The Top Nginx Interview Questions To Prepare For Your Next Tech Interview

Nginx has become an indispensable part of modern web infrastructure This high-performance web server, reverse proxy, and load balancer powers many of today’s busiest sites. As Nginx gains popularity, knowledge of this tool is becoming increasingly valuable for IT professionals.

If you have an upcoming interview for a DevOps, SRE, web developer, or other technical role involving Nginx, you’ll want to walk in fully prepared. While Nginx may not be the primary focus, you can expect at least a few questions gauging your skills and experience with it

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share the 25 most common Nginx interview questions and sample answers to help you ace the tech interview. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, these questions will boost your confidence and get you interview-ready. Let’s dive in!

Core Concepts

Q1 What is Nginx and what are its key features?

Nginx is a high-performance open source web server and reverse proxy known for its speed, efficiency, scalability, and robustness. Some of its key features include:

  • Event-driven asynchronous architecture for handling thousands of concurrent connections with minimal resource usage
  • Serving static content quickly and efficiently
  • Load balancing requests across multiple application servers
  • Reverse proxying to application servers like Node, Python etc. for dynamic content
  • Built-in caching for improved response times
  • HTTP/2 support for faster page loads
  • Low memory footprint even under heavy loads
  • Flexible configuration options with modules and directives
  • Easy scaling both vertically and horizontally

Q2: How does Nginx compare to Apache in terms of architecture?

The main difference lies in the architecture. Each Apache request is handled by a separate process or thread. This is called a process or thread-based model. This can consume significant resources under high loads.

Nginx, on the other hand, has an event-driven architecture that works in a single process and is not synchronous. It handles multiple requests concurrently by switching between connections as events complete. This event-driven model provides higher concurrency with minimal resource usage.

Q3: When would you choose Nginx over other web servers?

I would choose Nginx in the following scenarios:

  • Sites with high traffic volume – Nginx handles concurrency better due to its event-driven architecture
  • Applications needing load balancing across backend servers – Nginx has built-in load balancing capabilities
  • Sites serving large volumes of static files – Nginx serves static content very efficiently
  • Apps requiring reverse proxying to application servers – Nginx easily proxies requests to backends
  • Low memory or limited hardware environments – Nginx has a much lower memory footprint
  • Situations needing easy scalability – Nginx makes it easy to scale horizontally
  • Fast deployment of microservices environment – Nginx is well-suited as a microservices proxy

Q4: What is a reverse proxy server and how does Nginx implement it?

A reverse proxy server sits in front of backend origin servers and receives requests from clients on behalf of those servers. The proxy forwards requests to appropriate origin servers, gets responses, and passes them back to the clients.

Nginx implements reverse proxy functionality through its ngx_http_proxy_module. We configure this module to pass requests to upstream application servers for processing using the proxy_pass directive. Additional directives like proxy_redirect and proxy_set_header help manage the flow of requests and responses.

Reverse proxying provides benefits like load balancing, increased security and isolation for origin servers, handling SSL termination, caching, compression, and more.


Q5: How do you configure Nginx as a load balancer?

To configure Nginx as a load balancer:

  1. Create an upstream block with a name like backend and add the IP addresses of the backend servers

  2. Within the server block, use the proxy_pass directive to pass requests to the upstream group:

upstream backend {  server;  server; }server {  location / {    proxy_pass http://backend;  }} 
  1. Additional directives like least_conn for load balancing algorithm and max_fails to mark a server as down can be used.

  2. Save the config and reload Nginx to apply changes.

Q6: Explain how to configure Nginx as a web server

The key steps are:

  1. Install Nginx and open the main config file nginx.conf

  2. Define a server {} block and specify the listen port, server_name, and root directory

  3. Add index directive within location / {} block to serve index file

  4. Specify error_page to customize error pages

  5. Add additional location blocks to configure redirects, proxying rules etc.

  6. Save the config and test it using nginx -t

  7. Reload Nginx to apply the new configuration

  8. Update DNS records to point your domain to the Nginx server IP

Q7: How can you optimize Nginx performance?

Some ways to optimize Nginx performance include:

  • Set worker processes to match number of CPU cores
  • Increase worker connections allowed per process
  • Enable keepalive and tune keepalive timeouts
  • Use worker threads for multi-threaded performance
  • Enable gzip compression selectively
  • Add caching for static files and proxy caching for dynamic content
  • Tune buffer sizes for optimal data transfers
  • Use HTTP/2 for reduced latency
  • Limit requests rate for abusive clients
  • Monitor metrics like RAM usage, load average for bottlenecks

Q8: How do you debug problems with an Nginx server?

