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How to Set Up the Built-in NGINX Status Page

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NGINX is a high performance, event-based web server and reverse proxy. Many critical applications use NGINX to serve interface their content with staff and customers. It’s really important to monitor NGINX for errors and performance bottle necks. If there’s an issue connecting to your application, you want to be on top of it right away!

Prerequisites

Before you get started, you’ll need NGINX installed and configured on your system. You can read our NGINX setup guide if you need help with that.

Enabling the ngx_http_stub_status_module

The built-in NGINX status page relies on the ngx_http_stub_status_module. Let’s walk through getting that module installed and enabled.

You can check if the ngx_http_stub_status_module is enabled by running the following command:

				
					 nginx -V 2>&1 | grep -o "with-http_stub_status_module"
				
			

If you see a grep match output containing http_stub_status_module, then your module is already installed and you can skip ahead.

To install the ngx_http_stub_status_module, we’ll need to re-install NGINX with the necessary modules. Most package mangers offer a nginx-full package which contains the ngx_http_stub_status_module. On Ubuntu, you can run the following command to install it:

				
					apt-get install nginx-full
				
			

You can also re-compile from source and include the –with-http_stub_status_module parameter.

Configuring NGINX Status Page

Let’s configure your status page. Open up your NGINX configuration file (usually located at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf).

Create the Default Server Block

Check through your NGINX config for a default_server block. If you do not have one yet, let’s create one. Paste the following block into your http configuration block.

				
					server {
    listen       80;
    listen       [::]:80;
    server_name  _; # catch-all domain
    root         /usr/share/nginx/html;

    # Load configuration files for the default server block.
    include /etc/nginx/default.d/*.conf;

    error_page 404 /404.html;
        location = /404.html {
    }

    error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
        location = /50x.html {
    }
}

				
			
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Add stub_status Location Block

Next, we need to define a location block for our stub_status module. The location block will allow us define an HTTP path for our status page and restrict access.

In your default server block, add the following location block:

				
					location /nginx/status {
    stub_status;
}
				
			

Restrict Access to NGINX Status Page

The information on your status page is sensitive and could be used by an attacker to compromise your system. It’s important to restrict the IP addresses that can view your status page. Let’s add some allow/deny directives to our location block to lock it down.

In your status page location block add the following allow/deny lines:

				
					location /nginx/status {
    stub_status;
    allow 127.0.0.1;
    deny all;
}
				
			

*You may want to allow internal networks to access this page. You can do that by adding an additional line: allow 10.0.0.0/8;

Save and Test NGINX Config

Let’s apply your changes and make sure everything works correctly. Save your NGINX config file.

Before we restart the NGINX server, let’s test our configuration to make sure we didn’t make any mistakes. Run the following command and fix any syntax errors:

				
					nginx -t
				
			

Once your configuration passes the tests, let’s restart the NGINX server to apply the changes.

				
					nginx -s reload
				
			

Accessing NGINX Status Page

There’s a few ways to access the NGINX status page. You use a web browser or a command line tool like curl

To view the status page in your browser, open a window to 127.0.0.1/nginx/status. You should see something that looks like this:

nginx status page

To view the status page using curl, you can run the following command:

				
					curl http://127.0.0.1:80/nginx/status
				
			

Interpreting the NGINX Status Page

The NGINX status page doesn’t provide very much detail other than some numbers. Let’s explore what these numbers mean.

  1. Active Connections: This is the number of client connections that are currently in-progress or waiting to be processed.
  2. Accepts: The number of client connections accepted since the server was started. (This is the first number under the word “server”).
  3. Handled: The number of client connections that were processed since the server started. Typically this will be the same as the Accepts value unless some requests were dropped. Requests may be dropped due to resource and queue constraints.
  4. Requests: The number of client requests processed since the server was started.
  5. Reading: The number of active connections where NGINX is reading the headers.
  6. Writing: The number of active connections where NGINX is writing content to the client.
  7. Waiting: The number of  active connections where NGINX is waiting for a response from upstream or the file system.
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Trusted by 1000+ companies

Integrating NGINX Status with Monitoring Tools

NGINX is a critical component in the chain of applications that make your app work. We need to monitor NGINX to know when it’s broken or degrading. Depending on your system, there are few ways to set up this integration.

DataDog

Edit your nginx.d/conf.yaml file. Set the nginx_status_url parameter to http://127.0.0.1:80/nginx/status. Restart your DataDog agent and you’re off to the races!

Read more at the official DataDog docs

Uptime Monitor (Generic)

It’s really easy to setup an NGINX check on your uptime monitoring service.

  1. Determine what source IPs your uptime service uses to check your app.
  2. Edit your /nginx/status block and include an allow <insert-iptime-ips>;
  3. Restart your NGINX server
  4. Add an HTTP monitor to your uptime dashboard for http://<mydomain>/nginx/status.

Conclusion

We have our NGINX status page setup using the ngx_http_stub_status_module. We can see how well NGINX is performing under the current load independent of our other components. It’s so important to keep an eye on NGINX. It’s one of the critical components in our application. Now we know when NGINX is having trouble and we need to intervene. 

If you have NGINX Plus, you may be interested in the ngx_http_api_module where you can also setup more complex status pages.

You may also enjoy our article on NGINX variables and how do complex routing.

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