Stack Setup

nginx + PHP on Debian

This entry will guide you through setting up nginx with php5-fpm. and are used as domains and IPs - change as required for you.

Initial steps

Ensure your installation is up to date

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade --force-yes

Install the required packages:

apt-get install nginx-light php5-fpm

Set up nginx

Nginx serves vhosts located in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/* (usually symlinked from /etc/nginx/sites-available).
We'll create a new vhost for your website of choice:

nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/

Here's a template you can drop the appropriate names into:

server {
    listen 80;
    # If you want to listen on IPv6, uncomment this:
    #listen [::]:80 ipv6only=on;

    # Where you're keeping your site files:
    root /path/to/your/public_html;
    index index.php index.html index.htm;

    # Set this to `server_name _;` (underscore) to make this the
    # default server nginx will fall back to.

    location / {
        # Try serving as a file, then a directory, then
        # fall back to displaying a 404.
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

    location ~ \.php$ {
        try_files $uri =404;
        fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;

        fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include fastcgi_params;

    location ~ /\.ht {
        # Ensure nobody can touch Apache config files.
        deny all;

Save the file, tell nginx about it, then reload nginx:

ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/ /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
service nginx reload

If the reload fails, you may have to remove the default site provided by nginx (then try again):

rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
service nginx reload

Note: The try_files $uri =404; line in the PHP block is to stop code-execution exploits. See for more info.

Set up php5-fpm

Open up php.ini in your editor of choice:

nano /etc/php5/fpm/php.ini

Ensure cgi.fix_pathinfo=0:

; cgi.fix_pathinfo provides *real* PATH_INFO/PATH_TRANSLATED support for CGI.  PHP's
; previous behaviour was to set PATH_TRANSLATED to SCRIPT_FILENAME, and to not grok
; what PATH_INFO is.  For more information on PATH_INFO, see the cgi specs.  Setting
; this to 1 will cause PHP CGI to fix its paths to conform to the spec.  A setting
; of zero causes PHP to behave as before.  Default is 1.  You should fix your scripts

Save the file and reload php5-fpm:

service php5-fpm reload

Test everything is functioning

You may have to start nginx/php5-fpm:

service nginx start
service php5-fpm start

Drop a file called info.php in your root (provided in the nginx vhost file) with the contents:

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

Visit and you should be greeted with information about your PHP install!