not cached in the combined file.

Now its time for the configs.


nginx.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
user apache apache; #The uid and gid of the nginx process
worker_processes 4; #Number of worker processes that needs to be created.

error_log /var/log/error-n.log;

pid /usr/local/nginx/logs/nginx.pid;

events {
worker_connections 1000;
}

http {
include mime.types; #Includes a config file which is available with ngix’s default installation.
index index.html index.htm index.php index.shtml;

log_format main ‘$remote_addr – $remote_user [$time_local] "$request" ‘
‘$status $body_bytes_sent "$http_referer" ‘
‘"$http_user_agent" "$http_x_forwarded_for"’;

sendfile on;
keepalive_timeout 5;

gzip on;

# Sets the default type to text/html so that gzipped content is served
# as html, instead of raw uninterpreted data.
#default_type text/html;

server {#If someone tries to access the url http://applegrew.com/xxx then
#this will redirect him to http://www.applegrew.com/xxx.
server_name applegrew.com;
rewrite ^ http://www.applegrew.com$request_uri? permanent;
}

server {#The config for www.applegrew.com
server_name www.applegrew.com;

access_log /var/www/applegrew.com/access-n.log main; #Where access log will be written for this domain.
error_log /var/www/applegrew.com/error-n.log;

root /var/www/applegrew.com/html; #The document root for this domain.

location ~ /admin/ { deny all; } #Denies access to some www.applegrew.com/admin/ url
location ~ /private/ { deny all; }

include cacheCommon.conf; #This caches common static files. This config is given later in this post.
include drop.conf; #This config is given later in this post.
include php.conf; #Configures PHP access for this domain. This config is given later in this post.
include err.conf; #Some common custom error messages I show. This config is given later in this post.
}

server {#Config to serve HTTP traffic.
server_name fb.applegrew.com;

access_log /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/access.log main;
error_log /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/error.log;

root /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/html;

include cacheCommon.conf;
include php.conf;
include drop.conf;
include err.conf;
}

server {//Config to serve HTTPS traffic.
listen 443;
server_name fb.applegrew.com;

ssl on;
ssl_certificate /var/ssl/fb.applegrew.com.crt; #See http://goo.gl/mvHo7 to know how to create crt file.
ssl_certificate_key /var/ssl/fb_applegrew_com.key;

access_log /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/access.log main;
error_log /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/error.log;

root /var/www/fb.applegrew.com/html;

include cacheCommon.conf;
include phpssl.conf; #Notice the difference. This is not php.conf. This config will be provided later in this post.
include drop.conf;
include err.conf;
}

server {
server_name blog.applegrew.com;

access_log /var/www/blog.applegrew.com/access-n.log main;
error_log /var/www/blog.applegrew.com/error-n.log;

root /var/www/blog.applegrew.com/html;

#If tgz file mathcing the request already exists then that will be sent, skipping on the fly compression by nginx.
gzip_static on;

location / {
# does the requested file exist exactly as it is? if yes, serve it and stop here
if (-f $request_filename) { break; }

# sets some variables to help test for the existence of a cached copy of the request
set $supercache_file ”;
set $supercache_uri $request_uri;

# IF the request is a post, has a query attached, or a cookie
# then don’t serve the cache (ie: users logged in, or posting comments)
if ($request_method = POST) { set $supercache_uri ”; }
if ($query_string) { set $supercache_uri ”; }
if ($http_cookie ~* "comment_author_|wordpress|wp-postpass_" ) {
set $supercache_uri ”;
}

# if the supercache_uri variable hasn’t been blanked by this point, attempt
# to set the name of the destination to the possible cache file
if ($supercache_uri ~ ^(.+)$) {
set $supercache_file /wp-content/cache/supercache/$http_host/$1index.html;
}

# If a cache file of that name exists, serve it directly
if (-f $document_root$supercache_file) { rewrite ^ $supercache_file break; }

# Otherwise send the request back to index.php for further processing
if (!-e $request_filename) { rewrite . /index.php last; }

