Posts Tagged ‘output compression’

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

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

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.

How to enable output compression (gzipfile content compression) in nginx webserver

Friday, April 8th, 2011

I have recently installed and configured a Debian Linux server with nginx
. Since then I’ve been testing around different ways to optimize the nginx performance.

In my nginx quest, one of the most crucial settings which dramatically improved the end client performance was enabling the so called output compression which in Apache based servers is also known as content gzip compression .
In Apache webservers the content gzip compression is provided by a server module called mod_deflate .

The output compression nginx settings saves a lot of bandwidth and though it adds up a bit more load to the server, the plain text files like html, xml, js and css’s download time reduces drasticly as they’re streamed to the browser in gzip compressed format.
This little improvement in download speed also does impact the overall end user browser experience and therefore improves the browsing speed experience with websites.

If you have already had experience nginx you already know it is a bit fastidious and you have to be very careful with it’s configuration, however thanksfully enabling the gzip compression was actually rather easier than I thought.

Here is what I added in my nginx config to enable output compression:

## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

Important note here is that need to add this code in the nginx configuration block starting with:

http {
....
## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

In order to load the gzip output compression as a next step you need to restart the nginx server, either by it’s init script if you use one or by killing the old nginx server instances and starting up the nginx server binary again:
I personally use an init script, so restarting nginx for me is done via the cmd:

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

Now to test if the output gzip compression is enabled for nginx, you can simply use telnet

hipo@linux:~$ telnet your-nginx-webserver-domain.com 80
Escape character is '^]'.

After the Escape character is set ‘^]’ appears on your screen type in the blank space:

HEAD / HTTP/1.0

and press enter twice.
The output which should follow should look like:


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The whole transaction with telnet command issued and the nginx webserver output should look like so:

hipo@linux:~$ telnet your-nginx-webserver-domain.com 80
Trying xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx...
Connected to your-nginx-webserver-domain.com
.Escape character is '^]'.
HEAD / HTTP/1.0

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The important message in the returned output which confirms your nginx output compression is properly configured is:

Vary: Accept-Encoding

If this message is returned by your nginx server, this means your nginx now will distribute it’s content to it’s clients in compressed format and apart from the browsing boost a lot of server and client bandwitdth will be saved.