NGINX buildpack

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You can push your NGINX app to Cloud Foundry and configure your NGINX app to use the NGINX buildpack.

Push an app

If your app contains an nginx.conf file, Cloud Foundry automatically uses the NGINX buildpack when you run cf push to deploy your app.

If your Cloud Foundry deployment does not have the NGINX buildpack installed or the installed version is outdated, deploy your app with the current buildpack by running:

cf push YOUR-APP -b

Where YOUR-APP is the name of your app.

For example:

$ cf push my-app -b

Configure NGINX

Cloud Foundry recommends that you use the default NGINX directory structure for your NGINX web server. You can view this directory structure in the nginx-buildpack repository in GitHub.

Configure the NGINX web server. You need these elements.

  • A root directory for all static web content
  • A MIME type configuration file
  • An NGINX configuration file
  • A buildpack.yml YAML file that defines the version of NGINX to use. For example, see buildpack.yml Buildpack repository in GitHub.

Make any custom configuration changes based on these default files to verify compatibility with the buildpack.

Create the nginx.conf file

Use the templating syntax when you create an nginx.conf file. This templating syntax loads modules and binds to ports based on values known at start time.


Use {{port}} to set the port on which to listen. At start time, {{port}} interpolates in the value of $PORT.

You must use {{port}} in your nginx.conf file.

For example, to set an NGINX server to listen on $PORT, include the following in your nginx.conf file:

server {
  listen {{port}};

Name resolution

The NGINX buildpack does not resolve internal routes by default. To resolve internal routes, use {{nameservers}} to set the resolver IP address. At start time, {{nameservers}} interpolates the address of a platform-provided DNS service that includes information about internal routes.

Connections to internal routes do not go through the Cloud Foundry routing tier. As a result, you might see errors if you proxy an app on an internal route while it is restarting. There are some workarounds you might need to consider.

For more information, see Using DNS for Service Discovery with NGINX and NGINX Plus on the NGINX blog.

Environment variables

To use an environment variable, include {{env "YOUR-VARIABLE"}}, where YOUR-VARIABLE is the name of an environment variable. At staging and at startup, the current value of the environment variable is retrieved.

For example, include the following in your nginx.conf file to activate or deactivate GZipping based on the value of GZIP_DOWNLOADS:

gzip {{env "GZIP_DOWNLOADS"}};
  • If you set GZIP_DOWNLOADS to off, NGINX does not GZip files.
  • If you set GZIP_DOWNLOADS to on, NGINX GZips files.

Unescaped environment variables

To use unescaped environment variables, add an array of environment variable names to the buildpack.yml. See the following example:

  version: stable
    - "OVERRIDE"

In this example, the OVERRIDE environment variable can contain .json content without being html escaped. You must properly quote such variables to appear as strings in the nginx.conf file.

Loading dynamic modules

NGINX can dynamically load modules at runtime. These modules are shared-object files that can be dynamically loaded using the load_module directive. In addition to loading modules dynamically, the NGINX version provided by the buildpack has statically compiled the following modules into the NGINX binary:

  • ngx_http_ssl_module
  • ngx_http_realip_module
  • ngx_http_gunzip_module
  • ngx_http_gzip_static_module
  • ngx_http_auth_request_module
  • ngx_http_random_index_module
  • ngx_http_secure_link_module
  • ngx_http_stub_status_module
  • ngx_http_sub_module

These statically compiled modules do not need to be loaded at runtime and are already available for use.

To load a dynamic NGINX module, use the following syntax in the app nginx.conf file for your app:

{{module "MODULE-NAME"}}

If you have provided a module in a modules directory located at the root of your app, the buildpack instructs NGINX to load that module. If you have not provided a module, the buildpack instructs NGINX to search for a matching built in dynamic module.

As of v0.0.5 of the buildpack, the ngx_stream_module is available as a dynamic module that is built into the buildpack.

For example, to load a custom module named ngx_hello_module, provide a modules/ file in your app directory and add the line below to the top of your nginx.conf file:

{{module "ngx_hello_module"}}

To load a built in module like ngx_stream_module, add the following line to the top of your nginx.conf file. You do not need to provide an file:

{{module "ngx_stream_module"}}

To name your modules directory something other than modules, use the NGINX loadmodule directive, providing a path to the module relative to the location of your nginx.conf file. For example: loadmodule somemoduledir/

Enable logging

By default, logging is deactivated in the NGINX buildpack. This helps optimize performance.

If you configure NGINX to log to stdout or stderr, the logs are captured by the Cloud Foundry logging subsystem.

Logging access

Use the access_log directive in the appropriate location in the nginx.conf to enable access logging. Use the following syntax:

access_log <file> [format]



access_log /dev/stdout;

Logging errors

Set the debug level with the error_log directive in the nginx.conf to enable debug logging. Add the error_log entry to your nginx.conf file using the syntax below:

error_log <file> [level];


  • file is the name of the file where the log is to be stored. The special value stderr selects the standard error file. Logging to syslog can be configured by specifying the “syslog:” prefix.
  • level specifies the level of logging, and can be one of the following:

    • debug
    • info
    • notice
    • warn
    • error (default)
    • crit
    • alert
    • emerg

The log levels above are listed in the order of increasing severity. Setting a certain log level causes all messages of the specified and more severe log levels to be logged. For example, the default level error causes error, crit, alert, and emerg messages to be logged. If this parameter is omitted, then error is used.


error_log stderr debug;

Debug logs for selected clients

To enable the debugging log for selected client addresses only, use the syntax below.

error_log stderr;

events {

Logging to a cyclic memory buffer

The debugging log can be written to a cyclic memory buffer. Use the syntax shown below.

error_log memory:32m debug;

Logging to the memory buffer on the debug level does not have significant impact on performance, even under high load. In this case, the log can be extracted using a gdb script like the one in the following example:

set $log = ngx_cycle->log

while $log->writer != ngx_log_memory_writer
set $log = $log->next

set $buf = (ngx_log_memory_buf_t *) $log->wdata
dump binary memory debug_log.txt $buf->start $buf->end

NGINX buildpack support

The resources listed in this section can assist you when using the NGINX buildpack or when developing your own NGINX buildpack.

View the source for this page in GitHub