Posts Tagged ‘init’

How to build Linux logging bash shell script write_log, logging with Named Pipe buffer, Simple Linux common log files logging with logger command

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Reading Time: 6 minutes


Logging into file in GNU / Linux and FreeBSD is as simple as simply redirecting the output, e.g.:

echo "$(date) Whatever" >> /home/hipo/log/output_file_log.txt

or with pyping to tee command


echo "$(date) Service has Crashed" | tee -a /home/hipo/log/output_file_log.txt

But what if you need to create a full featured logging bash robust shell script function that will run as a daemon continusly as a background process and will output
all content from itself to an external log file?
In below article, I've given example logging script in bash, as well as small example on how a specially crafted Named Pipe buffer can be used that will later store to a file of choice.
Finally I found it interesting to mention few words about logger command which can be used to log anything to many of the common / general Linux log files stored under /var/log/ – i.e. /var/log/syslog /var/log/user /var/log/daemon /var/log/mail etc.

1. Bash script function for logging write_log();

Perhaps the simplest method is just to use a small function routine in your shell script like this:

  while read text
      LOGTIME=`date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"`
      # If log file is not defined, just echo the output
      if [ “$LOG_FILE” == “” ]; then
    echo $LOGTIME": $text";
        LOG=$LOG_FILE.`date +%Y%m%d`
    touch $LOG
        if [ ! -f $LOG ]; then echo "ERROR!! Cannot create log file $LOG. Exiting."; exit 1; fi
    echo $LOGTIME": $text" | tee -a $LOG;


  •  Using the script from within itself or from external to write out to defined log file


echo "Skipping to next copy" | write_log


2. Use Unix named pipes to pass data – Small intro on what is Unix Named Pipe.

Named Pipe –  a named pipe (also known as a FIFO (First In First Out) for its behavior) is an extension to the traditional pipe concept on Unix and Unix-like systems, and is one of the methods of inter-process communication (IPC). The concept is also found in OS/2 and Microsoft Windows, although the semantics differ substantially. A traditional pipe is "unnamed" and lasts only as long as the process. A named pipe, however, can last as long as the system is up, beyond the life of the process. It can be deleted if no longer used.
Usually a named pipe appears as a file, and generally processes attach to it for IPC.


Once named pipes were shortly explained for those who hear it for a first time, its time to say named pipe in unix / linux is created with mkfifo command, syntax is straight foward:

mkfifo /tmp/name-of-named-pipe

Some older Linux-es with older bash and older bash shell scripts were using mknod.
So idea behind logging script is to use a simple named pipe read input and use date command to log the exact time the command was executed, here is the script.


/tmp/output-named-log.txt ';

if [ -p $named_pipe ]; then
rm -f $named_pipe
mkfifo $named_pipe

while true; do
read LINE <$named_pipe
echo $(date): "$LINE" >>/tmp/output-named-log.txt

To write out any other script output and get logged now, any of your output with a nice current date command generated output write out any output content to the loggin buffer like so:


echo 'Using Named pipes is so cool' > /tmp/output-named-pipe
echo 'Disk is full on a trigger' > /tmp/output-named-pipe

  • Getting the output with the date timestamp

# cat /tmp/output-named-log.txt
Mon Aug 26 15:21:29 EEST 2019: Using Named pipes is so cool
Mon Aug 26 15:21:54 EEST 2019: Disk is full on a trigger

If you wonder why it is better to use Named pipes for logging, they perform better (are generally quicker) than Unix sockets.


3. Logging files to system log files with logger


If you need to do a one time quick way to log any message of your choice with a standard Logging timestamp, take a look at logger (a part of bsdutils Linux package), and is a command which is used to enter messages into the system log, to use it simply invoke it with a message and it will log your specified output by default to /var/log/syslog common logfile


root@linux:/root# logger 'Here we go, logging'
root@linux:/root # tail -n 3 /var/log/syslog
Aug 26 15:41:01 localhost CRON[24490]: (root) CMD (chown qscand:qscand -R /var/run/clamav/ 2>&1 >/dev/null)
Aug 26 15:42:01 localhost CRON[24547]: (root) CMD (chown qscand:qscand -R /var/run/clamav/ 2>&1 >/dev/null)
Aug 26 15:42:20 localhost hipo: Here we go, logging


If you have took some time to read any of the init.d scripts on Debian / Fedora / RHEL / CentOS Linux etc. you will notice the logger logging facility is heavily used.

With logger you can print out message with different priorities (e.g. if you want to write an error message to mail.* logs), you can do so with:

 logger -i -p mail.err "Output of mail processing script"

To log a normal non-error (priority message) with logger to /var/log/mail.log system log.


 logger -i -p mail.notice "Output of mail processing script"

A whole list of supported facility named priority valid levels by logger (as taken of its current Linux manual) are as so:


       Valid facility names are:

              authpriv   for security information of a sensitive nature
              kern       cannot be generated from userspace process, automatically converted to user
              security   deprecated synonym for auth

       Valid level names are:

              panic     deprecated synonym for emerg
              error     deprecated synonym for err
              warn      deprecated synonym for warning

       For the priority order and intended purposes of these facilities and levels, see syslog(3).


If you just want to log to Linux main log file (be it /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages), depending on the Linux distribution, just type', even without any shell quoting:


logger 'The reason to reboot the server Currently was a System security Update


So what others is logger useful for?

