How can you configure Nginx to handle request rate limiting? nginx

How can you configure Nginx to handle request rate limiting?

Nov. 13, 2023

How to Configure Nginx for Request Rate Limiting

Nginx is a powerful web server and reverse proxy server that can handle a large amount of traffic. One of its important features is the ability to handle request rate limiting, which helps prevent abuse, DoS attacks, and ensures fair usage of server resources. In this article, we will discuss how to configure Nginx for request rate limiting.

Step 1: Install Nginx

First, make sure Nginx is installed on your server. You can check this by running the command: nginx -v. If it is not installed, follow the official Nginx installation documentation for your operating system.

Step 2: Create a Limit Zone

Open the Nginx configuration file (usually at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf or /etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf) with a text editor and add the following code inside the http context:

      http {
        limit_req_zone $binary_remote_addr zone=mylimit:10m rate=5r/s;

This configuration creates a limit zone named "mylimit" that allows a maximum of 5 requests per second from each IP address. You can adjust the maximum request rate and the zone size according to your requirements.

Step 3: Apply Rate Limiting Rules

Inside the location block where you want to apply rate limiting, add the following code:

      location /my-route {
        limit_req zone=mylimit burst=10 nodelay;

This configuration applies rate limiting to the specified location ("/my-route" in this example) using the previously defined limit zone "mylimit". The "burst" parameter specifies the number of requests that can exceed the limit temporarily, and the "nodelay" parameter ensures that excess requests are processed without delay once the limit is lifted.

Step 4: Test and Reload Nginx

Save the configuration file and reload Nginx to apply the changes. You can use the command sudo service nginx reload or sudo systemctl reload nginx depending on your system.

To test the rate limiting, you can use command-line tools like curl or web browser extensions that allow sending HTTP requests. Send requests to the specified location and observe how Nginx handles the rate limiting.


Configuring Nginx for request rate limiting helps protect your server against abuse and ensures fair usage of its resources. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to implement request rate limiting for your Nginx server effectively.