How to enable the gzip/deflate in nginx server on Linux or Unix system

Posted on in Categories , , last updated March 5, 2017

I am a new Linux system admin and how can I enable gzip compression on nginx web server for JS/CSS/HTML files?

You need to use the ngx_http_gzip_module module. It compresses all valid HTTP responses (files) using the “gzip” method. This is useful to reduce data transfer size and speed up web pages for static assets such as JavaScript, CSS files and more.
How to enable gzip compression on nginx

Steps to enable gzip/deflate in nginx server

Edit your nginx.conf file or create a new config file called /etc/nginx/conf.d/static_gzip.conf:
$ sudo vi /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
Add the following in http context:

        ##
        # Gzip Settings
        ##
 
        gzip on;
        gzip_disable "msie6";
 
        gzip_vary on;
        gzip_proxied any;
        gzip_comp_level 6;
        gzip_buffers 16 8k;
        gzip_http_version 1.1;
        gzip_types text/plain text/css application/json application/javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript;

Save and close the file. Verify that there are no errors in config file:
$ nginx -t
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Restart the nginx server

Type the following command to restart or reload nginx server:
$ sudo service nginx reload
OR
$ sudo systemctl reload nginx
OR
$ sudo /etc/init.d/nginx reload

How do I verify gzip/deflate working or not?

Use the following syntax:
$ curl -I -H 'Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate' https://your-domain-here/file.css
$ curl -I -H 'Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate' https://s0.cyberciti.org/assets/auto/cms/wp-content/cache/autoptimize/css/autoptimize_4c2bea242e2386438912dd88773b352c.css
$ curl -I -H 'Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate' https://www.cyberciti.biz/

Sample outputs:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Sun, 05 Mar 2017 18:45:31 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Connection: keep-alive
Vary: Accept-Encoding
X-Whom: l1-com-cyber
Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=15768000; includeSubdomains
Link: ; rel="https://api.w.org/"
X-Varnish: 1812270 1794298
Age: 475
Via: 1.1 varnish-v4
Front-End-Https: on
Content-Encoding: gzip

For more info see Module ngx_http_gzip_module.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

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