 In addition to being a good diagnostic tool, you can use logger to test if all basic system logs with its respective priorities work as expected, this is especially
useful as I've seen on a Cloud Holsted OpenXEN based servers as a SAP consultant, that sometimes logging to basic log files stops to log for months or even years due to
syslog and syslog-ng problems hungs by other thirt party scripts and programs.
To test test all basic logging and priority on system logs as expected use the following shell script.


for i in {auth,auth-priv,cron,daemon,kern, \
lpr,mail,mark,news,syslog,user,uucp,local0 \

# (this is all one line!)


for k in {debug,info,notice,warning,err,crit,alert,emerg}

logger -p $i.$k "Test daemon message, facility $i priority $k"



Note that on different Linux distribution verions, the facility and priority names might differ so, if you get

logger: unknown facility name: {auth,auth-priv,cron,daemon,kern,lpr,mail,mark,news, \
syslog,user,uucp,local0,local1,local2,local3,local4, \

check and set the proper naming as described in logger man page.


4. Using a file descriptor that will output to a pre-set log file

Another way is to add the following code to the beginning of the script

exec 3>&1 4>&2
trap 'exec 2>&4 1>&3' 0 1 2 3
exec 1>log.out 2>&1
# Everything below will go to the file 'log.out':

The code Explaned

  •     Saves file descriptors so they can be restored to whatever they were before redirection or used themselves to output to whatever they were before the following redirect.
    trap 'exec 2>&4 1>&3' 0 1 2 3
  •     Restore file descriptors for particular signals. Not generally necessary since they should be restored when the sub-shell exits.

          exec 1>log.out 2>&1

  •     Redirect stdout to file log.out then redirect stderr to stdout. Note that the order is important when you want them going to the same file. stdout must be redirected before stderr is redirected to stdout.

From then on, to see output on the console (maybe), you can simply redirect to &3. For example

echo "$(date) : Do print whatever you want logging to &3 file handler" >&3

I've initially found out about this very nice bash code from's post how can I fully log all bash script actions (but unfortunately on latest Debian 10 Buster Linux  that is prebundled with bash shell 5.0.3(1)-release the code doesn't behave exactly, well but still on older bash versions it works fine.

Sum it up

To shortlysummarize there is plenty of ways to do logging from a shell script logger command but using a function or a named pipe is the most classic. Sometimes if a script is supposed to write user or other script output to a a common file such as syslog, logger command can be used as it is present across most modern Linux distros.
If you have a better ways, please drop a common and I'll add it to this article.


How to shutdown Windows after 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. X hours with a batch script – Shutdown / Reboot / Logoff Windows with a quick command

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently wondered how it is possible to shutdown Windows in some prior set time lets say in 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours or 8 hours.

That's handy especially on servers that are being still in preparation install time and you have left some large files copy job (if you're migration files) from Old server environment to a new one
or if you just need to let your home WIndows PC shutdown to save electricity after some time (a very useful example is if you're downloading some 200GB of data which are being estimated to complete in 3 hours but you need to get out and be back home in 2 or 4 days and you don't want to bother connecting remotely to your PC with VNC or teamviewer then just scheduling the PC / server to shutdown in 3 hours with a simple is perfect solution to the task, here is how:

1. Open Command Prompt (E.g. Start menu -> Run and type CMD.EXE)

2. Type in command prompt


shutdown -s -t 10800


If you by mistake has typed it to shutdown earlier and suddenly you find out your PC needs to be running for a short more time in order to cancel the scheduled Shutdown type:


shutdown -a

Shutdown Windows command -s flag has also a possibiltiy to not shutdown but just logoff or if you just need to have the system rebooted a reboot option:

options    effect
-l         to log off
-r         to reboot

If you need to shutdown the PC after half an hour use instead the command:


shutdown -s -t 1800


Half an hour is 1800 seconds for one hour delayed shutdown use 3600 for 3 hours, that would be 3*3600 10800, for 5 hours 5*3600 = 18000 seconds and so on


An alternative way to do it with a short VBscript, here is an example:

Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")

Dim Input
Input = "10:00"

'Input = InputBox("Enter the shutdown time here.","", "10:00")

For i = 1 to 2

CurrentTime = Time & VbCrLf

If Left(CurrentTime,5) = Input Then

objShell.Run "shutdown -s -t 00", 0
WScript.Quit 1


WScript.Sleep 1000

End If




How to Remove / Add SuSE Linux start service command

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you happen to administer SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 9 (x86_64) and you need to add or remove already existing /etc/init.d script or custom created Apache / Tomcat .. etc. service and you're already familiar with Fedora's / RHEL chkconfig, then the good news chkconfig is also available on SuSE and you can use in same way chkconfig to start / stop / enable / disable boot time services.

To list all available boot time init.d services use:

suse-linux:/etc # chkconfig –list


SuSEfirewall2_final       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
SuSEfirewall2_init        0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
SuSEfirewall2_setup       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
Tivoli_lcfd1.bkp          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
activate_web_all          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
alsasound                 0:off  1:off  2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off
apache2                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
apache2-eis               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:on   4:off  5:off  6:off
atd                       0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
audit                     0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
autofs                    0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
autoyast                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.clock                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.crypto               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.device-mapper        0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.evms                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.idedma               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.ipconfig             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.isapnp               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.klog                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.ldconfig             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.loadmodules          0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.localfs              0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.localnet             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.lvm                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off                   0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.multipath            0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.proc                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.restore_permissions  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.rootfsck             0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.sched                0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.scpm                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.scsidev              0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.shm                  0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.swap                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.sysctl               0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
boot.udev                 0:off  1:off  2:off  3:off  4:off  5:off  6:off
coldplug                  0:off  1:on   2:on   3:on   4:off  5:on   6:off


To then stop the service:

suse-linux:/etc # chkconfig gtiweb off

If you prefer to do it the SuSE way and learn a bit more on SuSE boot time process check out:


suse-linux:/etc # man insserv

Removing already existing SuSE start-up script from init.d start up with insserv is done with:

suse-linux:/etc # cd /etc/init.d/
suse-linux:etc/init.d # insserv -r gtiweb
insserv: script ipmi.hp: service ipmidrv already provided!
insserv: script boot.multipath.2008-10-29: service boot.multipath already provided!

