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Last pushed: 4 days ago
Short Description
Automated Nginx reverse proxy for docker containers
Full Description

nginx-proxy sets up a container running nginx and docker-gen. docker-gen generates reverse proxy configs for nginx and reloads nginx when containers are started and stopped.

See Automated Nginx Reverse Proxy for Docker for why you might want to use this.


To run it:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy

Then start any containers you want proxied with an env var

$ docker run -e  ...

Provided your DNS is setup to forward to the a host running nginx-proxy, the request will be routed to a container with the VIRTUAL_HOST env var set.

If your are using boot2docker start nginx-proxy with:

$ $(boot2docker shellinit)
$ docker run -p 80:80 -e DOCKER_HOST -e DOCKER_CERT_PATH -e DOCKER_TLS_VERIFY -v $DOCKER_CERT_PATH:$DOCKER_CERT_PATH -it jwilder/nginx-proxy

Multiple Ports

If your container exposes multiple ports, nginx-proxy will default to the service running on port 80. If you need to specify a different port, you can set a VIRTUAL_PORT env var to select a different one. If your container only exposes one port and it has a VIRTUAL_HOST env var set, that port will be selected.

Multiple Hosts

If you need to support multiple virtual hosts for a container, you can separate each entry with commas. For example,,, and each host will be setup the same.

Wildcard Hosts

You can also use wildcards at the beginning and the end of host name, like * or*. Or even a regular expression, which can be very useful in conjunction with a wildcard DNS service like, using ~^foo\.bar\..*\.xip\.io will match, and all other given IPs. More information about this topic can be found in the nginx documentation about server_names.

SSL Backends

If you would like to connect to your backend using HTTPS instead of HTTP, set VIRTUAL_PROTO=https on the backend container.

Default Host

To set the default host for nginx use the env var for example

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -e -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy

Separate Containers

nginx-proxy can also be run as two separate containers using the jwilder/docker-gen
image and the official nginx image.

You may want to do this to prevent having the docker socket bound to a publicly exposed container service.

To run nginx proxy as a separate container you'll need to have nginx.tmpl on your host system.

First start nginx with a volume:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 --name nginx -v /tmp/nginx:/etc/nginx/conf.d -t nginx

Then start the docker-gen container with the shared volume and template:

$ docker run --volumes-from nginx \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \
    -v $(pwd):/etc/docker-gen/templates \
    -t jwilder/docker-gen -notify-sighup nginx -watch -only-exposed /etc/docker-gen/templates/nginx.tmpl /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf

Finally, start your containers with VIRTUAL_HOST environment variables.

$ docker run -e  ...

SSL Support

SSL is supported using single host, wildcard and SNI certificates using naming conventions for
certificates or optionally specifying a cert name (for SNI) as an environment variable.

To enable SSL:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v /path/to/certs:/etc/nginx/certs -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy

The contents of /path/to/certs should contain the certificates and private keys for any virtual
hosts in use. The certificate and keys should be named after the virtual host with a .crt and
.key extension. For example, a container with should have a and file in the certs directory.

Diffie-Hellman Groups

If you have Diffie-Hellman groups enabled, the files should be named after the virtual host with a
dhparam suffix and .pem extension. For example, a container with
should have a file in the certs directory.

Wildcard Certificates

Wildcard certificates and keys should be name after the domain name with a .crt and .key extension.
For example would use cert name and


If your certificate(s) supports multiple domain names, you can start a container with CERT_NAME=<name>
to identify the certificate to be used. For example, a certificate for * and *
could be named shared.crt and shared.key. A container running with
and CERT_NAME=shared will then use this shared cert.

How SSL Support Works

The SSL cipher configuration is based on mozilla nginx intermediate profile which
should provide compatibility with clients back to Firefox 1, Chrome 1, IE 7, Opera 5, Safari 1,
Windows XP IE8, Android 2.3, Java 7. The configuration also enables HSTS, and SSL
session caches.

The behavior for the proxy when port 80 and 443 are exposed is as follows:

  • If a container has a usable cert, port 80 will redirect to 443 for that container so that HTTPS
    is always preferred when available.
  • If the container does not have a usable cert, a 503 will be returned.

