How To Setup Nginx Load Balancing

Nginx Load Balancing

We’ll show you, How To Setup Nginx Load Balancing. Load balancing is a very useful technique to distribute the incoming network traffic across a number servers. With this technique you can reduce the resource usage, lower the response time and avoid server overload. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the steps of configuring Nginx load balancing on a Linux VPS.

Nginx Load Balancing is one of the most efficient options available to achieve full application redundancy, and it is relatively easy and quick to setup. We will configure Nginx load balancing using the Round robin mechanism. This way it will forward all requests to the corresponding server included in the Nginx configuration.

Let’s start with the installation and configuration.

1. Login via SSH

Login to your server as user root

ssh root@IP_Address

2. Update all packages

and make sure that all packages installed on it are up to date

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

3. Install Nginx web server

We need Nginx web server installed on the VPS. Run the following command to install Nginx

apt-get install nginx

Once it is installed, check if the web server is running

service nginx status

● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running)

4. Append the load balancing configuration

Now, open your website’s Nginx configuration file with your favorite text editor

vim /etc/nginx/sites-available/

and append the load balancing configuration at the top of the file

upstream loadbalancer {

You should have Nginx installed and listening on port 80 on all servers listed above.

5. Add upstream module in Nginx

Within the same configuration file we need to add the upstream module in the virtualhost configuration

server {
location / {
proxy_pass http://loadbalancer;

6. Restart Nginx server

Save the file and restart Nginx for the changes to take effect.

service nginx restart

This configuration will equally distribute all incoming traffic across the three servers (,, Nginx can be also configured to distribute the traffic more efficiently. It comes with balancing options such as weight balancing, max fails and IP hash balancing.

7. Weight Balancing

We can use this option to specify the proportion of the traffic distributed to each of the servers we listed in the upstream.

For example:

Need a fast and easy fix?
✔ Unlimited Managed Support
✔ Supports Your Software
✔ 2 CPU Cores
✔ 2 GB RAM
✔ 50 GB PCIe4 NVMe Disk
✔ 1854 GeekBench Score
✔ Unmetered Data Transfer

Now just $43 .99

upstream loadbalancer {
server weight=1;
server weight=2;
server weight=5;

In this example, will receive twice as much traffic compared to, and will receive five times more traffic than

8. Max Fails

If you use the default Nginx settings, it will send data to the servers even if they are down. We can use the Max fails option to prevent such cases.

upstream loadbalancer {
server max_fails=4  fail_timeout=20s;
server weight=2;
server weight=4;

In the example above, Nginx will attempt to connect to and if it is not responding for more than 20 seconds it will make another attempt. After four attempts will be considered as down.

9. IP Hash Balancing

With this method, the visitors will be always sent to the same server. So, if a visitor received the content of, it will be always transferred to that server unless the servers are down or inaccessible.

upstream loadbalancer {
server down;

In this example, is known to be inaccessible, and it is marked as down.

Nginx Load Balancing

Of course you don’t have to Set up Nginx Load Balancing if you use one of our Nginx VPS Hosting services, in which case you can simply ask our expert Linux admins to setup Nginx load balancing for you. They are available 24×7 and will take care of your request immediately.

PS. If you liked this post, on How To Set Up Nginx Load Balancing,  please share it with your friends on the social networks using the buttons on the left or simply leave a reply below. Thanks.

2 thoughts on “How To Setup Nginx Load Balancing”

Leave a Comment