To install a new custom written and placed into /etc/inti.d/ on SuSE's server boot time with insserv:


suse-linux:/etc/init.d/ # insserv your_custom_script_name

Fix MySQL ibdata file size – ibdata1 file growing too large, preventing ibdata1 from eating all your server disk space

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Reading Time: 4 minutes


If you're a webhosting company hosting dozens of various websites that use MySQL with InnoDB  engine as a backend you've probably already experienced the annoying problem of MySQL's ibdata1 growing too large / eating all server's disk space and triggering disk space low alerts. The ibdata1 file, taking up hundreds of gigabytes is likely to be encountered on virtually all Linux distributions which run default MySQL server <= MySQL 5.6 (with default distro shipped my.cnf). The excremental ibdata1 raise appears usually due to a application software bug on how it queries the database. In theory there are no limitation for ibdata1 except maximum file size limitation set for the filesystem (and there is no limitation option set in my.cnf) meaning it is quite possible that under certain conditions ibdata1 grow over time can happily fill up your server LVM (Storage) drive partitions.

Unfortunately there is no way to shrink the ibdata1 file and only known work around (I found) is to set innodb_file_per_table option in my.cnf to force the MySQL server create separate *.ibd files under datadir (my.cnf variable) for each freshly created InnoDB table.

1. Checking size of ibdata1 file

On Debian / Ubuntu and other deb based Linux servers datadir is /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1

server:~# du -hsc /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
45G     /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
45G     total

2. Checking info about Databases and Innodb storage Engine

server:~# mysql -u root -p

| Database           |
| information_schema |
| bible              |
| blog               |
| blog-sezoni        |
| blogmonastery      |
| daniel             |
| ezmlm              |
| flash-games        |

Next step is to get some understanding about how many existing InnoDB tables are present within Database server:


mysql> SELECT COUNT(1) EngineCount,engine FROM information_schema.tables WHERE table_schema NOT IN ('information_schema','performance_schema','mysql') GROUP BY engine;
| EngineCount | engine |
|         131 | InnoDB |
|           5 | MEMORY |
|         584 | MyISAM |
3 rows in set (0.02 sec)

To get some more statistics related to InnoDb variables set on the SQL server:

mysqladmin -u root -p'Your-Server-Password' var | grep innodb

Here is also how to find which tables use InnoDb Engine

mysql> SELECT table_schema, table_name
    -> WHERE engine = 'innodb';

| table_schema | table_name               |
| blog         | wp_blc_filters           |
| blog         | wp_blc_instances         |
| blog         | wp_blc_links             |
| blog         | wp_blc_synch             |
| blog         | wp_likes                 |
| blog         | wp_wpx_logs              |
| blog-sezoni  | wp_likes                 |
| icanga_web   | cronk                    |
| icanga_web   | cronk_category           |
| icanga_web   | cronk_category_cronk     |
| icanga_web   | cronk_principal_category |
| icanga_web   | cronk_principal_cronk    |

3. Check and Stop any Web / Mail / DNS service using MySQL

server:~# ps -efl |grep -E 'apache|nginx|dovecot|bind|radius|postfix'

Below cmd should return empty output, (e.g. Apache / Nginx / Postfix / Radius / Dovecot / DNS etc. services are properly stopped on server).

4. Create Backup dump all MySQL tables with mysqldump

Next step is to create full backup dump of all current MySQL databases (with mysqladmin):

server:~# mysqldump –opt –allow-keywords –add-drop-table –all-databases –events -u root -p > dump.sql
server:~# du -hsc /root/dump.sql
940M    dump.sql
940M    total


If you have free space on an external backup server or remotely mounted attached (NFS or SAN Storage) it is a good idea to make a full binary copy of MySQL data (just in case something wents wrong with above binary dump), copy respective directory depending on the Linux distro and install location of SQL binary files set (in my.cnf).
To check where are MySQL binary stored database data (check in my.cnf):

server:~# grep -i datadir /etc/mysql/my.cnf
datadir         = /var/lib/mysql

If server is CentOS / RHEL Fedora RPM based substitute in above grep cmd line /etc/mysql/my.cnf with /etc/my.cnf

if you're on Debian / Ubuntu:

server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
server:~# cp -rpfv /var/lib/mysql /root/mysql-data-backup

Once above copy completes, DROP all all databases except, mysql, information_schema (which store MySQL existing user / passwords and Access Grants and Host Permissions)

5. Drop All databases except mysql and information_schema

server:~# mysql -u root -p



DROP DATABASE wordpress;
DROP DATABASE micropcfreak;
DROP DATABASE statusnet;

          etc. etc.

ACHTUNG !!! DON'T execute!DROP database mysql; DROP database information_schema; !!! – cause this might damage your User permissions to databases

6. Stop MySQL server and add innodb_file_per_table and few more settings to prevent ibdata1 to grow infinitely in future

server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop

server:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

Delete files taking up too much space – ibdata1 ib_logfile0 and ib_logfile1

server:~# cd /var/lib/mysql/
server:~#  rm -f ibdata1 ib_logfile0 ib_logfile1
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql start
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql stop
server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql start
server:~# ps ax |grep -i mysql


You should get no running MySQL instance (processes), so above ps command should return blank.

7. Re-Import previously dumped SQL databases with mysql cli client

server:~# cd /root/
server:~# mysql -u root -p < dump.sql

Hopefully import should went fine, and if no errors experienced new data should be in.

