Troubleshooting and Resolving the 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' Error in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

In this guide, we will discuss how to troubleshoot and resolve the 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' error in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file. This error typically occurs when there is a syntax error or misconfiguration in your Nginx configuration file, causing the Nginx service to fail to start or reload.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Cause of the Error
  3. Troubleshooting Steps
  1. FAQ
  2. Related Links


Nginx is a high-performance, open-source web server, reverse proxy server, and load balancer. It is widely used due to its performance, stability, and low resource consumption. To ensure smooth operation of Nginx, it is essential to have a valid and error-free configuration file. This guide aims to help you diagnose and fix the 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' error in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file.

Cause of the Error

The 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' error is caused by syntax errors or misconfigurations in the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file. Some common causes include:

  • Missing or misplaced semicolons
  • Incorrect indentation
  • Invalid directives or values
  • Mismatched curly brackets

Troubleshooting Steps

Follow these step-by-step instructions to troubleshoot and fix the 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' error.

Step 1: Run Nginx Configuration Test

To begin, run the Nginx configuration test using the following command:

sudo nginx -t

This command will check the syntax of your Nginx configuration files and report any errors.

Step 2: Analyze the Error Message

If the configuration test fails, you will see an error message similar to the following:

nginx: [emerg] unexpected "}" in /etc/nginx/nginx.conf:15
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test failed

Take note of the error message, as it contains valuable information about the issue. In this example, the error message indicates an unexpected "}" on line 15 of the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file.

Step 3: Fix the Error

Open the /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file using a text editor such as nano or vim:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Locate the line number mentioned in the error message and fix the issue. In our example, we would go to line 15 and remove or correct the unexpected "}".

Step 4: Test the Configuration Again

After fixing the error, run the Nginx configuration test again:

sudo nginx -t

If the configuration is now correct, you should see a successful test message:

nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Step 5: Restart or Reload Nginx

Finally, restart or reload the Nginx service to apply the changes:

sudo systemctl restart nginx


sudo systemctl reload nginx


What is the difference between restarting and reloading Nginx?

Restarting Nginx stops the service and starts it again, while reloading only updates the configuration without stopping the service. Reloading is preferred when updating the configuration to avoid downtime.

How can I check the Nginx version?

You can check the Nginx version by running the following command:

nginx -v

Can I use Nginx as a load balancer?

Yes, Nginx can be configured as a load balancer to distribute incoming traffic among multiple backend servers.

How can I enable HTTPS on my Nginx server?

You can enable HTTPS on your Nginx server by configuring SSL/TLS and obtaining an SSL certificate from a certificate authority such as Let's Encrypt.

What are some common mistakes in Nginx configuration files?

Common mistakes in Nginx configuration files include missing or misplaced semicolons, incorrect indentation, invalid directives or values, and mismatched curly brackets.

Remember to always test your Nginx configuration before applying changes to avoid the 'Nginx Configuration File Test Failed' error. Following this guide should help you diagnose and fix any issues in your /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file.

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