Is your Nginx up and running? Learn how to check with these easy code examples

Table of content

  1. Introduction
  2. What is Nginx?
  3. Why is it important to check if Nginx is running?
  4. Code examples to check if Nginx is running
  5. Example 1: Using the ps command
  6. Example 2: Checking the Nginx status page
  7. Example 3: Using the Nginx command line interface
  8. Example 4: Checking the Nginx error log
  9. Conclusion


Nginx is an open-source web server that is known for high performance, stability, and scalability. It is commonly used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache in modern web applications. However, like any other software, Nginx can encounter issues that can impact the performance and availability of your web application. Therefore, it is important to periodically check if your Nginx server is up and running as expected.

In this article, we will learn how to check the status of a Nginx server using various code examples. Whether you are a developer, system administrator, or DevOps engineer, these examples will help you diagnose common Nginx issues and ensure the smooth operation of your web application. We will cover the following topics:

  • Checking Nginx process status
  • Verifying Nginx configuration syntax
  • Testing Nginx configuration with a dry run
  • Retrieving Nginx server status
  • Checking Nginx error logs

By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of how to check the status of your Nginx server and troubleshoot any issues that may arise. So, let's get started!

What is Nginx?

Nginx (pronounced "engine-X") is a popular open-source web server and reverse proxy server. It was developed in 2004 to handle high traffic websites with low overhead and has since become one of the most widely used web servers in the world.

Nginx is often used to serve static content such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files, but it can also be configured to handle dynamic content and serve as a load balancer. Some of Nginx's key features include:

  • High performance and scalability
  • Efficient handling of static content
  • Ability to handle HTTP and HTTPS protocols
  • Flexible configuration options using a simple, declarative language
  • Advanced load balancing features
  • Support for various third-party modules

Nginx is often used in combination with other web development tools and technologies such as PHP, Node.js, and Docker. Its popularity has also led to the development of many third-party modules and plugins, making it highly customizable and adaptable to a wide range of web development needs.

Overall, Nginx is a powerful and versatile web server that can handle a variety of tasks and traffic loads with ease. By understanding its capabilities and how to use it effectively, developers can ensure that their websites and applications are fast, secure, and stable.

Why is it important to check if Nginx is running?

Nginx is a popular web server that is widely used by developers for its high performance, scalability, and flexibility. It serves as a reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache, among other things. In order to ensure that your website or application is up and running smoothly, it is essential to check that Nginx is running properly.

Here are some reasons why it is important to check whether Nginx is running:

  • To avoid downtime: If Nginx is not running properly, your website or application could experience downtime, meaning that it will not be accessible to users. This could lead to a loss of revenue, customers, and even damage to your brand reputation.
  • To troubleshoot issues: Checking whether Nginx is running can help you identify and resolve any issues that may arise. For example, if your website is slow or unresponsive, you can check whether Nginx is functioning properly to isolate the problem and fix it quickly.
  • To monitor performance: Monitoring the status of Nginx can help you track its performance over time and identify any trends or patterns. This can help you optimize your web server for efficiency and improve the overall user experience.

In summary, checking whether Nginx is running is an essential part of maintaining a reliable and high-performing web server. By monitoring its status and taking quick action when necessary, you can ensure that your website or application remains accessible to users and delivering a high-quality experience.

Code examples to check if Nginx is running

One of the most important things to do when working with Nginx is to check if it's running properly. Here are a few code examples to help you determine whether your Nginx server is up and running:

Check Nginx status with systemctl

sudo systemctl status nginx

This command will display the current status of your Nginx service. If Nginx is running, you will see a message indicating that it is active.

Check Nginx status with ps

ps -aux | grep nginx

This command will display a list of running processes on your system that include the word "nginx". If Nginx is running, you will see at least one process that includes the word "nginx".

Check Nginx status with curl

curl -I localhost

This command will send a GET request to your local Nginx server and return the HTTP response headers. If Nginx is running and properly configured, you will see a response with a header that includes the server name "nginx".

Check Nginx status with netstat

sudo netstat -tulpn | grep nginx

This command will display all network connections on your system, including any processes that are listening on network ports. If Nginx is running and configured to listen on a particular port (usually port 80 or 443), you will see a line that includes the word "nginx".

Example 1: Using the ps command

Checking if Nginx is running can be done using a command-line tool called ps. The ps command lists the currently running processes on your system. Here is how you can use the ps command to check if Nginx is running:

  1. Open a terminal window on your Linux machine.

  2. Type ps -aux and hit Enter. This will list all the processes running on your system, along with their process IDs (PIDs).