Altearnatively if your database is too big and you want to import it in less time to mitigate SQL downtime, instead import the database with:

server:~# mysql -u root -p
mysql> SOURCE /root/dump.sql;


If something goes wrong with the import for some reason, you can always copy over sql binary files from /root/mysql-data-backup/ to /var/lib/mysql/

8. Connect to mysql and check whether databases are listable and re-check ibdata file size

Once imported login with mysql cli and check whther databases are there with:

server:~# mysql -u root -p

Next lets see what is currently the size of ibdata1, ib_logfile0 and ib_logfile1

server:~# du -hsc /var/lib/mysql/{ibdata1,ib_logfile0,ib_logfile1}
19M     /var/lib/mysql/ibdata1
1,1G    /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile0
1,1G    /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile1
2,1G    total

Now ibdata1 will grow, but only contain table metadata. Each InnoDB table will exist outside of ibdata1.
To better understand what I mean, lets say you have InnoDB table named blogdb.mytable.
If you go into /var/lib/mysql/blogdb, you will see two files
representing the table:

  •     mytable.frm (Storage Engine Header)
  •     mytable.ibd (Home of Table Data and Table Indexes for blogdb.mytable)

Now construction will be like that for each of MySQL stored databases instead of everything to go to ibdata1.
MySQL 5.6+ admins could relax as innodb_file_per_table is enabled by default in newer SQL releases.

Now to make sure your websites are working take few of the hosted websites URLs that use any of the imported databases and just browse.
In my case ibdata1 was 45GB after clearing it up I managed to save 43 GB of disk space!!!

Enjoy the disk saving! 🙂

Apache Webserver disable file extension – Forbid / Deny access in Apache config to certain file extensions for a Virtualhost

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you're a Webhosting company sysadmin like me and you already have configured directory listing for certain websites / Vhosts and those files are mirrored from other  development webserver location but some of the uploaded developer files extensions which are allowed to be interptered such as php include files .inc / .htaccess mod_rewrite rules / .phps / .html / .txt need to be working on the dev / test server but needs to be disabled (excluded) from delivery or interpretting for some directory on the prod server.

Open Separate host VirtualHost file or Apache config (httpd.conf / apache2.conf)  if all Vhosts  for which you want to disable certain file extensions and add inside:

<Directory "/var/www/sploits">
        AllowOverride All



Extension Deny Rules such as:

For disabling .inc files from inclusion from other PHP sources:

<Files  ~ "\.inc$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all

To Disable access to .htaccess single file only


<Files ~ "^\.htaccess">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all

To Disable .txt from being served by Apache and delivered to requestor browser:


<Files  ~ "\.txt$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all


To Disable any left intact .html from being delivered to client:


<Files  ~ "\.html$">
  Order allow,deny
  Deny from all


Do it for as many extensions as you need.
Finally to make changes affect restart Apache as usual:

If on Deb based Linux issue:

/etc/init.d/apach2 restart

On CentOS / RHEL and other Redhats / RedHacks 🙂

/etc/init.d/httpd restart

How to completely disable Replication in MySQL server 5.1.61 on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Reading Time: 2 minutes


Some time ago on one of the Database MySQL servers, I've configured replication as it was required to test somethings. Eventually it turned out replication will be not used (for some reason) it was too slow and not fitting our company needs hence we needed to disable it.

It seemed logical to me that, simply removing any replication related directives from my.cnf and a restart of the SQL server will be enough to turn replication off on the Debian Linux host. Therefore I proceeded removed all replication configs from /etc/my/my.cnf and issued MySQL restart i. e.:

sql-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart

This however didn't turned off replication,as I thought and in phpmyadminweb frontend interface, replication was still appearing to be active in the replication tab.

Something was still making the SQL server still act as an Replication Slave Host, so after a bit of pondering and trying to remember, the exact steps I took to make the replication work on the host I remembered that actually I issued:


Onwards I run:


and found in the database the server was still running in Slave Replication mode

Hence to turn off the db host run as a Slave, I had to issue in mysql cli:

mysql> STOP SLAVE;
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.01 sec)
Query OK, 0 rows affected, 1 warning (0.01 sec)

Then after a reload of SQL server in memory, the host finally stopped working as a Slave Replication host, e.g.

sql-server:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart

After the restart, to re-assure myself the SQL server is no more set to run as MySQL replication Slave host:

Empty set (0.00 sec)

Cheers 😉

How to install VirtualBox Virtual Machine to run Windows XP on Ubuntu Linux (11.10)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My beloved sister was complaining games were failing to properly be played with wine emulator , therefore I decided to be kind and help her by installing a Windows XP to run inside a Virtual Machine.My previous install experiments with running MS Windows XP on Linux was on Debian using QEMU virtualmachine emulator.
However as Qemu is a bit less interactive and slower virtualmachine for running Windows (though I prefer it for being completely free software), this time I decided to install the Windows OS with Virtualbox.

My hope was using VirtualBox would be a way easier but I was wrong… I've faced few troubles and I thought many people who initially try to install Virtualbox VM to run Windows on Ubuntu and other Debian based Linux distros will probably experience the same problems as mine, so here is how this article was born.

Here is what I did to have a VirtualBox OS emulator to run Windows XP SP2 on Ubuntu 11.10 Linux

1. Install Virtualbox required packages with apt

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install virtualbox-ose-dkms virtualbox-guest-utils virtualbox-guest-x11

If you prefer more GUI or lazy to type commands, the Software Package Manager can also be used to straight install the same packages.
virtualbox-dkms virtualbox-guest-dkms packages are the two which are absolutely necessery in order to enable VirtualBox to support installing Microsoft Windows XP. DKMS modules are also necessery to be able to emulate some other proprietary (non-free) operating systems.
The DKMS packages provide a source for building Vbox guest (OS) additional kernel modules. They also require the kernel source to be install otherwise they fail to compile.

