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OpenResty Chef Cookbook

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This cookbook installs the OpenResty NGINX bundle ( from source and sets up configuration handling similar to Debian's Apache2 scripts. It also provides an OHAI plugin for configuration detection and an LWRP for easy site activation and deactivation.

The latest and greatest revision of this cookbook will always be available at



The following cookbooks are direct dependencies because they're used for common "default" functionality.

  • build-essential
  • ohai (for openresty::ohai_plugin)
  • logrotate (for log file rotation)
  • apt
  • yum

In order to install the OpenResty postgresql module you'll also need the postgresql cookbook.

If you want to link NGINX to the very performant jemalloc library, you'll need the jemalloc cookbook.


The following platforms are supported and tested using test-kitchen:

  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • CentOS 7.2

Other Debian and RHEL family distributions are assumed to work.

Chef Server

The cookbook converges best on Chef installations >= 10.16.2

Awesome stuff

This cookbook includes automatic activation of some nice NGINX features such as:

  • By default LUAJIT-enabled build: The cookbook by default activates the LUAJIT feature of OpenResty (since this is the main reason to use the bundle) and accounts for all the peculiarities this option may bring.

  • Automatic CPU affinity: Automatically sets the worker-to-core affinity for all of the NGINX worker processes. For a scenario of 8 workers and 8 cores, the following directive gets generated:

      worker_cpu_affinity 00000001 00000010 00000100 00001000 00010000 00100000 01000000 10000000;

    This feature can offer a nice performance boost, since it helps the CPUs maintain cache locality (especially when used in conjunction to the LUA module)

  • Automatic detection and activation of the AIO feature: The cookbook automatically detects support (Linux kernel >= 2.6.22) and enables the aio directive of NGINX.

  • Automatic IPv6 detection and activation: The cookbook automatically detects and activates IPv6 support on NGINX.

  • Support for custom PCRE runtime: The cookbook can use custom PCRE sources in order to statically link to a custom-compiled PCRE runtime that supports JIT regular expression compilation which will significantly speed up RE execution in the NGINX and Lua environments.

  • Support for LUA Rocks: The cookbook installs support for LUA Rocks embedded in the LUAJIT installation, allowing you to install any rock you want, right from the official Rocks site. It also provides an LWRP for installing rocks via your recipes.


Node attributes for this cookbook are logically separated into different files.


Generally used attributes. Some have platform specific values. See attributes/default.rb. "The Config" refers to "nginx.conf" the main config file.

  • node['openresty']['source']['version'] - The OpenResty version to be installed from source.

  • node['openresty']['source']['url'] - The URL for downloading the selected version.

  • node['openresty']['source']['checksum'] - The SHA-256 checksum for the selected version.

  • node['openresty']['source']['file_prefix'] - The main source directory name. ngx_ got dropped in newer OpenResty versions.

  • node['openresty']['dir'] - Location for NGINX configuration.

  • node['openresty']['log_dir'] - Location for NGINX logs.

  • node['openresty']['cache_dir'] - Location for NGINX cache files.

  • node['openresty']['run_dir'] - Location for NGINX state and pid files.

  • node['openresty']['binary'] - Location for NGINX executable.

  • node['openresty']['pid'] - The exact NGINX pid filename.

  • node['openresty']['source']['conf_path'] - Exact filename for the NGINX configuration file.

  • node['openresty']['source']['prefix'] - Installation prefix for miscellaneous data.

  • node['openresty']['source']['path'] - Download and compilation temporary path.

  • node['openresty']['source']['state'] - The state directory where Chef will keep state in a serverless environment like Chef Solo, Zero or OpsWorks.

  • node['openresty']['source']['default_configure_flags'] - A set of default configuration flags for the source compilation, generally best left untouched unless you really know what you're doing.

  • node['openresty']['modules'] - An array of recipe names that are included from this cookbook and add additional features to the source compilation process.

