Ubuntu Feisty - adding an nginx init script

In the previous article we installed nginx from source. However, installing from source does not create an init script.

Let's create such a script so we can easily start, stop and restart nginx and, perhaps more importantly, ensure it automatically starts on a reboot.


I am assuming you have installed nginx from source using the options shown in the previous article.

If you have used other options or have placed the nginx binary in a directory other than /usr/local/sbin/ then you may need to adjust the script shown below.


If you have nginx running then stop the process using:

sudo kill `cat /usr/local/nginx/logs/nginx.pid`

Init script

The script shown below is from an Ubuntu Feisty 'aptitude' install and has been adapted to take into account our custom install of nginx.

Let's go ahead and create the script:

sudo nano /etc/init.d/nginx

Inside the blank file place the following:

#! /bin/sh

# Provides:          nginx
# Required-Start:    $all
# Required-Stop:     $all
# Default-Start:     2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:      0 1 6
# Short-Description: starts the nginx web server
# Description:       starts nginx using start-stop-daemon


test -x $DAEMON || exit 0

# Include nginx defaults if available
if [ -f /etc/default/nginx ] ; then
        . /etc/default/nginx

set -e

case "$1" in
        echo -n "Starting $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
                --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS
        echo "$NAME."
        echo -n "Stopping $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
                --exec $DAEMON
        echo "$NAME."
        echo -n "Restarting $DESC: "
        start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile \
                /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON
        sleep 1
        start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile \
                /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS
        echo "$NAME."
      echo -n "Reloading $DESC configuration: "
      start-stop-daemon --stop --signal HUP --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
          --exec $DAEMON
      echo "$NAME."
        echo "Usage: $N {start|stop|restart|force-reload}" >&2
        exit 1

exit 0

You can also download the script from here (as it's a shell script, you may get a warning about it being a 'BIN' file, just save as normal and open in any text editor).

There's not really the space to go into the workings of the script but suffice to say, it defines where the main nginx binary is located so nginx can be started correctly.

It also defines where to find the nginx.pid file so the process and be correctly stopped and restarted.


As the init file is a shell script, it needs to have executable permissions.

We set them like so:

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/nginx


Now we have the base script prepared, we need to add it to the default run levels:

sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f nginx defaults

The output will be similar to this:

Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/nginx ...
   /etc/rc0.d/K20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc1.d/K20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc6.d/K20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc2.d/S20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc3.d/S20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc4.d/S20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx
   /etc/rc5.d/S20nginx -> ../init.d/nginx


Start, Stop and Restart

Now we can start, stop and restart nginx just as with any other service:

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start
sudo /etc/init.d/nginx stop
sudo /etc/init.d/nginx restart

The script will also be called on a reboot so nginx will automatically start.


Adding a process to the run levels like this saves a lot of frustration and effort, not only in manually starting and stopping the process, but it having it automatically start on a reboot.


Article Comments:

John Griffiths commented Sun Dec 02 01:08:37 UTC 2007:

Tried this on Ubuntu Gutsy, worked fine.

Except for the final line...

sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f nginx defaults

asked me for the password, which i entered, strange as i was logged on as root, failed the first time. then ran the command again and it worked fine

start and stop runs ok, restart seems to work ok but doesn't show up in the browser as quickly

nice to have this under wraps.

Want to comment?

(not made public)


(use plain text or Markdown syntax)