Useful Nginx Server Blocks

In the past weeks I set up some different webservers with Nginx. Nginx is more leightweight and easy to handle than Apache2.

There are alot of different usages for webservers. Some are reverse proxy, https, static sites, clouds or php. In this article I wanna share my experiences with different server blocks for some of these cases. It’s basically more a little wiki.

Redirect www to non-www Traffic

This solution works for any subdomain. You can also adjust the server_names to redirect from non-www to www Traffic.

#redirect all www to non-www Traffic
server {
    listen 443 ssl;
    listen [::]:443 ssl;

    server_name www.example.com;

    ssl_certificate /path/to/certificate.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /path/to/certificate.pem;

    return 301 https://example.com$request_uri;
}

Redirect Http to Https Traffic

#redirect all http to https Traffic
server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;

    #the underscore is a wildcard for every server name
    server_name _;

    return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
}

SSL Optimization

This server block is 90% based on this article about optimizing your https server block. It also explains what every line is doing.

ssl on;

ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:20m;
ssl_session_timeout 120m;

ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;

add_header Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains" always;

ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_ciphers ECDH+AESGCM:ECDH+AES256:ECDH+AES128:DHE+AES128:!ADH:!AECDH:!MD5;

ssl_dhparam /etc/nginx/cert/dhparam.pem;

ssl_stapling on;
ssl_stapling_verify on;

Serving Static Files with SSL

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2 default_server;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2 default_server;

    server_name example.com;

    #include ssl custom settings for more safety and faster loading
    #optional (see chapter 'SSL optimization')
    #include /path/to/ssl/optimization.conf;

    ssl_certificate /path/to/certificate.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /path/to/certificate.pem;

    #path to root directory for your files
    root /var/www/homepage;

    #paths for custom index and error pages. (optional)
    #error_page 404 404.html;
    #index index.html;

    #deny all requests for any access files
    location ~ /\.ht {
        deny all;
    }

    #try to serve files, otherwise show 404 page
    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
    }
}

Reverse Proxy for large File-Transfer

I struggled alot when using a reverse proxy for large file transfers for example when setting up a cloud (like NextCloud) behind a reverse proxy.
These are my recommended settings which caused the least problems.

server {
    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;

    server_name example.com;

    #include ssl custom settings for more safety and faster loading
    #optional (see chapter 'SSL optimization')
    #include /path/to/ssl/optimization.conf;

    ssl_certificate /path/to/certificate.pem;
    ssl_certificate_key /path/to/certificate.pem;

    #zero mean unlimited. you can upload any filesize you want
    client_max_body_size 0;
    underscores_in_headers on;

    location ~ {
        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;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection $http_connection;
        proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding "";
        proxy_set_header Proxy_Connection $http_connection;
        
        resolver 8.8.8.8;
        
        proxy_headers_hash_max_size 512;
        proxy_headers_hash_bucket_size 64;

        add_header Front-End-Https on;
        proxy_redirect off;
        proxy_buffering off;
        proxy_max_temp_file_size 0;

        proxy_pass http://domaintopass.com;
    }
}
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