How To Configure Https In Nginx

How To Configure Https In Nginx


HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the most secure and reliable way to communicate on the web. Although HTTP is still the most used protocol for web communication, HTTPS is becoming increasingly popular. This is because of the encryption it provides, which helps protect sensitive information such as passwords and credit card numbers. HTTPS is also important for other reasons, such as authentication and data integrity. So it is important to have HTTPS properly configured in your web server.

In this tutorial, we will be discussing how to configure HTTPS in the Nginx web server. Nginx is one of the most popular and powerful web servers available, and it is used by many of the world’s largest websites. We will cover the steps required to setup HTTPS, including generating and installing SSL certificates. We will also discuss how to make sure your website is secure and that all incoming traffic is being encrypted.

What Is An SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate is a file that contains information about a website’s identity, such as its domain name and domain owner. It also contains information about the Certificate Authority (CA) that issued the certificate, as well as an encrypted portion that can be used to verify the certificate’s authenticity. When a browser connects to a website, it will check the website’s SSL certificate to make sure it is valid and coming from the correct domain.

SSL certificates can be purchased from commercial CAs such as Comodo and DigiCert. They will generate the certificate and sign it with their private key, which is then used to verify the identity of the certificate. Once the certificate is signed and valid, the website can be accessed via HTTPS.

Configuring Nginx To Use SSL

Once you have purchased an SSL certificate from a trusted CA, you must configure your Nginx server to use the certificate. This can be done by editing the Nginx configuration file, which is usually located in the /etc/nginx/ directory. Go to this directory, and open the main configuration file, usually named “nginx.conf”.

In the “server” section, you must specify the SSL certificate and key. These should be specified using absolute paths, e.g. /etc/ssl/certs/domain.crt and /etc/ssl/private/domain.key. If you do not have a private key, you can generate one using OpenSSL. You must also specify the SSL protocol version – SSLv3 is normally sufficient. For more information on the options available, see the official Nginx documentation.

Once you have specified the certificate and key, you must edit the “server” section to make sure the SSL module is enabled. Again, this can be done by adding the “ssl_module” directive. Finally, you must specify the virtual hosts you want to use HTTPS on by adding the “listen 443” directive. All of these changes should be made in the “server” section.

Configuring SSL Protocols and Ciphers

After you have enabled SSL in Nginx, you must also specify which protocols and ciphers it should use. The protocols and ciphers used will determine how secure your website is – if you use an obsolete and/or insecure protocol or cipher, your website’s security will be compromised. It is therefore important to make sure you use only the most secure protocols and ciphers.

The protocols you should use (in order of preference) are TLSv1.2, TLSv1.1, and TLSv1. The ciphers you should use are ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384, ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256, and DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384. You can specify these in the “server” section of the Nginx configuration file by adding the “ssl_protocols” and “ssl_ciphers” directives. Again, see the official Nginx documentation for more information.

Securing Your Website

Once you have configured Nginx to use SSL, you must also make sure your website is secure. Make sure you are running the latest version of the web server, and also the latest version of any web applications you are using (such as WordPress). Make sure all your page content is served over HTTPS, and redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPS. You should also consider using a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to protect your website from malicious traffic.

You should also regularly check your website for vulnerabilities. Tools such as OpenVAS can be used to scan your website for known vulnerabilities, and any problems should be addressed immediately. You should also check the SSL configuration of your website, to make sure it is using strong protocols and ciphers.


HTTPS is increasingly becoming the default protocol for web communication, and it is important to make sure it is configured correctly. We have discussed how to configure HTTPS in Nginx, including generating and installing SSL certificates and configuring SSL protocols and ciphers. We have also discussed how to make sure your website is secure, and how to check for potential vulnerabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I purchase an SSL certificate?

A: You can purchase an SSL certificate from a commercial Certificate Authority (CA). Popular CAs include Comodo and DigiCert.

Q: How do I generate a private key?

A: You can generate a private key using OpenSSL. See the official OpenSSL documentation for more information.

Q: How do I check my website for vulnerabilities?

A: You can use tools such as OpenVAS to scan your website for known vulnerabilities. Make sure to periodically scan your website to check for any new issues.

Thank you for reading this article. We hope you have found it useful. Please read more of our articles for more helpful tips and information.

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