How to use nginx on Travis (or other) CI system

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   Nov 1, 2015   ⋅   Menlo Park, CA

Travis-Ci is cool, and so is `nginx`. In here I share some stuff to marry the two and let your CI scripts use `nginx` during testing.

Travis Ci is one of the most essential tools for my projects, since it takes a burden of maintaining Jenkins away of me. I try to use Travis automation for every boring activity, and having it run after each source code change to do some basic tests saves me a lot of time.

Making things work in Travis is typically straightforward, but there are cases where a special configuration needs to be applied, since the new Travis is based on the container-based architecture. This poses some requirements: no root access and no sudo functionality for your setup scripts. Some software doesn’t like that.

My website’s repo is an example where I needed to use nginx for some local testing. For some reason nginx, instead of just using /var/tmp, tries to create its temporary files in /var/run directory, and we don’t have the permission to this directory in a container. So I changed these paths to use /tmp together with access_log and error_log paths; website content lives in /tmp/www.

Even with these changes, I haven’t managed to achieve warning-free start. As non-zero UID, it seems like nginx never cleanly starts:

nginx: [alert] could not open error log file: open()
"/var/log/nginx/error.log" failed (13: Permission denied)

(Its -p flag to change a prefix sounded promising, but it seemed to have no effect on any of the paths which caused me problems)

nginx installation

On the old Travis infrastructure one could use apt-get run as a part of script: directive, but the container-based Travis requires following lines in .travis.yml to install nginx package:

    - nginx

nginx config

worker_processes 10;
pid /tmp/;

error_log /tmp/error.log;

events {
	worker_connections 768;

http {
	client_body_temp_path /tmp/nginx_client_body;
	fastcgi_temp_path     /tmp/nginx_fastcgi_temp;
	proxy_temp_path       /tmp/nginx_proxy_temp;
	scgi_temp_path        /tmp/nginx_scgi_temp;
	uwsgi_temp_path       /tmp/nginx_uwsgi_temp;

	server {
		listen 8888 default_server;

		root /tmp/www;
		index index.html index.htm;

		server_name localhost;
		location / {
			try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
			autoindex on;
		error_log /tmp/error.log;
		access_log /tmp/access.log;

Click to download via GitHub Gist

Starting/stopping nginx

To start:

nginx -c `pwd`/etc/nginx.conf

To stop:

nginx -c `pwd`/etc/nginx.conf -s stop


I use a block of _temp_path directives from this very useful repository:

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About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me