Steps to debug Nginx issues:

  • Check Nginx logs like access logs and error logs for clues
  • Use nginx -t to test config changes to catch syntax errors
  • Enable debug logs by setting error_log level to debug
  • Check metrics for anomalies – load, memory, network, etc.
  • Look for resource contention – CPU spikes, slow disks, etc.
  • Test parts of the system in isolation – backend servers, caches, etc.
  • Simulation user traffic to recreate issues
  • Enable core dumps for deeper debugging with tools like gdb
  • Open support tickets with Nginx for complex issues

Q9: How can you secure connections to an Nginx server?

To secure connections with Nginx:

  • Obtain and install SSL/TLS certificates from trusted Certificate Authorities
  • Redirect all HTTP traffic to HTTPS using permanent redirects
  • Enable SSL by adding ssl on; and specifying certificate and key locations
  • Select strong cipher suites like AES256-GCM-SHA384
  • Enable HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
  • Consider disabling legacy TLS versions like TLSv1.0
  • Set up protections like firewall rules, fail2ban, OS hardening etc.
  • Monitor for suspicious activity via access logs and network monitoring
  • Keep Nginx and OpenSSL library updated to benefit from latest security fixes

Q10: How do you set up Nginx for serving multiple websites?

Nginx can host multiple websites using virtual servers. The steps are:

  1. Install Nginx and create directories for each site’s content.

  2. Create a server {} block for each website in the config file.

  3. Specify listen directive with unique port and server_name for each domain.

  4. Within server block, set root to the directory containing website content.

  5. Add additional configuration like index, error_page etc. per website.

  6. Test and reload config to apply changes.

  7. Update DNS to point each domain to the Nginx server IP.

This allows hosting multiple sites with unique configurations on a single server.


Q11: How would you troubleshoot 502 Bad Gateway errors in Nginx?

I would troubleshoot 502 Bad Gateway errors in Nginx as follows:

  • Check Nginx access and error logs for clues on why this error is occurring
  • Confirm backend servers are running and Nginx can connect to them
  • Verify correct IP addresses and ports used in proxy_pass directives
  • Check for problems with request body size, headers buffering etc.
  • Increase proxy timeouts and buffer sizes if needed
  • Test backend connectivity from Nginx server using curl, telnet etc.
  • Capture TCP dumps during issues for deeper analysis
  • Enable Nginx debug logs and trace request flow
  • Work with backend developers to identify and fix problems

Q12: Your Nginx server is struggling with high CPU usage. How would you diagnose?

To diagnose high CPU usage:

  • Monitor load averages and total CPU usage to identify trends
  • Use top and ps to find CPU intensive processes
  • Enable Nginx debug logs and trace time-consuming operations
  • Check access logs for spikes in

nginx interview questions

1 What is a directive in Nginx?

To tell NGINX where to look for a resource, a directive can match a location block against a URL and include files and folders.

1 Explain how you can start Nginx through a different port other than 80?

Go to /etc/Nginx/sites-enabled/ and open the file called “default” if this is the default file. This will allow you to start Nginx through a different port. ” Edit the file and put the port you want.

Like server { listen 81; }

Nginx Interview Questions and Answers | Top Best 18 Q&A | Nginx interview Tips


What is NGINX used for?

NGINX is open-source web server software used for reverse proxy, load balancing, and caching. It provides HTTPS server capabilities and is mainly designed for maximum performance and stability. It also functions as a proxy server for email communications protocols, such as IMAP, POP3, and SMTP.

How many API calls can NGINX handle?

Each NGINX worker can handle up to 512-1024 concurrent connections. Concurrent connections do not necessary equal to a number of concurrent users.

Why NGINX is better than Apache?

Performance – NGINX server performs faster than Apache in providing static content but requires additional software to process the dynamic one. Meanwhile, Apache can process dynamic content natively. Directory-level configuration – Apache enables .

What is the principle of NGINX?

The underlying principle behind Nginx configuration files is about customizing its functionality according to individual needs. It’s about determining how the Nginx server will respond to various types of requests from clients.

What is Nginx?

Nginx Interview Questions & Answers [Updated] 2023 – What is Nginx ? Nginx is a type of open-source software. This type of software is used for web serving, reverse proxying, load balancing, media streaming, etc. The software was written by Igor Sysoev who was a Russian Engineer.

What are Nginx interview questions & answers?

Here are Nginx interview questions and answers for freshers as well as experienced developer candidates to get their dream job. 1) Explain what is Nginx? Nginx is a web server and a reverse proxy server for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3 and IMAP protocols. 2) Mention some special features of Nginx?

Can Nginx be selected during compilation process?

During the compilation process, Nginx modules must be selected as such run-time selection of modules is not supported by Nginx. These interview questions will also help in your viva (orals) Here are Nginx interview questions and answers for freshers as well as experienced developer candidates to get their dream job.

How to monitor Nginx server performance?

Monitoring Nginx server performance involves several methods. One common method is using the stub_status module, which provides basic status information. It shows active connections, reading, writing and waiting requests, and total accepted client connections.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *