Hosting Nancy with Nginx on Ubuntu

Andreas Håkansson edited this page Apr 29, 2016 · 21 revisions

This tutorial describes how to install and run a NancyFx behind Nginx web server powered website on Ubuntu 14.04, but newer versions will probably work fine.

Although you could run NancyFx just self hosted on a Linux machine, using Nginx has a lot of advantages like:

  • reverse proxy
  • load balancing
  • bypassing nancy for any static content so that you don't have to setup nancy routes for them

Install mono on your Ubuntu machine

Note: Due to how Ubuntu updates its packages, the version of Mono that comes bundled on Ubuntu will almost always be outdated, and as of April 2015 is not suitable for our purposes.

In order to install Mono, it is highly recommended that you:

  1. Follow these instructions to get the latest version from the official mono repositories; or

  2. Compile it yourself (for advanced users familiar with Linux)

To compile it yourself, go to the mono download page to retrieve the the latest mono version. In our case, we build the latest source from github:

$ sudo apt-get install git autoconf automake libtool g++ gettext
$ mkdir ~/src
$ cd ~/src
$ git clone git://
$ cd mono
$ ./ --prefix=/usr/local
$ make get-monolite-latest
$ make
$ sudo make install

Now we are ready to run .NET applications under linux.

Create a Nancy Website

Open Visual Studio (this tutorial was written using VS 2015 Community Edition), and create a new Console Application.

Install the following nuget packages:

Install-Package Nancy.Hosting.Self
Install-Package Mono.Posix

Edit the Program.cs file and add the following code:

using Mono.Unix;
using Mono.Unix.Native;
using Nancy.Hosting.Self;
using System;

namespace NancyDemo
    class Program
        static void Main(string[] args)
            var uri = "http://localhost:8888";
            Console.WriteLine("Starting Nancy on " + uri);

            // initialize an instance of NancyHost
            var host = new NancyHost(new Uri(uri));
            host.Start();  // start hosting

            // check if we're running on mono
            if (Type.GetType("Mono.Runtime") != null)
                // on mono, processes will usually run as daemons - this allows you to listen
                // for termination signals (ctrl+c, shutdown, etc) and finalize correctly
                UnixSignal.WaitAny(new[] {
                    new UnixSignal(Signum.SIGINT),
                    new UnixSignal(Signum.SIGTERM),
                    new UnixSignal(Signum.SIGQUIT),
                    new UnixSignal(Signum.SIGHUP)

            Console.WriteLine("Stopping Nancy");
            host.Stop();  // stop hosting

Create a new file HelloModule.cs with the following code:

using Nancy;

namespace NancyDemo
    public class HelloModule : NancyModule
        public HelloModule()
            Get["/"] = parameters => "Hello World!";

Make sure it works locally first! Go ahead and start the debugger. You should be able to go to http://localhost:8888 in your web browser and see the "Hello World!" message.

To install your nancy appliction on Linux, grab anything from your Bin/Release or Debug folder and copy it to any place you want on your Linux machine, but make sure that your Content folder ends up on /var/www/nancydemo/Content/ for making the nginx config below to work. For the following we asume that you copied all of it to /var/www/nancydemo/

Install nginx

nginx is the webserver we're using. We configure it to forward all requests to the nancy self hosted application. The content folder with static files will be handled by nginx.

$ sudo apt-get install nginx

Create the website configuration file in /etc/nginx/sites-available/nancydemo with the following content. The server_name is the domain on which the request will be handled. Change this to your own value.

server {
    listen       80;
    root /var/www/nancydemo;

    location /Content/ {
        alias /var/www/nancydemo/Content/;
        location ~*  \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif|ico|css|js|ttf)$ {
            expires 365d;

    location / {

This lets your server forward any requests send to port 80 to your running nancy instance listening on port 8888 with the exception of static content that is requested from /Content/

When testing, instead of, you can substitute the local IP address, eg

To enable the website, create a symbolic link from the sites-available to the sites-enabled folder. This will make it easy to temporary disable sites in the future.

$ sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/nancydemo /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/nancydemo

The configuration is completed, reload Nginx to apply.

$ sudo /etc/init.d/nginx reload

Install supervisor

To make sure our nancy self hosted website never stops, we use supervisor. This program makes sure that NancyDemo keeps running.

$ apt-get install supervisor

Configure supervisor by creating a new file /etc/supervisor/conf.d/nancydemo.conf

command=mono /var/www/nancydemo/NancyDemo.exe -d
stderr_logfile = /var/log/supervisor/nancydemo-err.log
stdout_logfile = /var/log/supervisor/nancydemo-stdout.log

NOTE If you compiled Mono yourself in the first step, change the second line to command=/usr/bin/mono NancyDemo.exe -d

Start the control manager of supervisor

$ sudo supervisorctl

And update the configuration. You should see that there is a new process added. Now start nancydemo.

$ supervisor>update
$ supervisor>start nancydemo

Put your hands in the air

Go to and see our baby saying "Hello World".


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