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This is a very flexible nginx image, with support for several types of applications. It's heavy, because it's based on helder/nginx-extras, but it's full featured, and thanks to docker, you only need it once.

Based on perusio's work.

Virtual host templates

Thanks to the provided and Jinja, we're able to have a virtual host configurable at runtime using environment variables. This is a great way to reuse the same image for many different purposes.

To get a list of the available types of apps included:

docker run -t --rm helder/nginx ls -1 /etc/nginx/templates/vhost

Basic usage

Run a static website (default):

docker run -d -v "$PWD:/usr/src/app" -p 80:80 helder/nginx web_static

If you don't provide /usr/src/app, Nginx's welcome message is show:

docker run -d -p 80:80 helder/nginx nginx_welcome

If you want your files in a different path:

docker run -d -v "$PWD:/web" -e CONF_ROOT=/web -p 80:80 helder/nginx web_static

Run a drupal website:

docker run -d -v "$PWD:/usr/src/app" helder/php php
docker run -d --volumes-from php --link php -e CONF_APP=drupal -e CONF_UPSTREAM=php:9000 -p 80:80 helder/nginx web_drupal

How to chose an app

Anything listed in the templates/vhost folder of nginx is an app (you can add your own).
To define which you want, set the environment variable CONF_APP.

Bypass template system

When an app is chosen, the rendered template will be written to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default.conf.
If the file exists, nothing is done so if you don't want to use the template system,
you can bypass it completely by adding your own file.

FROM helder/nginx
COPY mysite.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default.conf

How to work with the templates

Thanks to Jinja, templates are extensible. Here's an overview of the hierarchy:

└── default
    ├── django
    ├── flask
    └── php
        ├── bolt
        ├── drupal
        │   └── drupal6
        ├── joomla
        ├── symfony1
        └── wordpress

All of these are valid values for CONF_APP.

Configurable with environment variables

Any environment variable starting with CONF_ will be provided to the template, without
the prefix and lowercase.

E.g., CONF_MY_SETTING would be my_setting in the template.

Default variables

Variables found in a template, are also available for every template that extends it.


    Default: default

    Type of app. See list of files in /etc/nginx/templats/vhost/ for possible values.

    Example: CONF_APP=drupal


    Default: $CONF_APP

    Not really used anywhere but can be used in your own templates and will affect de value


    Default: $CONF_PROJECT

    If you want a unix socket in the upstream, you can override it's name. Leave the .sock
    extension out because it will be added by default by CONF_UPSTREAM.

    Example: CONF_SOCKET=php-fpm


    Default: unix:/var/run/${CONF_SOCKET}.sock

    The upstream socket is shared from a volume (e.g. php) by default. If that's not
    the case, override this setting.

    Example: CONF_UPSTREAM=php:9000


    Default: /usr/src/app

    Location for the root directive in Nginx. No trailing slash because the actual value of the
    root directive will be ${CONF_ROOT}/${CONF_PUBLIC}.

    Example: CONF_ROOT=/var/www


    Default: empty or...

    • public if CONF_APP=django
    • web if CONF_APP=symfony1

      Value to append to CONF_ROOT for the nginx's root directive. No leading slash, see
      CONF_ROOT description. Useful in a project with a subfolder as public facing (e.g. symfony).

      Example: CONF_PUBLIC=web


    Default: _

    If this is the only vhost in this container running nginx, there's no sense in setting your
    name_server. But if you need it somehow...


    Default: empty

    The default is to send access logs to stdout, but you can use this variable to send your
    app's logs to another file or shut them off entirely.

    Example: CONF_ACCESS_LOG=off

Add your own template

Build a new image with your own jinja template.

FROM helder/nginx
COPY myapp.jinja /etc/nginx/templates/vhost/myapp

Full example with docker compose

Drupal 8 project with public facing folder in web:

version: '2'

    image: helder/nginx
      - 80
      - php
      - CONF_APP=drupal
      - CONF_PUBLIC=web
      - CONF_UPSTREAM=php:9000

    image: helder/php:5.6
      - db
      - mail
      - ./:/usr/src/app
    working_dir: /usr/src/app

    image: mysql:5.5
      - 3306

    image: helder/mailcatcher
      - 80
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