  3. Look for a process named "nginx". If Nginx is running, you should see an entry in the list that looks something like this:

    root      1234  0.0  0.1  10000  5000 ?        Ss   Jul01   0:00 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;

    This output tells you that Nginx is running as process ID 1234, with a parent process ID (PPID) of 0 (indicating that it is running as a system process).

  4. If you don't see a process named "nginx" in the list, then Nginx is not currently running on your system.

Using the ps command can be a quick and easy way to check if Nginx is running. However, it only tells you if the process is running, not if the server is actually serving requests. To check if the server is responding to requests properly, you will need to use a different tool, such as curl or a web browser, to access the Nginx server and see if it returns the expected response.

Example 2: Checking the Nginx status page

Another way to check the status of your Nginx server is by using the Nginx status page. This page provides real-time information about the performance and activity of your server. To access this page, you need to add some configurations to your Nginx server block.

Here are the steps to add the configurations:

  1. Open the Nginx server block configuration file using a text editor. The location of this file depends on your operating system, but it is usually found in the /etc/nginx/sites-available/ directory.

  2. Add the following configurations to your server block:

     location /nginx_status {
         stub_status on;
         access_log off;
         deny all;

    These configurations allow access to the status page only from the local machine. If you want to access the page from a remote machine, you need to change the allow directive to the IP address of the machine that you want to allow access.

  3. Save and close the file, then reload the Nginx configuration by running sudo service nginx reload.

  4. Now you can access the status page by visiting http://your_server_ip/nginx_status in your web browser.

Once you have access to the status page, you can check information such as:

  • Active connections: The number of active client connections to your server.
  • Server accepts: The total number of accepted client connections.
  • Server handled: The total number of handled client connections.
  • Server requests: The total number of client requests received by the server.

This information can help you identify any performance issues or bottlenecks in your server, and take appropriate actions to optimize its performance.

Example 3: Using the Nginx command line interface

The Nginx Command Line Interface (CLI) allows you to interact with your Nginx installation by entering commands directly into the terminal. This is useful for tasks such as starting, stopping, and reloading Nginx, as well as checking the status of your current configuration.

Here are a few examples of Nginx CLI commands:

  • nginx – This command starts Nginx if it is not already running.
  • nginx -s stop – This command stops Nginx.
  • nginx -s reload – This command reloads the configuration file without stopping Nginx.
  • nginx -t – This command checks the syntax of your configuration file and reports any errors.

It's important to note that you need to have root privileges to use most Nginx CLI commands. You can obtain these privileges by prefixing the command with sudo, like this:

sudo nginx -s stop

In addition, not all operating systems install Nginx with the same CLI options. For example, some installations may include additional modules that can be managed through the CLI. Check the documentation for your specific installation to see what options are available.

Using the Nginx CLI is a powerful way to manage your Nginx installation, and can save you time and effort when it comes to debugging and maintenance. With a little practice, you'll be using these commands like a pro in no time!

Example 4: Checking the Nginx error log

It's important to regularly check the error log for any issues with your Nginx server. Here's how to do it:

  1. Open the error log file.

    sudo nano /var/log/nginx/error.log
  2. Check for any errors or warnings.

    Look for any lines that contain "error" or "warning". These may indicate issues with your server or configuration. Pay close attention to any error codes or messages.

  3. Fix any errors.

    Once you've identified any errors, fix them as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in serious issues with your server or application.

  4. Save and close the error log file.

    CTRL + O
    CTRL + X

By regularly checking the error log, you can quickly identify and resolve any issues with your Nginx server. This helps ensure that your server is always up and running smoothly.



In , checking if your Nginx server is up and running is a crucial step in ensuring the smooth operation of your website or application. By implementing the code examples and commands discussed in this article, you can easily check the status of your Nginx server and identify any issues that may be impacting its availability or performance.

Whether you are a seasoned developer or just starting with Nginx, these examples provide a simple and effective way to monitor the health of your web server. By regularly checking your Nginx status, you can proactively identify and address any issues before they impact your users or business operations.

Overall, the examples in this article highlight the importance of monitoring your Nginx server and provide a valuable resource for developers looking to ensure the availability and performance of their web applications. So next time you're wondering whether your Nginx server is up and running, refer back to these code examples and stay on top of your server health.

Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering have always been my driving passions, energizing me with enthusiasm and a desire to stay at the forefront of technological innovation. I take great pleasure in innovating and devising workarounds for complex problems. Drawing on over 8 years of professional experience in the IT industry, with a focus on Cloud Computing and DevOps Engineering, I have a track record of success in designing and implementing complex infrastructure projects from diverse perspectives, and devising strategies that have significantly increased revenue. I am currently seeking a challenging position where I can leverage my competencies in a professional manner that maximizes productivity and exceeds expectations.
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