Failing to build the DKMS modules will give you error every time you try to create new VirtualMachine container for installing a fresh Windows XP.
The error happens if the two packages do not properly build the vboxdrv extra Vbox kernel module while the Windows XP installer is loaded from a CD or ISO. The error to pop up is:

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing

VirtualBox vboxdrv not loaded error Ubuntu Screen

To fix the error:

2. Install latest Kernel source that corresponds to your current kernel version

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`

Next its necessery to rebuild the DKMS modules using dpkg-reconfigure:

3. Rebuild VirtualBox DKMS deb packages

root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-dkms
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-guest-dkms
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure virtualbox-ose-dkms

Hopefully the copilation of vboxdrv kernel module should complete succesfully.
To test if all is fine just load the module:

4. Load vboxdrv virtualbox kernel module

root@ubuntu:~# modprobe vboxdrv

If you get some error during loading, this means vboxdrv failed to properly compile, try read thoroughfully what the error is and fix it) ;).

As a next step the vboxdrv has to be set to load on every system boot.

5. Set vboxdrv to load on every Ubuntu boot

root@ubuntu:~# echo 'vboxdrv' >> /etc/modules

I am not sure if this step is required, it could be /etc/init.d/virtualbox init script automatically loads the module, anyways putting it to load on boot would do no harm, so better do it.

That's all now, you can launch VirtualBox and use the New button to initiate a new Virtual Machine, I will skip explaining how to do the configurations for a Windows XP as most of the configurations offered by default would simply work without any tampering.

After booting the Windows XP installer I simply followed the usual steps to install Windows and all went smoothly.
Below you see a screenshot showing the installed Windows XP Virtualbox saved VM session. The screenshot letters are in Bulgarian as my sisters default lanaguage for Ubuntu is bulgarian 😉

VirtualBox installed MS Windows VM screenshot

I hope this article helps someone out there. Please drop me a comment if you experience any troubles with it. Cya 🙂

Speed up WordPress / Joomla CMS and MySQL server on Linux with tmpfs ram file system / Decrease Website pageload times with RAM caching

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Reading Time: 9 minutes

As a WordPress blog owner and an sys admin that has to deal with servers running a lot of WordPress / Joomla / Droopal and other custom CMS installed on servers, performoing slow or big enough to put a significant load on servers
and I love efficiency and hardware cost saving is essential for my daily job, I'm constantly trying to find new ways to optimize Customer Website (WordPress) and rest of sites in order to utilize better our servers and improve our clients sites speed (and hence satisfaction). 

There is plenty of little things to do on servers but probably among the most crucial ones which we use nowadays that save us a lot of money is tmpfs, and earlier (ramfs) – previously known as shmfs).
TMPFS is a (Temporary File Storage Facility) Linux kernel technology based on ramfs (used by Linux kernel initrd / initramfs on boot time in order to load and store the Linux kernel in memory, before system hard disk partition file systems are mounted) which is heavily used by virtually all modern popular Linux distributions. 

Using ramfs (cramfs variation – Compressed ROM filesystem) has been used to store different system environment kernel and Desktop components of many Linux environment / applications and used by a lot of the Linux BootCD such as the most famous (Klaus Knopper's) KNOPPIX LiveCD and Trinity Rescue Kit Linux (TRK uses /dev/shm which btw can be seen on most modern Linux distros and is actually just another mounted tmpfs).
If you haven't tried Live Linux yet try it out as me and a lot of sysadmins out there use some kind of LiveLinux at least few times on yearly basis  to Recover Unbootable Linux servers after some applied remote Updates as well as for Rescuing (Save) Data from Linux server failing to properly boot because of hard disk (bad blocks) failures. As I said earlier TMPFS is also used on almost any distribution for the /dev/ filesystem which is kept in memory.

You can see which tmpfs partitions is used on your Linux server with:


debian-server:~# mount |grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)


Above is an output from a standard Debian Linux server. On CentOS 7 standard mounted tmpfs are as follows:


[root@centos ~]# mount |grep -i tmpfs
devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,seclabel,size=1016332k,nr_inodes=254083,mode=755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel,mode=755)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,seclabel,mode=755)


[root@centos ~]# df -h|grep -i tmpfs
devtmpfs                 993M     0  993M   0% /dev
tmpfs                   1002M   92K 1002M   1% /dev/shm
tmpfs                   1002M  8.8M  993M   1% /run
tmpfs                   1002M     0 1002M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup

The /run tmpfs mounted directory is also to be seen also on latest Ubuntus and Fedoras and is actually the good old /var/run ( where applications keep there pids and some small app related files) stored in tmpfs filesystem stored in memory.

If you're wondering what is /dev/shm and why it appears mounted on every single Linux Server / Desktop you've ever used this is a special filesystem shared memory which various running programs (processes) can use to transfer data quick and efficient between each other to preven the slow disk swapping. People using Linux for the rest 15 years should remember /dev/shm has been a target of a lot of kernel exploits as historically it had a lot of security issues.

While writting this article I've just checked about KNOPPIX developed amd just for info as of time of writting this distro has already 1000+ programs on CD version and 2600+ packages / application on DVD version.
Nowadays Knoppix is mostly used mostly as USB Live Flash drive as a lot of people are dropping CD / DVD use (many servers doesn't have a CD / DVD Drive) and for USB Live Flash Linux distros tmpfs is also key technology used as this gives the end user an amazing fast experience (Desktop applications run much fasten on Live USBs when tmpfs is used than when the slow 7200 RPM HDDs are used).

Loading big parts of the distribution within RAM (with tmpfs from Linux Kernel 2.4+ onwards) is also heavily used by a lot of Cluster vendors in most of Clustered (Cloud) Linux based environemnts, cause TMPFS gives often speeds up improvements to x30 times and decreases greatly I/O HDD. FreeBSD users will be happy to know that TMPFS is already ported and could be used on from FreeBSD 7.0+ onward.

