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Install Nginx with PHP-FPM on CentOS 6

What is Nginx?

Nginx (pronounced “engine x”) is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP server. Nginx is known for its stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption.

What is PHP-FPM?

PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) is an alternative PHP FastCGI implementation with some additional features useful for sites of any size, especially busier sites.

Install the EPEL x86_64 YUM Repository

# rpm -Uvh

Install Nginx

# yum install nginx

Install PHP and PHP-FPM

# yum install php php-mysql php-fpm php-common

Configure Nginx and PHP-FPM

Edit the www.conf pool and comment out the listen on TCP socket and add a unix socket listen = /var/run/php5-fpm.sock

# vi /etc/php-fpm.d/www.conf
; Start a new pool named 'www'.

; The address on which to accept FastCGI requests.
; Valid syntaxes are:
;   ''    - to listen on a TCP socket to a specific address on
;                            a specific port;
;   'port'                 - to listen on a TCP socket to all addresses on a
;                            specific port;
;   '/path/to/unix/socket' - to listen on a unix socket.
; Note: This value is mandatory.
;listen =
listen =  /var/run/php5-fpm.sock

Create a Nginx config file based on your individual site. Below is a config file specific to WordPress running the W3 Total Cache plugin. Note the fastcgi_pass is the same as the unix socket specified in the php-fpm www.conf pool.

# vim /etc/nginx/conf.d/how2centos.conf
server {
    # Redirect to
    rewrite ^(.*)$1 permanent;
server {

    access_log   /var/log/nginx/;
    error_log    /var/log/nginx/;

    root /var/www/;
    index index.php;

    gzip                on;
    gzip_disable        "msie6";
    gzip_vary           on;
    gzip_proxied        any;
    gzip_comp_level     5;
    gzip_buffers        16 8k;
    gzip_http_version   1.0;
    gzip_types          text/plain text/css application/json application/x-javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript image/png image/gif image/jpeg;

    set $cache_uri $request_uri;

    # POST requests and urls with a query string should always go to PHP
    if ($request_method = POST) {
        set $cache_uri 'null cache';
    if ($query_string != "") {
        set $cache_uri 'null cache';

    # Don't cache uris containing the following segments
    if ($request_uri ~* "(/wp-admin/|/xmlrpc.php|/wp-(app|cron|login|register|mail).php|wp-.*.php|/feed/|index.php|wp-comments-popup.php|wp-links-opml.php|wp-locations.php|sitemap(_index)?.xml|[a-z0-9_-]+-sitemap([0-9]+)?.xml)") {
        set $cache_uri 'null cache';

    # Don't use the cache for logged in users or recent commenters
    if ($http_cookie ~* "comment_author|wordpress_[a-f0-9]+|wp-postpass|wordpress_logged_in") {
        set $cache_uri 'null cache';

    # Use cached or actual file if they exists, otherwise pass request to WordPress
    location / {
        try_files /wp-content/cache/page_enhanced/${host}${cache_uri}_index.html $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args ;

    location ~ ^/wp-content/cache/minify/[^/]+/(.*)$ {
        try_files $uri /wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/pub/minify.php?file=$1;

    location = /favicon.ico { log_not_found off; access_log off; }
    location = /robots.txt  { log_not_found off; access_log off; }

    location ~ .php$ {
        fastcgi_index   index.php;
        fastcgi_pass    unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
        include         fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_FILENAME    $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
        fastcgi_param   SCRIPT_NAME        $fastcgi_script_name;

    # Cache static files for as long as possible
    location ~* .(ogg|ogv|svg|svgz|eot|otf|woff|mp4|ttf|css|rss|atom|js|jpg|jpeg|gif|png|ico|zip|tgz|gz|rar|bz2|doc|xls|exe|ppt|tar|mid|midi|wav|bmp|rtf)$ {
        expires max; log_not_found off; access_log off;

Don’t forget to create your log directory if you’re not using the defualt.

# mkdir /var/log/nginx/

Check your configuration for any errors.

# nginx -t
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Enable php-fpm and Nginx at startup.

# chkconfig nginx on
# chkconfig php-fpm on

Start php-fpm and Nginx.

# service php-fpm start
# service nginx start

By George

Technical Samurai specializing in open source IT Automation and Cloud Infrastructure.