Alexander D. Chamberlain


How do you deliver statically compressed files using Nginx?

If you are serving static files, but not compressing them, you are being irresponsible with your bandwidth. If you are serving static files, but compressing them on the fly, you are being irresponsible with your CPU. So, how do you deliever statically compressed files using nginx?

(If you don't use nginx, you probably should... you might know better, of course.)

It's really simple and consists of just 2 steps:

  1. Compress files
  2. Configure nginx

1. Compress files

You could use gzip, if your version has a flag not to delete the original file. Mine didn't...

I whipped up a quick Python script to do it for me.

# Usage: <file>
import gzip
import sys

def gzip_file(path):                                                            
  with open(path, 'rb') as f_in:                                                
    with'{}.gz'.format(path), 'wb') as f_out:                        

if __name__ == "__main__":

2. Configure nginx

Configuring nginx is really easy, but ngx_http_gzip_static_module must be enabled on compilation; this can be done with the --with-http_gzip_static_module option. Just add the following lines to your http/server/location block in nginx.conf (or an included file).

gzip_static on; 
gzip_http_version   1.1;
gzip_proxied        expired no-cache no-store private auth;
gzip_disable        "MSIE [1-6]\.";
gzip_vary           on; 

You can find more details on the Nginx Wiki. Once the configuration has been reloaded, nginx will automatically serve the compressed files, as long as

  1. You have created a compressed file in the same folder and with the same name with a .gz suffix.
  2. The user-agent supports gzip compression.


I deploy this blog using git and githooks on the server. When my post-receive hook has built the site, it then compresses every file.

What do you think?

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