In this small article I will give you example use on how I use tmpfs to speed up our WordPress Websites which use WP Caching plugins such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache
and Hyper Cache / WP Super Cache disk caching and MySQL server as a Database backend.
Below example is wordpress specific but since it can be easily applied to JoomlaDrupal or any other CMS out there that uses mySQL server to make a lot of CPU expensive memory hungry (LEFT JOIN) queries which end up using a slow 7200 RPM hard disk.


1. Preparing tmpfs partitions for WordPress File Cache directory

If you want to give tmpfs a test drive, I recommend you try to create / mount a 20 Megabyte partition. To create a tmpfs partition you don't need to use a tool like mkfs.ext3 / mkfs.ext4 as TMPFS is in reality a virtual filesystem that is mapped in the server system physical RAM (volatile memory). TMPFS is very nice because if you run out of free RAM system starts a combination of RAM use + some Hard disk SWAP 
The great thing about TMPFS is it never uses all of the available RAM and SWAP, which would not halt your server if TMPFS partition gets filled, but instead you will start getting the usual "Insufficient Disk Space", just like with a physical HDD parititon. RAMFS cares much less about server compared to TMPFS, because if RAMFS is historically older.

ramfs file systems cannot be limited in size like a disk base file system which is limited by it’s capacity, thus ramfs will continue using memory storage until the system runs out of RAM and likely crashes or becomes unresponsive. This is a problem if the application writing to the file system cannot be limited in total size, so in my opinion you better stay away from RAMFS except you have a good idea what you're doing. Another disadvantage of RAMFS compared to TMPFS is you cannot see the size of the file system in df and it can only be estimated by looking at the cached entry in free.

Note that before proceeding to use TMPFS or RAMFS you should know besides having advantages, there are certain serious disadvantage that if the server using tmpfs (in RAM) to store files crashes the customer might loose his data, therefore using RAM filesystems on Production servers is best to be used just for caching folders which are regularly synchronized with (rsync) to some folder to assure no data will be lost on server reboot or crash.

Memory of fast storage areas are ideally suited for applications which need repetitively small data areas for caching or using as temporary space such as Jira (Issue and Proejct Tracking Software) Indexing  As the data is lost when the machine reboots the tmpfs stored data must not be data of high importance as even scheduling backups cannot guarantee that all the data will be replicated in the even of a system crash.

To test mounting a tmpfs virtual (memory stored) filesystem issue:

mount -t tmpfs tmpfs -o size=256m /mnt/tmpfs

If you want to test mount a ramfs instead:


 mount -t ramfs -o size=256m ramfs /mnt/ramfs


debian-server:~#  mount |grep -i -E "ramfs|tmpfs"
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
tmpfs on /mnt/tmpfs type tmpfs (rw,size=256m)
ramfs on /mnt/ramfs type tmpfs (rw,size=256m)


Once mounted tmpfs can be used in the same way as any ext4 / reiserfs filesystem. In the same way to make mounts permanent, its necessery to add a line to /etc/fstab

To illustrate better a tmpfs use case on my blog running WordPress with W3TotalCache (W3TC) plugin cache folder in /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc to get advantage of tmpfs to store w3tc files.

a) Stop Apache

On Debian

debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache stop

On CentOS 

[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd stop

b) Move w3tc dir to w3tc-bak


debian-server:~# cd /var/www/blog/wp-content/
debian-server:~# mv w3tc w3tc-bak


c) Create w3tc directory

debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# mkdir w3tc
debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# chown -R www-data:www-data w3tc

d) Add tmpfs record to /etc/fstab

My W3TC Cache didn't grow bigger than 2Gigabytes so I create a 2Giga directory for it by adding following in /etc/fstab 

debian-server:~# vim /etc/fstab


tmpfs /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc tmpfs defaults,size=2g,noexec,nosuid,uid=33,gid=33,mode=1755 0 0

You might also want to add the nr_inodes (option) to tmpfs while mounting. nr_inodes is the maximum inode for instance. Default is half the number of your physical RAM pages, (on a machine with highmem) the number of lowmem RAM page, some common option that should work is nr_inodes=5k, if you're unsure what this option does you can safely skip it 🙂

e) Mount new added tmpfs folder

Then to mount the newly added filesystem issue:

mount -a

Or if you're on a CentOS / RHEL server use httpd Apache user instead and whenever you have docroot and wordpress installed.


[root@centos ~]# chown -R apache:apache: w3tc

If you're using Apache SuPHP use whatever the UID / GID is proper.

On CentOS you will need to set proper UID and GID (UserID / GroupID), to find out which ones to to use check in /etc/passwd:

[root@centos ~]# grep -i apache /etc/passwd

f) Move old w3tc cache from w3tc-bak to w3tc


debian-server:/var/www/blog/wp-content# mv w3tc-bak/* w3tc/


g) Start again Apache

On Debian:


debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 start


On CentOS:

[root@centos~]# /etc/init.d/httpd start

h) Keeping w3tc cache site folder synced

As I said earlier the biggest problem with caching (the reason why many hosting providers) and site admins refuse to use it is they might loose some data, to prevent data loss or at least mitigate the data loss to few minutes intervals it is a good idea to synchronize tmpfs kept folders somewhere to disk with rsync.