Note that in the latter case, a browser may get an connection error as no certificate is available
to establish a connection. A self-signed or generic cert named default.crt and default.key
will allow a client browser to make a SSL connection (likely w/ a warning) and subsequently receive
a 503.

Basic Authentication Support

In order to be able to secure your virtual host, you have to create a file named as its equivalent VIRTUAL_HOST variable on directory

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 \
    -v /path/to/htpasswd:/etc/nginx/htpasswd \
    -v /path/to/certs:/etc/nginx/certs \
    -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro \

You'll need apache2-utils on the machine where you plan to create the htpasswd file. Follow these instructions

Custom Nginx Configuration

If you need to configure Nginx beyond what is possible using environment variables, you can provide custom configuration files on either a proxy-wide or per-VIRTUAL_HOST basis.


To add settings on a proxy-wide basis, add your configuration file under /etc/nginx/conf.d using a name ending in .conf.

This can be done in a derived image by creating the file in a RUN command or by COPYing the file into conf.d:

FROM jwilder/nginx-proxy
RUN { \
      echo 'server_tokens off;'; \
      echo 'client_max_body_size 100m;'; \
    } > /etc/nginx/conf.d/my_proxy.conf

Or it can be done by mounting in your custom configuration in your docker run command:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v /path/to/my_proxy.conf:/etc/nginx/conf.d/my_proxy.conf:ro -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy


To add settings on a per-VIRTUAL_HOST basis, add your configuration file under /etc/nginx/vhost.d. Unlike in the proxy-wide case, which allows mutliple config files with any name ending in .conf, the per-VIRTUAL_HOST file must be named exactly after the VIRTUAL_HOST.

In order to allow virtual hosts to be dynamically configured as backends are added and removed, it makes the most sense to mount an external directory as /etc/nginx/vhost.d as opposed to using derived images or mounting individual configuration files.

For example, if you have a virtual host named, you could provide a custom configuration for that host as follows:

$ docker run -d -p 80:80 -p 443:443 -v /path/to/vhost.d:/etc/nginx/vhost.d:ro -v /var/run/docker.sock:/tmp/docker.sock:ro jwilder/nginx-proxy
$ { echo 'server_tokens off;'; echo 'client_max_body_size 100m;'; } > /path/to/vhost.d/

If you are using multiple hostnames for a single container (e.g.,, the virtual host configuration file must exist for each hostname. If you would like to use the same configuration for multiple virtual host names, you can use a symlink:

$ { echo 'server_tokens off;'; echo 'client_max_body_size 100m;'; } > /path/to/vhost.d/
$ ln -s /path/to/vhost.d/
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Comments (37)
2 days ago

It doesn't work for me. I am trying to use it with the dockerized wordpress and SSL support. nginx-proxy keeps restarting with the letsencrypt certificates. I use fullchain certificate and a private key., converted fullchain.pem to <my-virtual-host>.crt and <my-virtual-host>.key.
nginx-proxy keeps restarting. It works only without SSL support.
I have been struggling to make it work with the not dockerized Nginx as well.

6 months ago

Need help from experts here.

I have two servers running exact copy of jwilder/nginx-proxy.

One will pass virtual host information as see in this log.

nginx-proxy | nginx.1 | - - [24/Oct/2016:15:33:48 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 302 0 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.143 Safari/537.36"
nginx-proxy | nginx.1 | - - [24/Oct/2016:15:33:49 +0000] "GET /wp-admin/install.php HTTP/1.1" 200 3120 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.143 Safari/537.36"

Another one will only pass the ip address so I can't make virtual host to work on this server.
Here is the log.

nginx-proxy | nginx.1 | - - [24/Oct/2016:15:43:41 +0000] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 304 0 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/53.0.2785.143 Safari/537.36" "-"

Both servers running Debian Jessie with latest update.

a year ago

Unfortunately this did not work for me. The generated nginx.conf upstream contexts were missing their IP addresses. This was likely due to the containers I was trying to reverse proxy to being part of my user-defined, isolated network. A github issue I found seems to indicate that was the cause. In the end I just setup an nginx image myself manually to do the proxy -- which honestly is pretty straight forward (just look at the nginx conf templates that this image uses.)

a year ago

Hi jwilder.

Would you mind providing it for ARM arch ? I'm busy making it work on my raspberry running HypriotOS, but I'ld prefer getting this upstream.

