by Prajjwal


Nginx Buildpack

Heroku buildpack for serving static sites with nginx.


Initialize your static site as a git repository.

git init somesite

Create directories for nginx configuration & your site.

cd somesite
mkdir conf
mkdir www

This build pack expects an nginx.conf.erb to be present at conf/. It must

You must define all listen directives as listen <%= ENV['PORT'] %>. This ensures that the config always includes the correct port that your server should be listening on.

Your config should also include daemon off;.

A sample nginx.conf.erb is as follows:

worker_processes 1;
daemon off;

events {
  worker_connections 1024;

http {
  include mime.types;
  default_type application/octet-stream;

  sendfile on;
  keepalive_timeout 65;

  server {
    listen <%= ENV['PORT'] %>;
    server_name localhost;

    error_page 404 /404.html;

    location / {
      root www;
      expires 180s;
      add_header Vary Accept-Encoding;


The above will serve your site present at www/.

Next, create a heroku app with:

heroku create --buildpack

The buildpack expects a url to your compiled & gzipped binary in a config var called $NGINX_BINARY_URL. The build will fail if this isn't present. Set this with:

heroku config:set NGINX_BINARY_URL=

NOTE: It is always a good idea to point to a specific revision of the buildpack. Details here.

You can get away with using your Dropbox public folder to host this binary. I would recommend Amazon S3 for anything critical.

You can use mine.

See the "Building Your Binary" section below for instructions on how to build your own binary.

Create a Procfile to start the nginx server.

echo "web: bin/start_nginx" > Procfile

Now, simply commit your changes & push to heroku.

echo "Hello, World" > www/index.html
git add .
git commit -m "Set up static site"
git push heroku master

View your website with:

heroku open

Building Your Binary

This buildpack is in itself a heroku app that automatically compiles nginx and starts a little server that you can use to download it. You don't need to build your own binary unless you don't trust mine or need a different version of pcre or nginx. Here's how:

git clone

cd nginx-buildpack-heroku

heroku create

git push heroku master

heroku open

This should open a web page that serves the /tmp dir of your heroku instance.

Nginx has been installed to /tmp/nginx. There are also two gzipped tarballs. heroku-nginx.tar.gz is the one you should probably download. It contains the binary at the root, and should work out of the box with this buildpack.

heroku-nginx-full.tar.gz contains the entire nginx install at /tmp/nginx/. This will not work out of the box with this buildpack because the nginx binary is in the sbin/ dir within the archive, and not at the root where it is expected to be.


The build script also takes two optional parameters for the nginx & pcre versions. If you want a version of nginx or pcre other than the one that is hard coded into the script, simply fork this repository and change your Procfile to read:

web: scripts/ <nginx_version> <pcre_version>


Older applications using the cedar-10 stack might run into problems upgrading to new versions of nginx. nginx built on the cedar-14 stack will fail as follows if you try to run it.

~ $ ./nginx
./nginx: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

To find out what stack you're on, run heroku stack. Change the stack to cedar-14 with:

~ heroku stack:set cedar-14
Stack set. Next release on ututs will use cedar-14.
Run `git push heroku master` to create a new release on cedar-14.


This build pack is basically stolen from here, because the author stopped actively maintaining it. This pack is aims to be slightly better documented & to read the nginx binary url from a config var.

The script to build the nginx binary was forked from here.