Ubuntu Intrepid - 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 Intrepid '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

. /lib/lsb/init-functions

case "$1" in
    echo -n "Starting $DESC: "
    start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
        --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS || true
    echo "$NAME."
    echo -n "Stopping $DESC: "
    start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
        --exec $DAEMON || true
    echo "$NAME."
    echo -n "Restarting $DESC: "
    start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile \
        /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON || true
    sleep 1
    start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile \
        /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid --exec $DAEMON -- $DAEMON_OPTS || true
    echo "$NAME."
      echo -n "Reloading $DESC configuration: "
      start-stop-daemon --stop --signal HUP --quiet --pidfile /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid \
          --exec $DAEMON || true
      echo "$NAME."
      status_of_proc -p /usr/local/nginx/logs/$NAME.pid "$DAEMON" nginx && exit 0 || exit $?
    echo "Usage: $N {start|stop|restart|reload|force-reload|status}" >&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 ...
 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 also in having it automatically start on a reboot.

Now let's look at mirroring the 'Debian' style layout for our source-installed nginx webserver.


Article Comments:

crozzfire commented Thu Feb 24 14:59:21 UTC 2011:

Pretty useful code! Thanks! Useful in AWS EC2's Free Tier, where ngnix is installed from the sources. Cheers!

Markus commented Fri May 11 12:32:37 UTC 2012:

Thanks a lot for this guide!

At first I had installed the packages from apt-get but then I realized I had to recompile nginx since I was in a deep need for HttpRedis. I compiled it with the module and I had big problems because I didn't really know how to continue.

Your guide and code helped me, although I had to change the shell script to correctly point to my daemon but then I was good to go!

Life savior, you are yes.

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