  • node['openresty']['extra_modules'] - An array of full recipe references (in the form of cookbook::recipe), for you to include extra-cookbook modules in the same manner as above.

  • node['openresty']['configure_flags'] - An array of extra configure flags to be included included along the default configure flags.

  • node['openresty']['user'] - User that NGINX will run as.

  • node['openresty']['group] - Group for NGINX.

  • node['openresty']['ipv6'] - Enables IPv6 support for NGINX. Automatically detected and enabled.

  • node['openresty']['gzip'] - Whether to use gzip, can be "on" or "off"

  • node['openresty']['gzip_http_version'] - used for config value of gzip_http_version.

  • node['openresty']['gzip_comp_level'] - used for config value of gzip_comp_level.

  • node['openresty']['gzip_proxied'] - used for config value of gzip_proxied.

  • node['openresty']['gzip_vary'] - used for config value of gzip_vary.

  • node['openresty']['gzip_buffers'] - used for config value of gzip_buffers.

  • node['openresty']['gzip_types'] - used for config value of gzip_types - must be an Array.

  • node['openresty']['keepalive'] - Whether to use keepalive_timeout and keepalive_requests, any value besides "on" will leave that option out of the config.

  • node['openresty']['keepalive_timeout'] - used for config value of keepalive_timeout.

  • node['openresty']['keepalive_requests'] - used for config value of keepalive_requests.

  • node['openresty']['worker_processes'] - used for config value of worker_processes.

  • node['openresty']['worker_connections'] - used for config value of events { worker_connections }

  • node['openresty']['worker_rlimit_nofile'] - used for config value of worker_rlimit_nofile. Can replace any "ulimit -n" command. The value depend on your usage (cache or not) but must always be superior than worker_connections.

  • node['openresty']['worker_auto_affinity'] - Automatically computes and creates CPU affinity assignments (config value worker_cpu_affinity) based on the total number of workers and CPU cores. Can show a nice performance boost when used in high request volume scenarios.

  • node['openresty']['multi_accept'] - used for config value of events { multi_accept }. Try to accept() as many connections as possible. Disable by default.

  • node['openresty']['event'] - used for config value of events { use }. Set the event-model. By default NGINX looks for the most suitable method for your OS. Automatically set to epoll for Linux >= 2.6 kernels

  • node['openresty']['server_names_hash_bucket_size'] - used for config value of server_names_hash_bucket_size.

  • node['openresty']['client_max_body_size'] - used for config value of client_max_body_size.

  • node['openresty']['client_body_buffer_size'] - used for config value of client_body_buffer_size.

  • node['openresty']['large_client_header_buffers'] - used for config value of large_client_header_buffers.

  • node['openresty']['types_hash_max_size'] - used for config value of types_hash_max_size.

  • node['openresty']['types_hash_bucket_size'] - used for config value of types_hash_bucket_size.

  • node['openresty']['open_file_cache'] - used for config value of open_file_cache. Must be an array with values used in the open_file_cache directive of NGINX.

  • node['openresty']['log_formats'] - hash of log_formats you want to use in nginx.conf http context

  • node['openresty']['logrotate'] - set to true to use the logrotate_app of the logrotate cookbook to enable automatic log rotation of NGINX logs.

  • node['openresty']['disable_access_log'] - set to true to disable the general access log, may be useful on high traffic sites.

  • node['openresty']['default_site_enabled'] - enable the default site

  • node['openresty']['custom_pcre'] - Se to true to download and use a custom PCRE source tree in order to enable RE JIT support.

  • node['openresty']['link_to_jemalloc'] - Se to true to link the NGINX executable to the jemalloc library. Requires the jemalloc cookbook.

  • node['openresty']['generate_dhparams'] - Set to true to generate a 2048-bit Diffie-Helman parameter file for increased security.

  • node['openresty']['resolver'] - Set a customer DNS resolver IP address for internal domain name resolution.

  • node['openresty']['resolver_ttl'] - Set the cache time to live for the resolved domains by the resolver.

