How To Install Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04 [Quickstart]

Published on July 23, 2018
How To Install Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04 [Quickstart]


Nginx is one of the most popular web servers in the world and is responsible for hosting some of the largest and highest-traffic sites on the internet. It is more resource-friendly than Apache in most cases and can be used as a web server or reverse proxy.

In this guide, we’ll explain how to install Nginx on your Ubuntu 18.04 server. For a more detailed version of this tutorial, please refer to How To Install Nginx on Ubuntu 18.04.


Before you begin this guide, you should have the following:

  • An Ubuntu 18.04 server and a regular, non-root user with sudo privileges. Additionally, you will need to enable a basic firewall to block non-essential ports. You can learn how to configure a regular user account and set up a firewall by following our initial server setup guide for Ubuntu 18.04.

When you have an account available, log in as your non-root user to begin.

Step 1 – Installing Nginx

Because Nginx is available in Ubuntu’s default repositories, you can install it using the apt packaging system.

Update your local package index:

  1. sudo apt update

Install Nginx:

  1. sudo apt install nginx

Step 2 – Adjusting the Firewall

If you followed the prerequisite server setup tutorial, then you have the UFW firewall enabled. Check the available ufw application profiles with the following command:

  1. sudo ufw app list
Available applications: Nginx Full Nginx HTTP Nginx HTTPS OpenSSH

Let’s enable the most restrictive profile that will still allow the traffic you’ve configured, permitting traffic on port 80:

  1. sudo ufw allow 'Nginx HTTP'

Verify the change:

  1. sudo ufw status
Status: active To Action From -- ------ ---- OpenSSH ALLOW Anywhere Nginx HTTP ALLOW Anywhere OpenSSH (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6) Nginx HTTP (v6) ALLOW Anywhere (v6)

Step 3 – Checking your Web Server

Check with the systemd init system to make sure the service is running by typing:

  1. systemctl status nginx
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled) Active: active (running) since Fri 2018-04-20 16:08:19 UTC; 3 days ago Docs: man:nginx(8) Main PID: 2369 (nginx) Tasks: 2 (limit: 1153) CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service ├─2369 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; └─2380 nginx: worker process

Access the default Nginx landing page to confirm that the software is running properly through your IP address:


You should see the default Nginx landing page:

Nginx default page

When using the Nginx web server, you can use server blocks (similar to virtual hosts in Apache) to encapsulate configuration details and host more than one domain from a single server. We will set up a domain called example.com, but you should replace this with your own domain name. To learn more about setting up a domain name with DigitalOcean, see our introduction to DigitalOcean DNS.

Create the directory for example.com, using the -p flag to create any necessary parent directories:

  1. sudo mkdir -p /var/www/example.com/html

Assign ownership of the directory:

  1. sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /var/www/example.com/html

The permissions of your web roots should be correct if you haven’t modified your umask value, but you can make sure by typing:

  1. sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/example.com

Create a sample index.html page using nano or your favorite editor:

  1. nano /var/www/example.com/html/index.html

Inside, add the following sample HTML:

        <title>Welcome to Example.com!</title>
        <h1>Success!  The example.com server block is working!</h1>

Save and close the file when you are finished.

Make a new server block at /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com:

  1. sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com

Paste in the following configuration block, updated for our new directory and domain name:

server {
        listen 80;
        listen [::]:80;

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

        server_name example.com www.example.com;

        location / {
                try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

Save and close the file when you are finished.

Enable the file by creating a link from it to the sites-enabled directory:

  1. sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Two server blocks are now enabled and configured to respond to requests based on their listen and server_name directives:

  • example.com: Will respond to requests for example.com and www.example.com.
  • default: Will respond to any requests on port 80 that do not match the other two blocks.

To avoid a possible hash bucket memory problem that can arise from adding additional server names, it is necessary to adjust a single value in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file. Open the file:

  1. sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Find the server_names_hash_bucket_size directive and remove the # symbol to uncomment the line:

http {
    server_names_hash_bucket_size 64;

Test for syntax errors:

  1. sudo nginx -t

Restart Nginx to enable your changes:

  1. sudo systemctl restart nginx

Nginx should now be serving your domain name. You can test this by navigating to http://example.com, where you should see something like this:

Nginx first server block


Now that you have your web server installed, you have many options for the type of content to serve and the technologies you want to use to create a richer experience.

If you’d like to build out a more complete application stack, check out this article on how to configure a LEMP stack on Ubuntu 18.04.

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i have installed it and everything is working fine, but is not connected to my django application, pls how do i connect it.

I keep receiving the error: “ln: failed to create symbolic link, file exists” when I try to link my site available to the site enabled directory.


I like DO tutorials, neat. But here we need to keep in mind that in order the firewall to kick in we need to enable it with: “ufw enable”

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