To achieve that use a cronjob like this:

debian-server:~# crontab -u root -e
*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/ionice -c3 -n7 /usr/bin/nice -n 19 /usr/bin/rsync -ah –stats –delete /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ /backups/tmpfs/cache/ 1>/dev/null

Note that you will need to have the /backups/tmpfs/cache folder existing, create it with:


debian-server:~# mkdir -p /backups/tmpfs/cache

You will also need to add a rsync synchronization from backupped folder to tmpfs (in case if the server gets accidently rebooted because it hanged or power outage), place in



ionice -c3 -n7 nice -n 19 rsync -ahv –stats –delete /backups/tmpfs/cache/ /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ 1>/dev/null

(somewhere before exit 0) line

0 05 * * * /usr/bin/ionice -c3 -n7 /bin/nice -n 19 /usr/bin/rsync -ah –stats –delete /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc/ /backups/tmpfs/cache/ 1>/dev/null



2. Preparing tmpfs partitions for MySQL server temp File Cache directory

Its common that MySQL servers had to serve a lot of long and heavy SQL JOIN Queries mostly by related posts WP plugins such as (Zemanta Related Posts) and Contextual Related posts though MySQLs are well optimized  to work as much as efficient using mysql tuner (tuning primer) still often SQL servers get a lot of temp tables created to disk (about 25% to 30%) of all SQL queries use somehow HDD to serve queries and as this is very slow and there is file lock created the overall MySQL performance becomes sluggish at times to fix (resolve) that without playing with SQL code to optimize the slow queries the best way I found is by using TMPFS as MySQL temp folder.

To do so I create a TMPFS usually the size of 256 MB because this is usually enough for us, but other hosting companies might want to add bigger virtual temp disk:

a) Add tmpfs new dir to /etc/fstab

In /etc/fstab add below record with vim editor:

debian-server:~# vim /etc/fstab


tmpfs /var/mysqltmp tmpfs rw,gid=111,uid=108,size=256M,nr_inodes=10k,mode=0700 0 0


Note that the uid / and gid 105 and 114 are taken again from /etc/passwd

On Debian

debian-server:~# grep -i mysql /etc/passwd
mysql:x:108:111:MySQL Server,,,:/var/lib/mysql:/bin/false

On CentOS

[root@centos ~]# grep -i mysql /etc/passwd
mysql:x:27:27:MySQL Server:/var/lib/mysql:/bin/bash

b) Create folder /var/mysqltmp or whenever you want to place the tmpfs memory kept SQL folder


debian-server:~# mkdir /var/mysqltmp
debian-server:~# chown mysql:mysql /var/mysqltmp


debian-server:~# mount|grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
tmpfs on /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,size=2g,uid=33,gid=33,mode=1755)
tmpfs on /var/mysqltmp type tmpfs (rw,gid=108,uid=111,size=256M,nr_inodes=10k,mode=0700)

c) Add new path to tmpfs created folder in my.cnf 

Then  edit /etc/mysql/my.cnf


debian-server:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

# * Basic Settings
user        = mysql
pid-file    = /var/run/mysqld/
socket      = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
port        = 3306
basedir     = /usr
datadir     = /var/lib/mysql
tmpdir      = /var/mysqltmp


On CentOS edit and change tmpdir in same way within /etc/my.cnf

d) Finally Restart Apache and MySQL to make mysql start using new set tmpfs memory kept folder

On Debian:

debian-server:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 stop; /etc/init.d/mysql restart; /etc/init.d/apache2 start

On CentOS:

[root@centos ~]# /etc/init.d/httpd stop; /etc/init.d/mysqld restart; /etc/initd/httpd start

Now monitor your server and check your pagespeed increase for me such an optimization usually improves site performance so site becomes +50% faster, to see the difference you can test your website before applying tmpfs caching for site and after that by using Google PageInsight (PageSpeed) Online Test. Though this example is for MySQL and WordPress you can easily adopt the same for Joomla if you have Joomla Caching enabled to some folder, same goes for any other CMS such as Drupal that can take use of Disk Caching. Actually its a small secret of many Hosting providers that allow clients to create sites via CPanel and Kloxo this tmpfs optimizations are already used for sites and by this the provider is able to offer better website service on lower prices. VPS hosting providers also use heavy caching. A lot of people are using TMPFS also to accelerate Sites that have enabled Google Pagespeed as Cacher and accelerator, as PageSpeed module puts a heavy HDD I/O load that can easily stone the server. Many admins also choose to use TMPFS for  /tmp, /var/run, and /var/lock directories as this leads often to significant overall server services operations improvement.
Once you have tmpfs enabled, It is a good idea to periodically monitor your SWAP used space with (df -h), because if you allocate bigger tmpfs partitions than your physical memory and tmpfs's full size starts to be used your machine will start swapping heavily and this could have a very negative performance affect.

debian-server:~# df -h|grep -i tmpfs
tmpfs            3,9G     0   3,9G   0% /lib/init/rw
tmpfs            3,9G     0   3,9G   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs            2,0G  1,4G   712M  66% /var/www/blog/wp-content/w3tc
tmpfs            256M     0   256M   0% /mnt/tmpfs
tmpfs            256M  236K   256M   1% /var/mysqltmp

The applications of tmpfs to accelerate services is up to your imagination, so I will be glad to hear from other admins on any interesting other application or problems faced while using TMPFS.

 Enjoy! 🙂

Auto restart Apache on High server load (bash shell script) – Fixing Apache server temporal overload issues

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Reading Time: 4 minutes


I've written a tiny script to check and restart, Apache if the server encounters, extremely high load avarage like for instance more than (>25). Below is an example of a server reaching a very high load avarage:;

server~:# uptime
13:46:59 up 2 days, 18:54, 1 user, load average: 58.09, 59.08, 60.05
load average: 0.09, 0.08, 0.08

Sometimes high load avarage is not a problem, as the server might have a very powerful hardware. A high load numbers is not always an indicator for a serious problems. Some 16 CPU dual core (2.18 Ghz) machine with 16GB of ram could probably work normally with a high load avarage like in the example. Anyhow as most servers are not so powerful having such a high load avarage, makes the machine hardly do its job routine.

In my specific, case one of our Debian Linux servers is periodically reaching to a very high load level numbers. When this happens the Apache webserver is often incapable to serve its incoming requests and starts lagging for clients. The only work-around is to stop the Apache server for a couple of seconds (10 or 20 seconds) and then start it again once the load avarage has dropped to less than "3".

