// Tutorial //

How To Redirect www to Non-www with Nginx on CentOS 7

Published on May 4, 2015
Default avatar
By Mitchell Anicas
Developer and author at DigitalOcean.
How To Redirect www to Non-www with Nginx on CentOS 7

Introduction

When you have your web site or application up and running behind a domain, it is often desirable to also allow your users access to it via the plain domain name and the www subdomain. That is, they should be able to visit your domain with or without the “www.” prefix, e.g. example.com or www.example.com, in a web browser, and be presented with the same content. While there are a variety of ways to set this up, the best solution, for consistency and SEO considerations, is to choose which domain you prefer, plain or www, and redirect the other one to the preferred domain. This type of redirect is called a Permanent Redirect, or “301 redirect”, and can be easily set up by properly configuring your DNS resource records and web server software.

This tutorial will show you how to redirect a www URL to non-www, e.g. www.example.com to example.com, with Nginx on CentOS 7. We will also show you how to redirect in the other direction, from a non-www URL to www. The Ubuntu 14.04 version of this tutorial is available here.

If you want to perform this type of redirect with Apache as your web server, you should follow this tutorial instead: How to Redirect www to non-www with Apache on CentOS 7.

Prerequisites

This tutorial assumes that you have superuser privileges, i.e. sudo or root, on the server that is running Nginx. If you don’t already have that set up, follow this tutorial: Initial Server Setup on CentOS 7.

It is assumed that you have Nginx installed. If you do not already have this set up, there are several tutorials on the subject under the Nginx tag.

You must be able to add records to the DNS that is managing your domain. If you do not already have a domain, you may purchase one from a domain registrar, and manage it with the registrar’s DNS or DigitalOcean’s DNS. In this tutorial, we will use the DigitalOcean DNS to create the necessary records.

Let’s get started by configuring your DNS records.

Configure DNS Records

In order to set up the desired redirect, www.example.com to example.com or vice versa, you must have an A record for each name.

Open whatever you use to manage your DNS. For our example, we’ll use the DigitalOcean DNS.

If a domain (also known as a zone) record does not already exist, create one now. The hostname should be your domain, e.g. example.com, and the IP address should be set to the public IP address of your Nginx server. This will automatically create an A record that points your domain to the IP address that you specified. If you are using another system to manage your domain, you may need to add this manually.

Next, add another A record with “www” as the hostname (or “www.example.com” if the partial subdomain doesn’t work), and specify the same IP address.

When you have created both records, it should look something like this:

Required A records

Note: This will also work with CNAME records, as long as the canonical name’s A record refers to the IP address of your Nginx web server.

Now your server should be accessible via the www and non-www domain, but we still need to set up the redirect. We’ll do that now.

Configure Nginx Redirect

In order to perform the 301 redirect, you must add a new Nginx server block that points to your original server block.

Open your Nginx server block configuration in an editor. We’ll add another configuration file in the Nginx include directory, /etc/nginx/conf.d called redirect.conf:

sudo vi /etc/nginx/conf.d/redirect.conf

Your original server block should already be defined. Depending on which direction you want to redirect, use one of the following options.

Option 1: Redirect www to non-www

If you want redirect users from www to a plain, non-www domain, insert this configuration:

New Server Block — www to non-www
server {
    server_name www.example.com;
    return 301 $scheme://example.com$request_uri;
}

Save and exit. This configures Nginx to redirect requests to “www.example.com” to “example.com”. Note that there should be another server block that defines your non-www web server.

To put the changes into effect, restart Nginx:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Note that if you are using HTTPS, the listen directive should be set to port 443 instead of 80.

Use this curl command to ensure that the non-www domain redirects to the www domain (replace the highlighted part with your actual domain):

curl -I http://www.example.com

You should get a 301 Moved Permanently response, that shows the non-www redirect location, like this:

Output:
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently Server: nginx/1.4.6 (Ubuntu) Date: Mon, 04 May 2015 18:20:19 GMT Content-Type: text/html Content-Length: 193 Connection: keep-alive Location: http://example.com/

Of course, you should access your domain in a web browser (www and non-www) to be sure.

Option 2: Redirect non-www to www

If you want redirect users from a plain, non-www domain to a www domain, add this server block:

New Server Block — non-www to www
server {
    server_name example.com;
    return 301 $scheme://www.example.com$request_uri;
}

Save and exit. This configures Nginx to redirect requests to “example.com” to “www.example.com”. Note that there should be another server block that defines your www web server.

