nginx syntax error - listen directive not allowed


I have been following through a few different articles, but am now getting an error.

"listen" directive not allowed here...

listen [::]:443 ssl; # managed by certbot

After I set up certbot it was fine, so I’m not sure what else I have done to affect it.

The only change I have made to the file is adding WordPress bits as below.

    location = /favicon.ico { log_not_found off; access_log off; }
    location = /robots.txt { log_not_found off; access_log off; allow all; }
    location ~* \.(css|gif|ico|jpeg|jpg|js|png)$ {
        expires max;
        log_not_found off;


    location / {
        #try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
        try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$args;

Any help is much appreciated.

Submit an answer

This textbox defaults to using Markdown to format your answer.

You can type !ref in this text area to quickly search our full set of tutorials, documentation & marketplace offerings and insert the link!

Sign In or Sign Up to Answer

These answers are provided by our Community. If you find them useful, show some love by clicking the heart. If you run into issues leave a comment, or add your own answer to help others.

Accepted Answer

Hi there,

Can you run the following command to test your Nginx config syntax:

sudo nginx -t

And then share the output here.

Also, can you share your whole Nginx server block here as well?

Regards, Bobby

Want to learn more? Join the DigitalOcean Community!

Join our DigitalOcean community of over a million developers for free! Get help and share knowledge in Q&A, subscribe to topics of interest, and get courses and tools that will help you grow as a developer and scale your project or business.

Thanks @bobbyiliev for your assistance.

server {

        root /var/www/;
        index index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;


        location = /favicon.ico { log_not_found off; access_log off;}
        location = /robots.txt { log_not_found off; access_log off; allow all; }
        location ~* \.(css|gif|ico|jpeg|jpg|js|png)$ {
                expires max;
                log_not_found off;

        location / {
        #       try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php$is_args$args;

        location ~ \.php$ {
                include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.4-fpm.sock;

        location ~ /\.ht {
                deny all;


    listen [::]:443 ssl ipv6only=on; # managed by Certbot
    listen 443 ssl; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/; # managed by Certbot
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot

server {
    if ($host = {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    } # managed by Certbot

total 232K
drwxr-x---  6 general general 4.0K Dec 31 19:11 .
drwxr-xr-x  6 root    root    4.0K Jan  2 14:13 ..
drwxr-x---  2 general general 4.0K Dec 31 18:58 html
-rw-r-----  1 general general  405 Feb  6  2020 index.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general  20K Feb 12  2020 license.txt
-rw-r-----  1 general general 7.2K Jun 26  2020 readme.html
-rw-r-----  1 general general 7.0K Jul 28 17:20 wp-activate.php
drwxr-x---  9 general general 4.0K Dec  8 22:13 wp-admin
-rw-r-----  1 general general  351 Feb  6  2020 wp-blog-header.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 2.3K Oct  8 21:15 wp-comments-post.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 3.2K Dec 31 18:30 wp-config.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 2.9K Feb  6  2020 wp-config-sample.php
drwxr-x---  4 general general 4.0K Dec  8 22:13 wp-content
-rw-r-----  1 general general 3.9K Jul 30 19:14 wp-cron.php
drwxr-x--- 25 general general  12K Dec  8 22:13 wp-includes
-rw-r-----  1 general general 2.5K Feb  6  2020 wp-links-opml.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 3.3K Feb  6  2020 wp-load.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general  49K Nov  9 10:53 wp-login.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 8.4K Apr 14  2020 wp-mail.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general  21K Nov 12 14:43 wp-settings.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general  31K Sep 30 21:54 wp-signup.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 4.7K Oct  8 21:15 wp-trackback.php
-rw-r-----  1 general general 3.2K Jun  8  2020 xmlrpc.php