If this temporary fix is not applied on time, the server load gets increased exponentially until all the server services (ssh, ftp … whatever) stop responding normally to requests and the server completely hangs …

Often this server overloads, are occuring at night time so I'm not logged in on the server and one such unexpected overload makes the server unreachable for hours.
To get around the sudden high periodic load avarage server increase, I've written a tiny bash script to monitor, the server load avarage and initiate an Apache server stop and start with a few seconds delay in between.

# script to check server for extremely high load and restart Apache if the condition is matched
check=`cat /proc/loadavg | sed 's/\./ /' | awk '{print $1}'`
# define max load avarage when script is triggered
# log file
# location of inidex.php to overwrite with temporary message
# location to Apache init script
site_maintenance_msg="Site Maintenance in progress - We will be back online in a minute";
if [ $check -gt "$max_load" ]; then>
#25 is load average on 5 minutes
cp -rpf $index_php_loc $index_php_loc.bak_ap
echo "$site_maintenance_msg" > $index_php_loc
sleep 15;
if [ $check -gt "$max_load" ]; then
$apache_init stop
sleep 5;
$apache_init restart
echo "$(date) : Apache Restart due to excessive load | $check |" >> $high_load_log;
cp -rpf $index_php_loc.bak_ap $index_php_loc

The idea of the script is partially based on a forum thread – Auto Restart Apache on High Load is a link to my script

The script is written in a way that it makes two "if" condition check ups, to assure 100% there is a constant high load avarage and not just a temporal 5 seconds load avarage jump. Once the first if is matched, the script first tries to reduce the server load by overwritting a the index.php, index.html script of the website with a one stating the server is ongoing a maintenance operations.
Temporary stopping the index page, often reduces the load in 10 seconds of time, so the second if case is not necessery at all. Sometimes, however this first "if" condition cannot decrease enough the load and the server load continues to stay too high, then the script second if comes to play and makes apache to be completely stopped via Apache init script do 2 secs delay and launch the apache server again.

The script also logs about, the load avarage encountered, while the server was overloaded and Apache webserver was restarted, so later I can check what time the server overload occured.
To make the script periodically run, I've scheduled the script to launch every 5 minutes as a cron job with the following cron:

# restart Apache if load is higher than 25
*/5 * * * * /usr/sbin/ >/dev/null 2>&1

I have also another system which is running FreeBSD 7_2, which is having the same overload server problems as with the Linux host.
Copying the auto restart apache on high load script on FreeBSD didn't work out of the box. So I rewrote a little chunk of the script to make it running on the FreeBSD host. Hence, if you would like to auto restart Apache or any other service on FreeBSD server get /usr/sbin/ my script and set it on cron on your BSD.

This script is just a temporary work around, however as its obvious that the frequency of the high overload will be rising with time and we will need to buy new server hardware to solve permanently the issues, anyways, until this happens the script does a great job 🙂

I'm aware there is also alternative way to auto restart Apache webserver on high server loads through using monit utility for monitoring services on a Unix system. However as I didn't wanted to bother to run extra services in the background I decided to rather use the up presented script.

Interesting info to know is Apache module mod_overload exists – which can be used for checking load average. Using this module once load avarage is over a certain number apache can stop in its preforked processes current serving request, I've never tested it myself so I don't know how usable it is. As of time of writting it is in early stage version 0.2.2
If someone, have tried it and is happy with it on a busy hosting servers, please share with me if it is stable enough?

How to enable output compression (gzipfile content compression) in nginx webserver

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Reading Time: 2 minutes
I have recently installed and configured a Debian Linux server with nginx
. Since then I’ve been testing around different ways to optimize the nginx performance.

In my nginx quest, one of the most crucial settings which dramatically improved the end client performance was enabling the so called output compression which in Apache based servers is also known as content gzip compression .
In Apache webservers the content gzip compression is provided by a server module called mod_deflate .

The output compression nginx settings saves a lot of bandwidth and though it adds up a bit more load to the server, the plain text files like html, xml, js and css’s download time reduces drasticly as they’re streamed to the browser in gzip compressed format.
This little improvement in download speed also does impact the overall end user browser experience and therefore improves the browsing speed experience with websites.

If you have already had experience nginx you already know it is a bit fastidious and you have to be very careful with it’s configuration, however thanksfully enabling the gzip compression was actually rather easier than I thought.

Here is what I added in my nginx config to enable output compression:

## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

Important note here is that need to add this code in the nginx configuration block starting with:

http {
## Compression
gzip on;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_comp_level 9;
gzip_http_version 1.1;
gzip_min_length 0;
gzip_vary on;

In order to load the gzip output compression as a next step you need to restart the nginx server, either by it’s init script if you use one or by killing the old nginx server instances and starting up the nginx server binary again:
I personally use an init script, so restarting nginx for me is done via the cmd:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/nginx restart
Restarting nginx: nginx.

Now to test if the output gzip compression is enabled for nginx, you can simply use telnet

hipo@linux:~$ telnet 80
Escape character is '^]'.

After the Escape character is set ‘^]’ appears on your screen type in the blank space:


and press enter twice.
The output which should follow should look like:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The whole transaction with telnet command issued and the nginx webserver output should look like so:

hipo@linux:~$ telnet 80
Connected to
.Escape character is '^]'.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Length: 13
Last-Modified: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 15:04:26 GMT
Connection: close
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Expires: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 12:04:43 GMT
Cache-Control: max-age=604800
Accept-Ranges: bytes

The important message in the returned output which confirms your nginx output compression is properly configured is:

Vary: Accept-Encoding

If this message is returned by your nginx server, this means your nginx now will distribute it’s content to it’s clients in compressed format and apart from the browsing boost a lot of server and client bandwitdth will be saved.