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Abayomi Ogunnusi
Abayomi Ogunnusi

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NGINX, Docker and NodeJS

This article focuses on using Nginx with Nodejs and Docker. Follow this article to Learn how to dockerize a Nodejs application.


  1. Install NodeJs on your computer.
  2. Basic understanding of Express and Nginx
  3. Knowledge of Docker containerization


Table of Content

⚫ Introduction to Nginx
⚫ Installation
⚫ Nginx terms
⚫ Serving static files
⚫ Mime types
⚫ Location block
⚫ Running Nginx with Docker as a HTTP load balancer
⚫ Conclusion
⚫ Resources


NGINX is pronounced as "engine-ex" is open source software that can be used for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming, and other purposes.

Nginx can be used effectively as an HTTP load balancer to distribute traffic to multiple application servers and to improve web application performance, scalability, and reliability.

Nginx excels at serving static content quickly, has its own robust module system, and can forward dynamic requests as needed to other software.

NGINX improves content and application delivery, security, and scalability and availability for the internet's busiest websites.

Installing Nginx

To download and install Nginx, go to this link and follow the installation instructions


To download and install Nginx, go to this link and follow the installation instructions.

After downloading the zip pack, unzip


Cut and paste the unzip folder in your Program File Folder. Double click the nginx.exe or run with cmd

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You can also see if nginx is properly installed by launching cmd from the directory where you downloaded the nginx file.
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Another method is to use the following command to start ngnix in the project folder. start nginx

Run the tasklist command-line utility to see nginx processes:
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Here are a few commands to use

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How to shutdown Nginx server

  1. Method 1: End the server by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
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  2. Method 2: Run the command
    nginx -s stop


Check to see if Nginx was properly installed on your computer.

Navigate to localhost:80 in your browser.

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Navigate to the network tab in the developer tool and inspect the browser. We can see that we are using nginx to serve our web content to our browser highlighted in green.

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Nginx terms

The key-value pairs are referred to as Directives and the block of codes enclosed within a curly brackets are referred to as context
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Serving static content

Now that we've established that our nginx is operational, let's use it to serve static content. Let's open our ngix.conf file in vscode.
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To serve static files using nginx, let's create a new folder, a new file called index.html linked to a css

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Now we can serve our custom web content using the nginx.conf file

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The rectangle highlighted in orange is the file path to the root folder for the content we want to serve when we listen to the port we allocated to the server context. Then we reload Nginx with the nginx -s reload command

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Yeah! 🥳
Our content has just been served, but there is a problem: the CSS style has not yet been loaded; we will address this shortly.

Mime Types

Mime types are media that indicates the nature and format of a document, file, or assortment of bytes. source

Let's update our nginx.conf file to accommodate our style sheet.

Add the following commands to the conf file, reload Nginx, and then 'ctrl + shift + r' your browser.
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We got the following after hard reloading our server:
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Making use of Nginx mime types

Nginx comes preloaded with various mime types.
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Using the 'include' keyword, we can add this mime.types to our nginx.conf file.
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Location block

Assume we want to serve content from a different folder, we can use the location block
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Running Nginx with Docker as a HTTP load balancer

Why the need to Load-Balance our application?
Load balancing across multiple application instances is a commonly used technique for optimizing resource utilization, maximizing throughput, reducing latency, and ensuring fault‑tolerant configurations. source

Proxying HTTP Traffic to a Group of Servers

Create a new folder called server and run the following code to initiate a node app
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Let's create our server
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Run the application
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Containerizing our application

You can use any of the methods to build an image and run a Docker container
Method 1
Let's build our docker image
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Let build multiple container
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Method 2
Use docker compose to run four different containers in docker
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We can now configure our nginx.conf file for the load balancer.
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I hope this post was useful in getting started with Nginx as a static content server and load balancer.
For more information, consult the official documentation.


Mime types
Install nginx with instructions

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