#try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php;
}
location ~ /wp-config\.php { deny all; }
location ~ /wp-content/bte-wb/.*\..* { deny all; }

include cacheCommon.conf;
include drop.conf;
include php.conf;
include err.conf;

#Let wordpress show its own error pages.
fastcgi_intercept_errors off;
}

server {
server_name cink.applegrew.com;

access_log /var/www/cink.applegrew.com/access-n.log main;
error_log /var/www/cink.applegrew.com/error-n.log;

root /var/www/cink.applegrew.com/html;

include cacheCommon.conf;
include drop.conf;
include err.conf;
}

server {#If none the above matched then maybe the url was accessed, (say) via the IP directly. We then show applegrew.com.
listen 80 default;
server_name _;
access_log /var/www/applegrew.com/access.log-n main;

server_name_in_redirect off;

rewrite ^ http://www.applegrew.com$request_uri? permanent;
include err.conf;
}
}
[/code]


cacheCommon.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
#Asks browsers to cache files with extension ico, css, gif, jpg, jpeg, png, txt and xml.
location ~* \.(?:ico|css|js|gif|jpe?g|png|txt|xml)$ {
# Some basic cache-control for static files to be sent to the browser
expires max;
add_header Pragma public;
add_header Cache-Control "public, must-revalidate, proxy-revalidate";
}
[/code]


drop.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
location = /favicon.ico { access_log off; log_not_found off; } #Don’t log this.
location ~ /\. { access_log off; log_not_found off; deny all; } #Block . (dot) files access
#Don’t log and deny access to files which end with ~, as these are usually backup files.
location ~ ~$ { access_log off; log_not_found off; deny all; }
[/code]


err.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
error_page 403 404 /404.html; # Yes for 403 too we show 404 error, just to mislead.
location = /50x.html {
root /home/webadmin/err/;
}
location = /404.html {
root /home/webadmin/err/;
}
[/code]


php.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
location ~ \.php { #All requests that end with .php are directed to PHP process.
include phpparams.conf; #This file is described later in this post.
}
[/code]


phpssl.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
location ~ \.php {#This the same as php.conf but adds few ssl specific configs.
fastcgi_param HTTPS on; #This sets $_SERVER[‘HTTPS’] to ‘on’.
fastcgi_param SSL_PROTOCOL $ssl_protocol; #This sets the $_SERVER[‘SSL_PROTOCOL’].
fastcgi_param SSL_CIPHER $ssl_cipher; #This sets the $_SERVER[‘SSL_CIPHER’].
fastcgi_param SSL_SESSION_ID $ssl_session_id; #This sets the $_SERVER[‘SSL_SESSION_ID’].
fastcgi_param SSL_CLIENT_VERIFY $ssl_client_verify; #This sets the $_SERVER[‘SSL_CLIENT_VERIFY’].

include phpparams.conf;
}
[/code]
We need to set the `$_SESSION` ourselves since unlike mod_php (in Apache), Php-Fpm is not embedded in Nginx and it doesn’t have these information available to it unless we set it. The above config doesn’t set all the flags a script might expect, but the usual ones. If need to set some more then go to Nginx HttpSslModule’s Built-in variables section.


phpparams.conf

[code lang=”cink”]
#PHP FastCGI
fastcgi_param QUERY_STRING $query_string;
fastcgi_param REQUEST_METHOD $request_method;
fastcgi_param CONTENT_TYPE $content_type;
fastcgi_param CONTENT_LENGTH $content_length;

fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME $fastcgi_script_name;
fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
fastcgi_param REQUEST_URI $request_uri;
fastcgi_param DOCUMENT_URI $document_uri;
fastcgi_param DOCUMENT_ROOT $document_root;
fastcgi_param SERVER_PROTOCOL $server_protocol;

fastcgi_param GATEWAY_INTERFACE CGI/1.1;
fastcgi_param SERVER_SOFTWARE nginx;

fastcgi_param REMOTE_ADDR $remote_addr;
fastcgi_param REMOTE_PORT $remote_port;
fastcgi_param SERVER_ADDR $server_addr;
fastcgi_param SERVER_PORT $server_port;
fastcgi_param SERVER_NAME $server_name;

fastcgi_connect_timeout 60;
fastcgi_send_timeout 180;
fastcgi_read_timeout 180;
fastcgi_buffer_size 128k;
fastcgi_buffers 4 256k;
fastcgi_busy_buffers_size 256k;
fastcgi_temp_file_write_size 256k;

fastcgi_pass unix:/usr/local/nginx/logs/php5-fpm.sock; #I have configured both Php-Fpm and Nginx to communicate via file sockets.
[/code]