To put the changes into effect, restart Nginx:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Note that if you are using HTTPS, the listen directive should be set to port 443 instead of 80.

Use this curl command to ensure that the non-www domain redirects to the www domain (replace the highlighted part with your actual domain):

curl -I http://example.com

You should get a 301 Moved Permanently response, that shows the www redirect location, like this:

Output:
HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently Server: nginx/1.4.6 (Ubuntu) Date: Mon, 04 May 2015 18:20:19 GMT Content-Type: text/html Content-Length: 193 Connection: keep-alive Location: http://www.example.com/

Of course, you should access your domain in a web browser (www and non-www) to be sure.

Conclusion

That’s it! Your Nginx permanent redirect is now configured properly, and your users will be able to access your web server via your non-www and www domain.


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Developer and author at DigitalOcean.

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10 Comments

You don’t need a new server block for this task. Just use this if statement in your existing server block.

if ( $http_host ~* "www\.(.*)") {
                 rewrite ^ http://$1$request_uri permanent;
}

How can I modify the web server config of a DigitalOcean App, serving a Hugo website? I am able to generate a .htaccess file during ‘hugo build’, but seems like your web server is not Apache so it does not work.

Hey Mitchell,

After following your directions I had to delete the cname to add the extra aname in cloudflare (now all i have is two anames)

Continuing with your directions I found that there was not a redirect.conf in the conf.d folder so I created one and added only what you specified.

But my curl doesn’t look like your curl, is this a problem?

But when i do a curl, it instead look like this:

curl -I https://www.springfield-ohio-post.com
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Thu, 05 Dec 2019 17:30:54 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Connection: keep-alive
Set-Cookie: __cfduid=d17929c0841719a36a96f95adcf97db8e1575567054; expires=Sat, 04-Jan-20 17:30:54 GMT; path=/; domain=.springfield-ohio-post.com; HttpOnly; Secure
Last-Modified: Thu, 05 Dec 2019 16:20:58 GMT
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Referrer-Policy: no-referrer
CF-Cache-Status: DYNAMIC
Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload
Alt-Svc: h3-23=":443"; ma=86400
Expect-CT: max-age=604800, report-uri="https://report-uri.cloudflare.com/cdn-cgi/beacon/expect-ct"
Server: cloudflare
CF-RAY: 5407c0283a42e3ce-ATL

p.s. I see up there something about httponly (but I’m https)

I need to mention you need to add listen directive to server block without it Nginx will redirect it to default host

server {   listen [::]:80;
         server_name www.example.com ; 
         return 301 $scheme://example.com$request_uri; 
}

Everythings seems ok but when I access home I see 404 page. And If I use the .htaccess from ubuntu the example.com is redirected to example.com/index.php I don’t want these index.php

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently … Content-Type: text/html Content-Length: 193 Connection: keep-alive Location: http://www.example.com/

server { listen 80;

    root /var/www/html/example;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;

server_name example.com; return 301 $scheme://www.example.com$request_uri; # error_page 401 403 404 /404.html;

location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ @proxy;
}

location @proxy {
    proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8080;
    proxy_set_header Host $host;
    proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
}

location ~ \.php$ {
    proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:8080;
    proxy_set_header Host $host;
    proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
}

     location ~ /\. {
            deny all;
    }

location ~* .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|ico|css|js|swf)$ {
    expires 365d;
}

}

If you are making this server config redirect for a WordPress install make sure to log into the Dashboard -> Settings -> General before you restart nginx.

Modify the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to match the www .example.com or example.com you configured as the default in your nginx config. Make sure you click the [Save Changes] button, then restart nginx. Do it in this order. Otherwise, you will find your server in an endless redirect loop.

As I often work with multiple domain-names and I like to keep my configs as clean and rock solid as possible I almost always use regex with nginx.

Following redirects any subdomain.domain.tld into domain.tld.

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name ~^((?<subdomain>.*)\.)(?<domain>[^.]+)\.(?<tld>[^.]+)$;
    return 301 $scheme://${domain}.${tld};
}

If you want to redirect a subdomain to a page this is possible as well:

server {
    listen 80;
    server_name ~^((?<subdomain>.*)\.)(?<domain>[^.]+)\.(?<tld>[^.]+)$;
    return 301 $scheme://${domain}.${tld}/${subdomain};
}

Now any subdomain.domain.tld gets redirected to domain.tld/subdomain.

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