What are Nginx modules and how can you enable or disable them? nginx

What are Nginx modules and how can you enable or disable them?

Nov. 12, 2023

What are Nginx Modules and How to Enable/Disable them?

Nginx is a popular open-source web server, reverse proxy server, and load balancer that is known for its high performance, scalability, and flexibility. To enhance its functionality, Nginx supports modular architecture. Nginx modules are additional components that extend the core functionalities and allow users to add specific features to the server based on their requirements.

Types of Nginx Modules

There are two main types of Nginx modules:

  1. Core Modules: These modules are compiled into the Nginx binary during its installation. They provide fundamental functionalities that are required for the basic operation of the server, such as file caching, logging, and SSL/TLS support.
  2. Third-Party Modules: These modules are not included in the core Nginx distribution. They are developed and maintained by the Nginx community or other individuals and can be added to Nginx to extend its capabilities. Third-party modules can include features like authentication, rate limiting, security enhancements, and more.

Enabling and Disabling Nginx Modules

The process of enabling or disabling Nginx modules depends on whether they are core modules or third-party modules. Here's how you can do it:

Enabling Core Modules

To enable a core module in Nginx, you need to add the corresponding module's configuration directive to the Nginx configuration file (usually named nginx.conf) in the main "http" context. For example, to enable the SSL module, you can use the following directive:

http {
  ssl on;

After adding the directive, save the configuration file and restart Nginx for the changes to take effect.

Disabling Core Modules

Core modules cannot be directly disabled without recompiling Nginx. You would need to edit the source code and remove the module during the compilation process. However, it is generally not recommended to do this unless you have a specific reason, as core modules provide essential functionalities.

Enabling Third-Party Modules

To enable a third-party module in Nginx, you would typically have to download the module's source code, compile it, and link it to the Nginx binary. The official Nginx documentation or the specific module's documentation usually provides detailed instructions on how to enable a particular third-party module.

Disabling Third-Party Modules

Disabling third-party modules involves removing the corresponding module's configuration directives from the Nginx configuration file. These directives may have been added during the module's installation. Once the directives are removed, save the configuration file and restart Nginx for the changes to take effect.

Note: It is essential to carefully follow the instructions provided by the module's developer when enabling or disabling third-party modules, as the process can vary based on the module and its compatibility with different Nginx versions.


Nginx modules play a crucial role in extending the functionality of the Nginx web server. Core modules are essential components that are compiled into the Nginx binary, while third-party modules provide additional features developed and maintained by the Nginx community or individuals. Enabling or disabling these modules involves adding or removing corresponding configuration directives, or in the case of core modules, recompiling the server. When working with third-party modules, it's important to follow the specific instructions provided by the module's documentation.