/etc/php-fpm.conf

[code]
include=/etc/php-fpm.d/*.conf
pid = /var/run/php-fpm/php-fpm.pid
error_log = /var/log/php-fpm/error.log
log_level = error
[/code]


/etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf

[code]
[www]
listen = /usr/local/nginx/logs/php5-fpm.sock
listen.allowed_clients = 127.0.0.1
user = apache
group = apache

pm = dynamic
pm.max_children = 6; #This can be increased on 512MB RAM. For 256MB you ca use 2.
pm.start_servers = 3; #This can be increased. For 256MB you can use 1.
pm.min_spare_servers = 3; #This can be increased. For 256MB you can use 1.
pm.max_spare_servers = 5; #This can be increased. For 256MB you can use 1.
pm.max_requests = 500
slowlog = /var/log/php-fpm/www-slow.log
php_admin_value[error_log] = /var/log/php-fpm/www-error.log #All PHP errors will go into this.
php_admin_flag[log_errors] = on
[/code]
Note: The settings above are indicative. You need to experiment with different settings on your system. I have a MySql DB too running on the same system. In my case the minimal settings for 256MB RAM too cause problem. The PHP process used to choke after 4-5 days of running. So, finally I was forced to increase server RAM to 512MB.


/etc/init.d/nginxd

I wrote this shell script to start stop nginx as a service on my CentOS server.
[code lang=”bash”]
#!/bin/bash
# chkconfig: 235 85 15
# description: The Nginx Server is an efficient and extensible \
# server implementing the current HTTP standards.

cmd=/usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx #Change this to match your Nginx installation path.
start() {
pgrep ‘nginx$’ > /dev/null
if (( $? != 0 ))
then
echo ‘Staring nginx’
$cmd
RETVAL=$?
if (( $RETVAL == 0 ))
then
echo ‘Started successfully’
fi
else
echo ‘Nginx already running’
RETVAL=0
fi
}

RETVAL=0
case "$1" in
start)
start
;;
stop)
echo ‘Shutting down Nginx quickly’
$cmd -s stop
RETVAL=$?
;;
quit)
echo ‘Gracefully shutting down Nginx’
$cmd -s quit
RETVAL=$?
;;
restart)
echo ‘Stopping Nginx’
$cmd -s stop
start
;;
reload)
echo ‘Reloading cofig’
$cmd -s reload
RETVAL=$?
;;
reopen)
echo ‘Reopening log files’
$cmd -s reopen
RETVAL=$?
;;
help)
$cmd -?
RETVAL=$?
;;
test)
echo ‘Test config’
$cmd -t
RETVAL=$?
;;
*)
echo $"Usage: nginx {start|stop|quit|restart|reload|reopen|help|test}"
echo "stop – quick shutdown"
echo "quit – graceful shutdown"
echo "reload – close workers, load config, start new workers"
echo "reopen – reopen log files"
echo "test – only tests the config"
RETVAL=3
esac

exit $RETVAL
[/code]
You can install the above by copying the nginxd file to /etc/init.d then run
`sudo /sbin/chkconfig nginxd –add`
`sudo /sbin/chkconfig nginxd on`

You can the give commands to the script by
`sudo /sbin/service nginxd command here`


Well, I hope this post been helpful.

Site running on steriods or so I am told

I was told Nginx is superbly efficient and is the only way I can keep my server from being thrashed every two days. Yesterday I moved to Nginx. So far so good. If it runs fine for a week without issue then fine. Keeping my fingers crossed. Will post my Nginx configs then.

