Sites Available and Sites Enabled Nginx
If you are a web developer or system administrator, you might be familiar with Nginx as a web server with excellent performance and scalability. Nginx is also known as a reverse proxy for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols. In this article, we will discuss two critical directories in Nginx: sites-available and sites-enabled.
By default, Nginx stores its configurations in the /etc/nginx directory. Inside this directory, you can find the nginx.conf file, which is the main configuration file. However, when you have multiple websites or applications on your server, managing individual configurations can become tedious. This is where sites-available and sites-enabled directories come into the picture.
The sites-available directory contains configuration files for all your websites or applications. Each file is named after the website or application it configures, and it ends with the .conf extension. One of the benefits of having individual configuration files is that you can enable or disable a website without deleting its configuration. Moreover, you don’t have to go through the main configuration file to modify a specific website’s settings.
Generally, the sites-available directory contains configurations for all your websites, including those that are not currently running. It’s a good practice to keep all your configurations in one place, so you don’t forget about them when you need them. In case you have to move your website to a new server or install a new Nginx version, you won’t have to worry about missing configurations.
The sites-enabled directory contains symbolic links to the configuration files in the sites-available directory. When you enable a website, Nginx creates a symbolic link in the sites-enabled directory to the respective configuration file in the sites-available directory. As a result, Nginx loads only those configuration files that have symbolic links in the sites-enabled directory.
This mechanism enables you to enable or disable websites without modifying their configuration files. All you have to do is to create or remove symbolic links in the sites-enabled directory. The syntax for creating a symbolic link in Linux is ln -s source_file target_link. For example, to enable a website named example.com, you can run the following command:
ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/example.com.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/example.com.conf
Likewise, to disable the same website, you can remove the symbolic link in the sites-enabled directory:
This way, you don’t have to go through the entire configuration file to enable or disable a website.
The sites-available and sites-enabled directories in Nginx are essential for managing multiple websites or applications on your server. The sites-available directory contains all your configuration files, while the sites-enabled directory contains symbolic links to the enabled configurations. This mechanism enables you to enable or disable websites without modifying their configuration files directly. As a result, you can manage your websites efficiently without worrying about complex configurations or dependencies.