Few nginx.conf configuration options for Nginx to improve webserver performance

Nginx server main logo with russian star
From my previous two articles How to install nginx webserver from source on Debian Linux / Install Latest Nginx on Debian and How to enable output compression (gzipfile content compression) in nginx webserver , I have explained how the Nginx server can be installed and configured easily.

As I’m continuing my nginx adventures this days, by trying to take the best out of the installed nginx server, I’ve found few configuration options, which does improve nginx’s server performance and thought it might be nice to share it here in hope that some other nginx novice might benefit out if them.
To setup and start using the options you will have of course to place the conf directives in /usr/local/nginx/conf/nginx.conf or wherever your nginx.conf is located.

The configuration options should be placed in nginx’s conf section which starts up with:

http {

Here are the configuration options useful in hastening my nginx’s performance:

1. General options nginx settings

## General Options
ignore_invalid_headers on;
keepalive_requests 2000;
recursive_error_pages on;
server_name_in_redirect off;
server_tokens off;

2. Connection timeout nginx settings

## Timeouts
client_body_timeout 60;
client_header_timeout 60;
keepalive_timeout 60 60;
send_timeout 60;
expires 24h;

3. server options for better nginx tcp/ip performance

## TCP options
tcp_nodelay on;
tcp_nopush on;

4. Increase the number of nginx worker processes

Somewhere near the beginning of nginx.conf file you should have the directive option:

worker_processes 1;

Make sure you change this option to:

worker_processes 4;

This will increase the number of spawned nginx worker processes in a way that more spawned threaded servers will await for client connections:

Being done with all the above settings, as a next step you have to restart the nginx server, in my case via the init script:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/nginx restart
Restarting nginx: nginx.

Now to check everything is fine with nginx and more specific that the worker_processes 4 options has taken place issue the command:

debian:~# ps axu |grep -i nginx|grep -v grep
root 20456 0.0 0.0 25280 816 ? Ss 10:35 0:00 nginx: master process /usr/local/nginx/sbin/nginx
nobody 20457 0.0 0.0 25844 1820 ? S 10:35 0:00 nginx: worker process
nobody 20458 0.0 0.0 25624 1376 ? S 10:35 0:00 nginx: worker process
nobody 20459 0.0 0.0 25624 1376 ? S 10:35 0:00 nginx: worker process
nobody 20460 0.0 0.0 25624 1368 ? S 10:35 0:00 nginx: worker process

Above you notice the 4 nginx processes running with user nobody, they’re the same configured worker_processes I just pointed out above.

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2 Responses to “Few nginx.conf configuration options for Nginx to improve webserver performance”

  1. hip0 says:
    Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

    Few other options, which you might consider playing with are the nginx size limits:

    ## Size Limits
    client_body_buffer_size 8k;
    client_header_buffer_size 1k;
    client_max_body_size 1k;
    large_client_header_buffers 1 1k;

    Try to change the values to accustomize it to your specific server requirements.

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  2. hip0 says:
    Epiphany 2.30.6 Epiphany 2.30.6 Debian GNU/Linux x64 Debian GNU/Linux x64
    Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0 Safari/531.2+ Debian/squeeze (2.30.6-1) Epiphany/2.30.6

    Note that the client_body_buffer_size: should match the size of the largest page you are going to serve, otherwise you will experience problems.

    Another options which you might find useful as a mean of nginx speed up is:
    proxy_buffering on

    Also timer_resolution: might save some kernel syscalls and boost up the nginx server.

    But I have experimented with it, according to online documentation it is useless on operating systems like Linux, but if the nginx server is running on NetBSD or FreeBSD, it’s a value worthy to experiment with.

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