One more thing before I sign off. Apache processes are bloated since it has mod_php embedded in it. In case of Nginx you need to rung Php processes separately. So, in this case we must count the memory usage as the combined total of Nginx and Php. In many cases you will end up with the same memory size as that for Apache but there is a catch here.

Nginx processes have very low memory footprint and it can alone serve all the static files, very efficiently. This will cut down on a huge load since, on your WordPress powered blog too, there are loads of static files – images, Javascript, CSS, etc. Only the Php rendered page will tax the system, but hold on, here comes the second catch!

Your blog’s content doesn’t update every day or minute. So, why do we need to go to Php for each and every user and re-render the page again? Well we don’t need to. WP Supercache is a plugin for WordPress which does just that. It generates the static htmls of your pages and keeps them on the disk. Whenever you publish something then it will update the related static html. Cool isn’t it. What is cooler is then you can configure Nginx to directly pickup that generated static html from disk and serve it to the user, completely bypassing the bloated Php. 🙂 Only when it doesn’t find the needed static html file then it will need to go to Php to generate it.

Installing nodeJs in Windows (The easiest way)

The immensely exciting nodejs is not really made to run on Windows, but like me, if you want to develop on a Windows system then you will need to install it on Windows.

Installing nodeJs on Windows

  1. Get the Windows binary from http://node-js.prcn.co.cc/. Download the complete package. The current version is 0.4.4. You can download it from http://node-js.prcn.co.cc/bin/0.4.4/node-0.4.4-i686-pc-cygwin-complete.7z.
  2. Create a directory (preferably with no spaces in its full path) and extract the contents of above 7z file into that. (You will need free 7zip to extract it.) Let this directory be C:\node.
  3. Create folder etc in the above folder, i.e. inside C:\node. So etc folder will be in the same folder as bin, lib etc folders.
  4. Inside the above etc folder create a file resolv.conf.
  5. Inside the above file paste the following:-
    nameserver 8.8.8.8
    nameserver 8.8.4.4

Using npm

npm is the popular package manager for nodejs now. So, to be able to use this is absolutely necessary.

  1. Launch cmd (Windows Command).
  2. Type cd C:\node\bin (if node is folder where you extracted the node binaries).
  3. Type shell.
  4. Now run your npm as – node npm install <package name> (without the angle brackets of course).

 

Important links for HDFC Credit/Debit Card owners.

HDFC Credit Cards are good but their site suck, at least the site navigation and the number of places you need to register. Below are the vital links that every HDFC Credit Card users must bookmark.

Credit Card Important Links:-

Debit Card Important Link:-

Fix non-stop repeated proxy authentication dialog box in FireFox.

If repeated proxy authentication in Firefox bugging you so much, here is the trick to fix it. I tried and it is working fine.

  1. In FF Location bar, type about:config, and press Enter.
    “This might void your warranty!” warning page may appear. Click I’ll be careful, I promise!, to continue to the about:config page.
  2. In the about:config page, search for the preference “network.negotiate-auth.allow-proxies”.
  3. Double-click on it and will see the value will change to false.
  4. Restart FF and get rid of Proxy Authentication pop up.

Your pen drive bigger than 4GB?

Do you know that pen drives are formatted in FAT32? Do you know that maximum file size supported by FAT32 is 4GB? Did you ever try to copy files bigger than 4GB in your pen drive, only to be confronted by some error?

Today we have pen drives of 8GB, 32GB and more capacity ones are coming. It is natural that we try to copy files which are bigger than 4GB into them. Unfortunately FAT32 does not support single files bigger than 4GB. You need to format your pen drive in NTFS for that.

In Windows (XP) when you try to format the pen drive you are provided with FAT32 as the only option. This is probably because of portable nature of pen drives. In NTFS you can set permissions and encrypt files too. These files then may not open on other computers. Furthermore, NTFS needs more writing than FAT32. This is maybe because of the small cluster size of NTFS.

To be able to format pen drives in NTFS you will need to enable “Optimize for Performance” mode. Ples follow through the steps of this excellent article – http://blog.eches.net/tips/how-to-format-usb-drive-with-ntfs/. Ubuntu users should know that this OS already runs in optimized for performance mode.