A secure and fast configuration for running squirrelmail with Nginx.
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Latest commit 030641a Jun 16, 2013 @perusio Merge pull request #1 from vimalg2/patch-1

Yep indeed. Thanks.


Nginx configuration for SquirrelMail


This is a nginx configuration for SquirrelMail. A webmail application written in PHP.


  1. Filtering of invalid HTTP Host headers.

  2. Specific locations for all the scripts and plugins.

  3. Matching of all .htaccess files protections with Nginx.

  4. Use of the open files cache for faster static file serving.

  5. All documents are protected.

  6. HTTPS enabled host.

  7. Support for safely running the attach and data directories outside of the /var/www root filesystem.

  8. Protection against running unauthorized PHP scripts.

  9. Disable of crawling with inline robots.txt file.

IPv6 and IPv4

The configuration of the example vhosts uses separate sockets for IPv6 and IPv4. This way is simpler for those not (yet) having IPv6 support to disable it by commenting out the listen directive with the ipv6only=on parameter.

Note that the IPv6 address uses an IP stolen from the IPv6 Wikipedia page. You must replace the indicated address by your address.


1. Move the old `/etc/nginx` directory to `/etc/nginx.old`.
  1. Clone the git repository from github:

    git clone https://github.com/perusio/squirrelmail-nginx.git /etc/nginx

  2. Edit the sites-available/webmail.example.com.conf and/or the sites-available/secure.webmail.com.conf when using the HTTPS host configuration file(s) to suit your needs. Especially replace stats.example.com with your domain.

    Since the credentials are sent over the wire from your browser to the server it's highly recommended that you use an HTTPS host rather than a mere HTTP host.

  3. Setup the PHP handling method. It can be:

    • Upstream HTTP server like Apache with mod_php. To use this method comment out the include upstream_phpcgi.conf; line in nginx.conf and uncomment the lines:

      include reverse_proxy.conf;
      include upstream_phpapache.conf;

      Now you must set the proper address and port for your backend(s) in the upstream_phpapache.conf. By default it assumes the loopback interface on port 8080. Adjust accordingly to reflect your setup.

      Comment out all fastcgi_pass directives in stats.example.com.conf Uncomment out all the proxy_pass directives. They have a comment around them, stating these instructions.

    • FastCGI process using php-cgi. In this case an init script is required. This is how the server is configured out of the box. It uses UNIX sockets. You can use TCP sockets if you prefer.

    • PHP FPM, this requires you to configure your fpm setup, in Debian/Ubuntu this is done in the /etc/php5/fpm directory.

      Look here for an example configuration of php-fpm.

    Check that the socket is properly created and is listening. This can be done with netstat, like this for UNIX sockets:

    netstat --unix -l

    or like this for TCP sockets:

    netstat -t -l

    It should display the PHP CGI socket.

    Note that the default socket type is UNIX and the config assumes it to be listening on unix:/tmp/php-cgi/php-cgi.socket, if using the php-cgi, or in unix:/var/run/php-fpm.sock using php-fpm and that you should change to reflect your setup by editing upstream_phpcgi.conf.

  4. Create the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory and enable the virtual host using one of the methods described below.

    Note that if you're using the nginx_ensite script described below it creates the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory if it doesn't exist the first time you run it for enabling a site.

  5. Reload Nginx:

    /etc/init.d/nginx reload

  6. Check that your site is working using your browser.

  7. Remove the /etc/nginx.old directory.

  8. Done.

Getting the latest Nginx packaged for Debian or Ubuntu

I maintain a debian repository with the latest version of Nginx. This is packaged for Debian unstable or testing. The instructions for using the repository are presented on this page.

It may work or not on Ubuntu. Since Ubuntu seems to appreciate more finding semi-witty names for their releases instead of making clear what's the status of the software included. Is it stable? Is it testing? Is it unstable? The package may work with your currently installed environment or not. I don't have the faintest idea which release to advise. So you're on your own. Generally the APT machinery will sort out for you any dependencies issues that might exist.

Other Nginx configs on github

Securing your PHP configuration

There's a small shell script that parses your php.ini and sets a sane environment, be it for development or production settings.

Grab it here.