Set up a new virtual host (server block) on your Nginx server.

Nginx-logoIn one of our previous tutorials we explained How to install and configure LNMP (Nginx, MySQL and PHP) server on a Debian 6 (squeeze) VPS, now we’re going to look at how to set up a new server block (virtual host) for each new domain.

Note: “VirtualHost” is an Apache term. Nginx does not have Virtual hosts, it has “Server Blocks” that use the server_name and listen directives to bind to tcp sockets.

The following script can be used to set up a new server block on your Nginx server.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
# Nginx - new server block

# Functions
ok() { echo -e '\e[32m'$1'\e[m'; } # Green
die() { echo -e '\e[1;31m'$1'\e[m'; exit 1; }

# Variables

# Sanity check
[ $(id -g) != "0" ] && die "Script must be run as root."
[ $# != "1" ] && die "Usage: $(basename $0) domainName"

# Create nginx config file
server {
  server_name $1;
  listen 80;
  root $WEB_DIR/$1/public_html;
  access_log $WEB_DIR/$1/logs/access.log;
  error_log $WEB_DIR/$1/logs/error.log;
  index index.html index.php;
  location / {
    try_files \$uri \$uri/ @rewrites;
  location @rewrites {
    rewrite ^ /index.php last;
  location ~* \.(jpg|jpeg|gif|css|png|js|ico|html)$ {
    access_log off;
    expires max;
  location ~ /\.ht {
    deny  all;
  location ~ \.php {
    fastcgi_index index.php;
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(.*)$;
    include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
    fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME \$document_root\$fastcgi_script_name;

# Creating {public,log} directories
mkdir -p $WEB_DIR/$1/{public_html,logs}

# Creating index.html file
cat > $WEB_DIR/$1/public_html/index.html <<EOF
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
<body class="container">
        <div id="wrapper"><p>Hello World</p></div>
        <footer>© $(date +%Y)</footer>

# Changing permissions

# Enable site by creating symbolic link

# Restart
echo "Do you wish to restart nginx?"
select yn in "Yes" "No"; do
    case $yn in
        Yes ) /etc/init.d/nginx restart ; break;;
        No ) exit;;

ok "Site Created for $1"

Here’s what it does, in a nutshell:

  1. Creates a new directory for the site (/var/www/DOMAIN.COM/public_html)
  2. Creates a new directory for log files (/var/www/DOMAIN.COM/logs)
  3. Sets correct owner/group.
  4. Creates a simple index.html file to show the site is working.
  5. Asks for restart.

To use the script type:


The script should work on Debian, Ubuntu and closely related distributions.

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  • Faisal Humayun

    Great idea. A question about the PHP handling.
    Wouldn’t different domains require the port to change (e.g domain 1 = 9000, domain 2 = 9001, etc)?

    • admin


      Author Reply


      it depends on how you’ve set-up your fpm pools. if you’re using different pools for your domains then you need to adjust your server blocks appropriately.

  • KS


    Author Reply

    Hey, thanks for this script! It works pretty well, but I’m running into an issue with subdomains.

    I used the script to set up, and that works. Then I used it again to set up, and the script ran fine and the correct files exist, and nginx restarted successfully. The problem is that, even though it has a separate server_block, just points to directly. I’m not really sure how to troubleshoot this?

    • admin


      Author Reply

      Please take a look at your ‘’ virtual host (server block) and make sure that ‘server_name’ and ‘root’ directives are set properly. Also, check your nginx error log file for any error messages.

  • Stenio Ferreira

    Hey the twitter link on the side redirect to the general script page, not to this specific article. Good article though!

  • Scott Timmons

    I’m a newbie, so sorry for such a basic question.
    Where do we put this script on the server?

    • admin


      Author Reply

      You can put the script wherever you want. You just need to make it executable and run it from the directory where it resides with the command as shown in our article.