  • node['openresty']['lua_package_path'] - The default LUA package path

  • node['openresty']['lua_package_cpath'] - The default LUA package path for C libraries


Define service-specific attributes

  • node['openresty']['service']['recipe'] - Set it to a fully qualified Chef recipe definition like openresty::service_init. The recipe should initialize the service definition and maybe start OpenResty. The default installs and initializes a SYSV-init-style service.

  • node['openresty']['service']['resource'] - Set it to the resource string, i.e. service[nginx] that will be notified on configuration file changes.

  • node['openresty']['service']['restart_on_update'] - Set it to true to enable automatic service restart after updating the OpenResty binary.

  • node['openresty']['service']['start_on_boot'] - Set it to true to enable automatic service activation and startup via the selected init service. Currently used by the default init service handler.

  • node['openresty']['service']['defaults_file_cookbook'] - Optionally specify a cookbook location for a custom defaults file that contains exported environment variables for Nginx

  • node['openresty']['service']['defaults_file_template'] - Optionally specify the template name, if the previous defaults_file_cookbook attribute is not set to the current cookbook.



  • node['openresty']['realip']['header'] - Header to use for the RealIp Module; only accepts "X-Forwarded-For" or "X-Real-IP"

  • node['openresty']['realip']['addresses'] - Addresses to use for the http_realip configuration.

  • node['openresty']['realip']['recursive'] - If recursive search is enabled, the original client address that matches one of the trusted addresses is replaced by the last non-trusted address sent in the request header field. Can be true or false (default).



  • node['openresty']['upload_progress']['url'] - GitHub URL to checkout the upload_progress module from

  • node['openresty']['upload_progress']['name'] - Directory name to checkout the module to


  • node['openresty']['status']['url'] - The URL that will be exposed as the NGINX status URL
  • node['openresty']['status']['name'] - An array of IPs allowed to view the status URL


Explicitely activate not-automatically-activated OpenResty modules

  • node['openresty']['or_modules']['luajit'] - Enables LUAJIT module compilation
  • node['openresty']['or_modules']['luajit_binary'] - Defines the bundled luajit binary version
  • node['openresty']['or_modules']['iconv'] - Enables iconv module compilation
  • node['openresty']['or_modules']['postgres'] - Enables PostgreSQL module compilation
  • node['openresty']['or_modules']['drizzle'] - Enables Drizzle module compilation


From: and

  • node['openresty']['cache_purge']['version'] - The version of the cache_purge module
  • node['openresty']['cache_purge']['url'] - URL to download the cache purge module from
  • node['openresty']['cache_purge']['checksum'] - The SHA-256 sum of the cache_purge module archive


  • node['openresty']['luarocks']['version'] - The version of the luarocks pacakge to download
  • node['openresty']['luarocks']['url'] - URL to download the luarocks package from
  • node['openresty']['luarocks']['checksum'] - The SHA-256 sum of the luarocks archive
  • node['openresty']['luarocks']['default_rocks'] - A hash with the names and versions of Lua rocks to install by default.



The default recipe will install the OpenResty NGINX bundle from source, automatically including your selected set of modules, extra-cookbook modules and set up the configuration according to the Debian site enable/disable style with sites-enabled using the nxensite and nxdissite scripts provided by the openresty_site LWRP.

The recipe ensures that the required packages to build NGINX are installed (pcre, openssl, compile tools). The source will be downloaded from the node['openresty']['source']['url']. The node['openresty']['user'] will be created as a system user. The appropriate configuration and log directories and config files will be created as well according to the attributes node['openresty']['dir'] and 'node['openresty']['log_dir'].

The recipe attempts to detect whether additional modules should be added to the configure command through recipe inclusion (see below), and whether the version or configuration flags have changed and should trigger a recompile.

Many features are automatically detected and enabled into the NGINX default configuration file such as AIO support for Linux kernels >= 2.6.22, IPv6 support and CPU worker affinity.

