by CareerFoundry

GitHub Readme.md

Heroku Buildpack: NGINX + PageSpeed



Some application servers (e.g. Ruby's Puma) halt progress when dealing with network I/O. Heroku's Cedar routing stack buffers only the headers of inbound requests. (The Cedar router will buffer the headers and body of a response up to 1MB) Thus, the Heroku router engages the dyno during the entire body transfer –from the client to dyno. For applications servers with blocking I/O, the latency per request will be degraded by the content transfer. By using NGINX in front of the application server, we can eliminate a great deal of transfer time from the application server. In addition to making request body transfers more efficient, all other I/O should be improved since the application server need only communicate with a UNIX socket on localhost. Basically, for webservers that are not designed for efficient, non-blocking I/O, we will benefit from having NGINX to handle all I/O operations.

Requirements (Proxy Mode)

  • Your webserver listens to the socket at /tmp/nginx.socket.
  • You touch /tmp/app-initialized when you are ready for traffic.
  • You can start your web server with a shell command.


  • Unified NXNG/App Server logs.
  • L2met friendly NGINX log format.
  • Heroku request ids embedded in NGINX logs.
  • Crashes dyno if NGINX or App server crashes. Safety first.
  • Language/App Server agnostic.
  • Customizable NGINX config.
  • Application coordinated dyno starts.


NGINX will output the following style of logs:

measure.nginx.service=0.007 request_id=e2c79e86b3260b9c703756ec93f8a66d

You can correlate this id with your Heroku router logs:

at=info method=GET path=/ host=salty-earth-7125.herokuapp.com request_id=e2c79e86b3260b9c703756ec93f8a66d fwd="" dyno=web.1 connect=1ms service=8ms status=200 bytes=21

Language/App Server Agnostic

nginx-buildpack provides a command named bin/start-nginx this command takes another command as an argument. You must pass your app server's startup command to start-nginx.

For example, to get NGINX and Puma up and running:

$ cat Procfile
web: bin/start-nginx bundle exec puma -c config/puma.rb

Setting the Worker Processes

You can configure NGINX's worker_processes directive via the NGINX_WORKERS environment variable.

For example, to set your NGINX_WORKERS to 8 on a PX dyno:

$ heroku config:set NGINX_WORKERS=8

Customizable NGINX Config

You can provide your own NGINX config by creating a file named nginx.conf.erb in the config directory of your app. Start by copying the buildpack's default config file.

Customizable NGINX Compile Options

See scripts/build_nginx for the build steps. Configuring is as easy as changing the "./configure" options.

You can run the builds in a Docker container:

$ make build # It outputs the latest builds to bin/cedar-*

Application/Dyno coordination

The buildpack will not start NGINX until a file has been written to /tmp/app-initialized. Since NGINX binds to the dyno's $PORT and since the $PORT determines if the app can receive traffic, you can delay NGINX accepting traffic until your application is ready to handle it. The examples below show how/when you should write the file when working with Puma.


Existing App

Update Buildpacks to use the latest stable version of this buildpack:

$ heroku buildpacks:add https://github.com/CareerFoundry/heroku-buildpack-nginx-pagespeed

Update Procfile:

web: bin/start-nginx bundle exec puma -c config/puma.rb
$ git add Procfile
$ git commit -m 'Update procfile for NGINX buildpack'

Update Puma Config

workers Integer(ENV["WEB_CONCURRENCY"] || 2)
threads_count = Integer(ENV['RAILS_MAX_THREADS'] || 4)
threads threads_count, threads_count

rackup      DefaultRackup
bind        "unix:///tmp/nginx.socket"
environment ENV['RACK_ENV'] || 'development'


on_worker_fork do

Push Heroku App:

$ git push heroku master
$ heroku logs -t

Visit App

$ heroku open