And many thanks for the great job man!

a year ago

Hey! I'm having an issue setting up a forward to Graham Pugh's Munki-Do container ( This container exposes port 8000, and in the docker run command I'm setting the VIRTUAL_HOST to an arbitrary value that's setup on my local DNS server (-e VIRTUAL_HOST=munki-do) and the PORT to 8087 (-e VIRTUAL_PORT=8087). My entire run command is as follows:

sudo docker run -d \
--name Munki-Do \
-p 8087:8000 \
-e VIRTUAL_HOST=munki-do \
-e VIRTUAL_PORT=8087 \
--restart=always \

However, when I attempt to access the container via a browser, I get the following errors in the docker logs:

nginx.1 | 2015/12/04 12:19:27 [error] 49#49: *72818 no live upstreams while connecting to upstream, client:, server: munki-do, request: "GET / HTTP/1.1", upstream: "http://munki-do/", host: "Munki-Do"

Any idea what this means?


a year ago

I think I handled It... I put "client_max_body_size 15000M;"
into nginx.conf
It seems to work...

a year ago

I confirm owncloud works fine alone

a year ago

Hello, thank you for your great container. I am using owncloud and I spend my day at trying to make it accept files that are more than 2mb. I modified php.ini, checked apache, tried an owncloud-nginx container : no change. And I can't get what's wrong with your container, but the error "Request entity too large" appears with all owncloud versions. Can you give me a lift out of hell please ? Running docker on ubuntu server 14.04.3 64bits 3GHz x2 6Go RAM, I would prefer to use the official owncloud container.

Thanks a lot by advance for your help

a year ago

I am using the nginx-proxy to proxy a magento container (using nginx within the magento container) with SSL. I was able to set up the containers and run the magento installation routine via nginx-proxy with an SSL connection. After completing the installation I get a ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS error message whenever I try to acccess the magento frontend or backend.

This seems to be weird since there is obviously no problem during installation, so I assume there must be something I am not getting yet. I assume that there are some rewrite rules which mess up the architecture, but I cannot figure out what's wrong.

This is my configuration of the magento nginx:

# The default server
server {

listen   443;

ssl on;


ssl_certificate        /etc/certs/;
ssl_certificate_key    /etc/certs/;

#charset koi8-r;

root   /var/www;
index  index.html index.htm index.php;

location / {

    index index.html index.php; ## Allow a static html file to be shown first

    try_files $uri $uri/ @handler; ## If missing pass the URI to Magento's front handler

    expires 30d; ## Assume all files are cachable


## These locations would be hidden by .htaccess normally

location ^~ /app/                { deny all; }

location ^~ /includes/           { deny all; }

location ^~ /lib/                { deny all; }

location ^~ /media/downloadable/ { deny all; }

location ^~ /pkginfo/            { deny all; }

location ^~ /report/config.xml   { deny all; }

location ^~ /var/                { deny all; }

location /var/export/ { ## Allow admins only to view export folder

    auth_basic           "Restricted"; ## Message shown in login window

    auth_basic_user_file htpasswd; ## See /etc/nginx/htpassword

    autoindex            on;


location  /. { ## Disable .htaccess and other hidden files

    return 404;


location @handler { ## Magento uses a common front handler

    rewrite / /index.php;


location ~ .php/ { ## Forward paths like /js/index.php/x.js to relevant handler

    rewrite ^(.*.php)/ $1 last;

    fastcgi_read_timeout 500;


# pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
location ~ \.php$ {
    fastcgi_index  index.php;
    fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME  $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    include        fastcgi_params;


I added the following evironment variables to the magento docker container:

Furthermore I added the ssl certificates to the nginx proxy as well as to the magento nginx configuration. So each container (nginx proxy and magento) contain this certificates.

The idea is that the nginx proxy forwards all requests from to the magento container via an SSL connection.

The magento container does not expose any ports to the public but the nginx proxy links to the container (for security reasons).

I have been desperately working on this for several days now and greatly appreciate any hint. Could there be any issue with the certificates? E.g. if the forwarded request from the nginx proxy coontains a different server name and there cannot verify with the certificates on magento?! But if so, how could that be resolved?

Thanks Peter

2 years ago

I have a container that exposes two different ports, for example 22 and 80.
How can I set a virtual host for each port? -> 22 -> 80