How to Create a Raspberry Pi NGINX Server - Step-by-Step Tutorial


NGINX is a high-performance HTTP server and reverse proxy, as well as an IMAP/POP3 proxy server. It's known for its high performance, stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of setting up an NGINX web server on a Raspberry Pi, turning this compact device into a home server for hosting websites or applications.


Before we begin, ensure you have the following:

  • A Raspberry Pi (any model with network support will do).
  • A microSD card loaded with the Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian).
  • Basic knowledge of Linux commands and network configurations.

Step 1: Initial Raspberry Pi Setup

First, set up your Raspberry Pi with the Raspberry Pi OS. Connect your Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and perform the initial setup, which includes:

  • Setting up a user account.
  • Connecting to Wi-Fi or an Ethernet network.
  • Updating the OS with the latest patches.

Step 2: Installing NGINX

Connect to your Raspberry Pi via SSH or use its terminal. Update the package list and install NGINX by running:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nginx

Once the installation is complete, start NGINX:

sudo service nginx start

To verify that NGINX is running, open a web browser and enter the IP address of your Raspberry Pi. You should see the default NGINX landing page.

Step 3: Configuring Your Web Server

NGINX configuration files are located in /etc/nginx. The main configuration file is /etc/nginx/nginx.conf. For hosting websites, you'll primarily work with server block files inside the /etc/nginx/sites-available directory.

To create and host a new website:

  • Create a new file in /etc/nginx/sites-available.
  • Create a symlink of this file in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled.
  • Restart NGINX to apply the changes.

For detailed configurations like SSL/TLS setup, reverse proxy configurations, or enabling server blocks, refer to the NGINX documentation.

Step 4: Testing Your Website

After setting up your website's server blocks, test your configuration for syntax errors:

sudo nginx -t

If everything is fine, restart NGINX:

sudo service nginx restart

Now, you should be able to access your website using the Raspberry Pi's IP address or domain name (if you have set up DNS).

Step 5: Start on boot

If you want the NGINX service on your Raspberry Pi to automatically restart on startup, you need to ensure that the service is enabled to start at boot time. This can be done using the systemctl command, which is a system and service manager in Linux-based operating systems like Raspberry Pi OS.

Here's how you can enable NGINX to start on boot:

  1. Open the Terminal: Access the terminal on your Raspberry Pi. You can do this directly if you have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse connected to your Pi, or remotely via SSH.
  2. Enable NGINX Service: Run the following command to enable NGINX to start automatically when the Raspberry Pi boots:
sudo systemctl enable nginx

This command creates a symbolic link from the system's copy of the service file (usually in /lib/systemd/system) to the location /etc/systemd/system, where it can be started during the boot process.

  1. Verify the Service is Enabled: To check if the service is set to start on boot, you can use:
sudo systemctl is-enabled nginx

This command should return enabled, indicating that NGINX is set up to start at boot.

  1. Reboot the Raspberry Pi: If you want to test that this worked, you can reboot your Raspberry Pi with:
sudo reboot

After the Pi restarts, NGINX should be running. You can verify this by accessing your Raspberry Pi's IP address in a web browser or checking the status of the NGINX service with:

sudo systemctl status nginx

Remember, enabling a service to start at boot is useful for ensuring that your web server is always running, especially after power outages or system reboots. It's an essential step for maintaining the availability of your web services hosted on the Raspberry Pi.


Congratulations! You've just set up your Raspberry Pi as a web server using NGINX. This can be the foundation for hosting your personal projects, websites, or learning more about web servers and network configurations.

Remember, this is a basic setup. Explore the NGINX documentation and Raspberry Pi community forums for more advanced configurations and troubleshooting advice. Happy hosting!