Ubuntu Hardy - adding an nginx init script

If you decided to install Nginx via source (see the previous article) you would have the latest and greatest version.

However, one disadvantage of installing from source is that init scripts are not created. No problem, let's go ahead and create one for easy control of Nginx and to ensure it restarts on a reboot.


I am assuming you have followed the previous article and installed Nginx from source.

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


If you have nginx running then stop the process using:

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

Init script

The script I use below is from an Ubuntu Hardy '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|reload|force-reload}" >&2
        exit 1

exit 0

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 and pid files are located so nginx can be started correctly.


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:

Michael commented Fri Sep 05 22:11:58 UTC 2008:

PickledOnion, thank you for taking the time to write the article. It was very clear and concise.

beppu commented Thu Sep 18 00:00:15 UTC 2008:

I wanted to say thanks, too. These nginx articles are great.

Henry Work commented Sat Oct 04 08:36:05 UTC 2008:

PickledOnion, thou art the man. You are a fantastically clear and helpful writer. Keep it up.

James Gibson commented Mon Oct 13 13:40:54 UTC 2008:

Awesome set of articles. You guys have made this process painless!

Fernando Correia commented Sun Nov 02 23:43:26 UTC 2008:

A very helpful article. Thanks!

汉语 commented Thu Oct 29 06:12:44 UTC 2009:


Dave commented Sat Nov 28 23:57:35 UTC 2009:

This script didn't work for me, I run the start/stop/restart and I get no errors or output and the web server doesn't start.

I've checked my paths and they seem to be correct.

Any suggestions?

Arif commented Thu Apr 08 12:48:48 UTC 2010:

PickledOnion, I have followed from your very beginning articles, all are excellent. Many thanks

Olex commented Sun Jan 09 21:35:47 UTC 2011:

Excellent article and script. For recent versions of Ubuntu and Debian (certainly Ubuntu), this line:

sudo /etc/init.d/nginx start

Should instead be:

sudo service nginx start

And you can replace start with stop/restart as needed.

Dario commented Sat Feb 12 16:20:27 UTC 2011:

Olex, that would work only for Lucid out of the box, on Hardy you'd need to install sysv-rc-conf to get the service command.

@PickledOnion, you're the best, these pages are a very precious resource!

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