The NGINX service can be either managed with SYSV init style scripts that are already included in the cookbook or you can define your own. You only have to define the service resource used for notifications (like runit_service[nginx] or service[nginx]) and optionally a recipe to be included in the convergence flow (like openresty::service_init or my_openresty:::service_runit).

The cookbook generates various include files (.inc) that are available for inclusion in standard NGINX site definition files via the #include directive. Look in the conf.d directory of node['openresty']['dir'] location for them!

Includes the ohai_plugin recipe so the plugin is available.


This recipe provides an Ohai plugin as a template. It is automatically included by the default.rb recipe.

http_*_module.rb, upload_progress_module.rb, cache_purge_module.rb

These recipes are automatically included by the default.rb recipe according to the node['openresty']['modules'] array and provide compiled-in additional features to the standard OpenResty NGINX compile. Check each recipe separately for more information.


Special mention needs to be made for the stub status module. The approach followed here is to create an include file with proper directives (set in the status_module.rb attribute file) that can be included in any NGINX configuration virtual host via the include directive:

include /etc/nginx/conf.d/;


The luarocks recipe installs the LUA rocks package management system for the LUAJIT bundle that comes with OpenResty. You can define a set of rocks to install by default using the node['openresty']['luarocks']['default_rocks'] hash.

For more information on using LUA rocks with OpenResty check out

Adding New Modules

To add a new module to be compiled into NGINX in the source recipe, the node's run state is manipulated in a recipe, and the module as a recipe should be added to node['openresty']['modules']. For example:

node.run_state['openresty_configure_flags'] =
  node.run_state['openresty_configure_flags'] | ["--with-http_stub_status_module"]

The recipe will be included by recipe[nginx::default] automatically, adding the configure flags. Add any other configuration templates or other resources as required. See the recipes described above for examples.

In order to include extra-cookbook modules (most probably via an application cookbook), you can use the node['openresty']['extra_modules'] array, which takes as elements full recipe references like


The extra-cookbook modules will be included in the same manner as the standard intra-cookbook modules.



The cookbook includes the openresty_site LWRP (in contrast to the original nginx_site cookbook definition script). The LWRP can be used in the same manner as nginx_site and offers resource notifications (an advantage LWRPs offer over simpler definitions). It also includes a timing parameter that can be used to notify the nginx process to restart immediately based on configuration file changes. It can also deploy your website's configuration in the appropriate place if you define the template parameter with the filename of your website's configuration template (variables for this template can be defined with variables) in the cookbook where you've also defined the openresty_site resource. The LWRP can be used such as:

openresty_site '' do
  template ''
  variables hostname: ''
  action :enable
  timing :immediately


The cookbook includes a LUA rock LWRP that allows for easy installation of LUA rocks, available to use with the LUAJIT system bundled with OpenResty. You can install and remove LUA rocks using the install and remove actions of the LWRP. A sample follows:

openresty_luarock 'md5' do
  action :install
  version '1.1.2'

openresty_luarock 'luasql-mysql' do
  action :install
  environment {
    'MYSQL_DIR' => '/usr/local'

openresty_luarock 'luafilesystem' do
  action :remove # Removes all versions installed

Ohai Plugin

The ohai_plugin recipe includes an Ohai plugin. It will be automatically installed and activated, providing the following attributes via ohai, no matter how NGINX is installed (source or package):

  • node['nginx']['version'] - version of NGINX
  • node['nginx']['configure_arguments'] - options passed to ./configure when NGINX was built.
  • node['nginx']['prefix'] - installation prefix
  • node['nginx']['conf_path'] - configuration file path

The Ohai plugin is generally used to determine whether control attributes for building NGINX have changed.


Include the recipe on your node or role. Modify the attributes as required in a role cookbook to change how various configuration is applied per the attributes section above.

If you need to alter the location of various cookbook_file directives, use chef_rewind.

License and Author

A whole lot of this cookbook was based on original work by:

Copyright 2012, Panagiotis Papadomitsos

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.