Moving a PHP Application From Apache To Nginx

From .htaccess To Nginx

The purpose of this brief tutorial is to explain how to change an entire PHP application from an Apache server to be used on an Nginx server. The main modifications will alter PHP settings and adding old rules from your .htaccess file. Luckily, both changes only require altering two files; php.ini and /etc/nginx/sites-available/default.

PHP Changes

Open up the loaded php.ini file and change or modify the line to read the following text. The loaded php.ini file could be in a location such as /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini. There is a good change you will see a commented line that looks like ;cgi.fix_pathinfo = 1.

cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0

After that, you need to open the file /etc/nginx/sites-available/default as root. One you have done that, you can add and save the following code block. Note that this code is likely commented out. The code below shows the updated version.

location ~ \.php$ {
                fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
        #       # NOTE: You should have "cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0;" in php.ini
        #       # With php5-cgi alone:
        #       fastcgi_pass;
        #       # With php5-fpm:
                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                include fastcgi_params;

.htaccess Changes

The main difference will be transferring the conditions and rules in the .htaccess file to make it work with Nginx. For starters, the bad news is that your .htaccess settings will not work with Nginx. The good news is that you can modify Nginx server config files very quickly and there are online tools that help convert the rules.

To make the new changes, you open the same file that you used to change the PHp settings. Once again, the file is /etc/nginx/sites-available/default. This time, you look for the code block that contains location / { }. 

Finally, you can add the new rules. Two websites that can be a great help are and

The code below shows a the conversion of some mod_rewrite rules from .htaccess to the Nginx methodology.

.htaccess Version

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule ^(.*)--(.*)\.html$ blog/index\.php?id=$1&title=$2 [NC]

Nginx Version

if (!-f $request_filename){
	set $rule_0 1$rule_0;
if (!-d $request_filename){
	set $rule_0 2$rule_0;
if ($rule_0 = "21"){
	rewrite ^/(.*)--(.*).html$ /blog/index.php?id=$1&title=$2;