Running WordPress On Nginx (LEMP) On Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 11.04

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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This tutorial shows how you can install and run a WordPress blog on a Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu 11.04 system that has nginx installed instead of Apache (LEMP = Linux + nginx (pronounced "engine x") + MySQL + PHP). In addition to that I will also show you how you can use the WordPress plugins WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache with nginx. nginx is a HTTP server that uses much less resources than Apache and delivers pages a lot of faster, especially static files.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I want to install WordPress in a vhost called here with the document root /var/www/

You should have a working LEMP installation, as shown in these tutorials:

A note for Ubuntu users:

Because we must run all the steps from this tutorial with root privileges, we can either prepend all commands in this tutorial with the string sudo, or we become root right now by typing

sudo su


2 Installing APC

APC is a free and open PHP opcode cacher for caching and optimizing PHP intermediate code. It's similar to other PHP opcode cachers, such as eAccelerator and XCache. It is strongly recommended to have one of these installed to speed up your PHP page.

APC can be installed as follows:

apt-get install php-apc

If you use PHP-FPM as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 (And PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On Ubuntu 11.04), restart it as follows:

/etc/init.d/php5-fpm restart

If you use lighttpd's spawn-fcgi program as your FastCGI daemon (like in Installing Nginx With PHP5 And MySQL Support On Debian Squeeze), we must kill the current spawn-fcgi process (running on port 9000) and create a new one. Run

netstat -tap

to find out the PID of the current spawn-fcgi process:

[email protected]:~# netstat -tap
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0 *:sunrpc                *:*                     LISTEN      734/portmap
tcp        0      0 *:www                   *:*                     LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp        0      0 *:ssh                   *:*                     LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp        0      0 *:57174                 *:*                     LISTEN      748/rpc.statd
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:smtp *:*                     LISTEN      1507/exim4
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdom:9000 *:*                     LISTEN      1542/php5-cgi
tcp        0      0 localhost.localdo:mysql *:*                     LISTEN      1168/mysqld
tcp        0     52      ESTABLISHED 1557/0
tcp6       0      0 [::]:www                [::]:*                  LISTEN      2987/nginx
tcp6       0      0 [::]:ssh                [::]:*                  LISTEN      1531/sshd
tcp6       0      0 ip6-localhost:smtp      [::]:*                  LISTEN      1507/exim4
[email protected]:~#

In the above output, the PID is 1542, so we can kill the current process as follows:

kill -9 1542

Afterwards we create a new spawn-fcgi process:

/usr/bin/spawn-fcgi -a -p 9000 -u www-data -g www-data -f /usr/bin/php5-cgi -P /var/run/


3 Installing WordPress

The document root of my web site is /var/www/ - if it doesn't exist, create it as follows:

mkdir -p /var/www/

Next we download Wordpress from and place it in our document root:

cd /tmp
tar xvfz latest.tar.gz
cd wordpress/
mv * /var/www/

It is recommended to make the document root and the WordPress files in it writable by the nginx daemon (otherwise WordPress and its plugins cannot write configuration files) which is running as user www-data and group www-data:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

We must rename the wp-config-sample.php file to wp-config.php:

mv /var/www/ /var/www/

If you haven't already created a MySQL database for WordPress (including a MySQL WordPress user), you can do that as follows (I name the database wordpress in this example, and the user is called wp_admin, and his password is wp_admin_password):

mysqladmin -u root -p create wordpress
mysql -u root -p

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wp_admin'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'wp_admin_password';
GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON wordpress.* TO 'wp_admin'@'localhost.localdomain' IDENTIFIED BY 'wp_admin_password';


Open wp-config.php and fill in the correct database details:

vi /var/www/
// ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'wordpress');
/** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'wp_admin');
/** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'wp_admin_password');
/** MySQL hostname */
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

Next we create an nginx vhost configuration for our vhost in the /etc/nginx/sites-available/ directory as follows:

vi /etc/nginx/sites-available/ 
server {
       listen 80;
       root /var/www/;
       if ($http_host != "") {
                 rewrite ^$request_uri permanent;
       index index.php index.html;
       location = /favicon.ico {
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
       location = /robots.txt {
                allow all;
                log_not_found off;
                access_log off;
       # Deny all attempts to access hidden files such as .htaccess, .htpasswd, .DS_Store (Mac).
       location ~ /\. {
                deny all;
                access_log off;
                log_not_found off;
       location / {
                try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;
       # Add trailing slash to */wp-admin requests.
       rewrite /wp-admin$ $scheme://$host$uri/ permanent;
       location ~*  \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|css|js|ico)$ {
                expires max;
                log_not_found off;
       location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;
                include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
                fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;

To enable that vhost, we create a symlink to it from the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/ directory:

cd /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/

Reload nginx for the changes to take effect:

/etc/init.d/nginx reload

Now we can launch the web-based WordPress installer by going to - fill in the required details and submit the page:

That's it already:

You can now log in to the WordPress admin interface with the username and password you specified during installation:

The first thing you should change are the Permalink Settings (Settings > Permalinks). I recommend to use a permalink structure where no index.php appears (because otherwise you might get problems with caching plugins such as WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache - nginx will always bypass the cache because it will pass on the request to the PHP interpreter because of the appearance of index.php in the URL). I have used the following structure in my test:


Mark Custom Structure and fill in the above string, then save the permalink settings:

(If you don't plan to use any caching plugin, then you can use any of the other options as well, including those that contain index.php.)

You can now browse your blog by going to (it already contains some test posts/pages), and you should find that your new permalinks work without the need to specify any rewrite rules in your nginx configuration! That is because of this cool little line in our vhost configuration /etc/nginx/sites-available/

try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args; 

If you don't want to use any caching plugins, you are finished now! The next chapter deals with the WordPress cache plugins WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

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By: Al-Jedidiah Aquino

Just in case you expect a massive spike in traffic on your WordPress blog, here's a good redis WordPress cache that you can implement and test out.

The WP install runs on nginx which scales to a certain extent, the redis cache layer increases further the volume of hits the server can take.

WP redis cache is still limited in terms of feature but it's fast, stable and shows the potential of redis as a caching system.


By: Pihu

Hello Sir, 

First of all thank you for posting this Article about W3 Total Cache Plugin. Now Please Help Me This is My Site - i.e. Hosted on Digitalcean.

Firstly I just create droplet then follow installing LEMP process and then also install nginx. 


Now When I'm following this Command - chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/

Recevied a Error Showing that - chown: cannot access '/var/www/': No such file or directory

Please help me Out Sir...