While I was working on the production environment for PlaylistShare, I encountered some problems, or at least some questions I have to answer before proceeding.
One of these questions is: what web server will I use? I want to dockerize the application, so my first thought was to include the web server directly into the
docker-compose.yml. But this article made me think a little further, and finally, I decided to install the web server outside of Docker.
I migrated from Apache to nginx for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I want to use the proxy features for running this website and dockerized application, and it is way simpler with nginx than Apache. The configuration is a lot less verbose, and it is very human-readable.
That’s all for the context; I will write a blog post about the process of putting my app into production. But here, we are talking about Apache / nginx migration.
One last piece of information, though: my server runs on Debian/Linux.
This is the more straightforward step: just install nginx. The service will not start because Apache is still running on port 80.
If you want to use php - and I think you will eventually - you have to install php-fpm
apt-get install php-fpm
Next, we change the port in the default config file
/etc/nginx/sites-available/default to test if nginx works properly.
Just replace this line
Then start the service with
service nginx start
Navigate to your server, and check if it returns what it should.
Once that’s done, stop the service for now.
service nginx stop
Second step, we need to convert Apache’s configuration file to nginx’s ones.
It’s the step with the most pitfalls because the conf files are not the same at all. In Apache, we configure Virtual Hosts; in nginx, it’s “server.”
Here’s what my Apache configuration looks like (I fused the two vhosts for convenience):
One thing we’ll see very fast is that the nginx conf file is not as verbose - I’m sure it can be, but for my usage, it is not.
For the first vhost with port 80, it just redirects to the https version of the website, so the configuration for nginx is really simple:
In my opinion, that was when I knew I would love nginx, and I didn’t even scratch the surface yet.
Be careful not to forget the semi-colon at the end of each line. I forgot it, and nothing worked. But the error message is pretty clear, so I didn’t get stuck for very long.
For the SSL part, the configuration file is a little bigger:
Don’t forget the last part,
location ~ \.php$. It’s the one that serves PHP files properly. If you forget it, your web server will return the PHP file (so yes, it will return your source code).
All the configuration files is created in
/etc/nginx/sites-available/ directory. Once the file is created, you need to make a symlinks on the
/etc/ningx/sites-enabled/ directory, you can do this with this command:
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/sites.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/sites.conf
Once all the configuration files were written, one thing left on the list: stop Apache and start nginx.
For this, two command lines:
service apache2 stop
After that, if you have no errors, you can browse your way out to your website and check if it works like before. It was the case for me.
This migration was really fun to make.
The configuration behavior can differ between Apache and nginx, but right now, I didn’t find any difference. Feel free to contact me if something is wrong here.
I hope this can help you if you want to make the same migration I’ve done. It is not really a tutorial, at most it’s a to-do list if I want to migrate another server.
Take care, folks.