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A simple example showing how to run Nginx as a non-root, non-sudo-access user.
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Running Nginx Under a Non-Root User

Sometimes, rarely, you will find yourself needing to run Nginx as a non-root user without sudo permissions. Figuring out the various settings needed to do this from scratch can be an annoying process: by default Nginx assumes it has write access to all sorts of restricted places in a UNIX filesystem, and each of those is controlled by a different configuration option.

To run this example, first set up the Vagrant VM. This will install Nginx and create an nginx user with write access to the default /vagrant synced folder:

vagrant up

Now log in as the default vagrant user:

vagrant ssh

Once logged in switch to the nginx user and launch Nginx:

sudo su
su - nginx
/usr/sbin/nginx -c /vagrant/nginx.conf

You can satisfy yourself that Nginx is running just fine on port 8080 even though the nginx user doesn't have write access to /var/run, /var/log, and other restricted locations.

To stop Nginx:

/usr/sbin/nginx -s stop -c /vagrant/nginx.conf

The various settings needed for this to work are documented in nginx.conf, and are easy enough to alter for other use cases.

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