Nginx overview


Nginx (pronounced engine-x) is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP web server, reverse proxy, and load balancer. It is known for its high performance and stability and is one of the most popular web servers in use.


NGINX powers several high-visibility sites, such as Netflix, Hulu, Pinterest, Cloudflare, Airbnb,, GitHub, SoundCloud, Zynga, Eventbrite, Zappos, Media Temple, Heroku, RightScale, Engine Yard, StackPath, CDN77 and many others.

Apache vs Nginx

Apache is enabled by default as it supports a larger toolbox of things it can do immediately, making it the most compatible option for the majority of users. However, Nginx is an excellent choice for high-traffic websites as it serves your content faster while using less memory than Apache.

View the following article for further comparison information:

Nginx at DreamHost

It is not possible to make any sort of Nginx configuration changes with DreamPress sites. Please contact support if you need to customize the nginx.conf file or makes changes that would typically go in an .htaccess file.

Nginx is available on DreamHost VPS and Dedicated hosting plans as an optional web server. View the Change your web server to Nginx article for steps on switching to Nginx.

Nginx version

To view the version of Nginx:

  1. Change your web server to Nginx in the panel.
  2. Log into your server via SSH.
  3. Navigate to your user's home directory.
  4. Run the following command:
    [server]$ /usr/sbin/nginx -v

Gzip compression

By default, gzip compression is enabled on Nginx servers. You can disable it by following these steps.

  1. Log into your server via SSH.
  2. Create your local /nginx/ directory.
  3. Change into this directory.
    [server]$ cd ~/nginx/
  4. Create a file named settings.conf in this /nginx/ directory with the following content:
    gzip off;
  5. Reload Nginx for the changes to take effect.

View the following page for additional gzip compression options:

.htaccess rules with Nginx

Many web applications, such as WordPress, are configured to work with Apache. However, Nginx does not support directory-level configuration files, such as Apache's .htaccess file. This means that if you have previously created a website that uses an .htaccess file, all code within it will no longer function.

  • Make sure your site is not dependent on your .htaccess file before changing your server to Nginx.
  • If your website depends on certain .htaccess rules to function, review your website's software documentation for Nginx configuration options. 

See also

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