Nginx and Phusion Passenger make a powerful combonation for hosting web applications. Nginx is very flexible and fast. Phusion Passenger is rock solid and can be used to host Ruby, Python, and Node.js applications all at once. Nginx out of the box unfortunally lacks the ability to set or modify HTTP headers from within the configuration files. This is easily rectified by adding the ngx_headers_more module.

The easiest way to install Nginx with Passenger support is through the gem. You’ll need to download and unarchive the ngx_headers_more module first, since we will need to point the installer to this location.

Below are the commands I use when installing on a server. If you are installing locally for development they will probably be a bit different, but not much. The passenger-install-nginx-module command is the important one. Note the extra-configure-flags option, this is how you can build Nginx with support for the module.

$ sudo su -
$ mkdir -p /opt/nginx/build-modules
$ wget -P /opt/nginx/build-modules
$ tar -xzf /opt/nginx/build-modules/v0.25.tar.gz -C /opt/nginx/build-modules
$ gem install passenger
$ passenger-install-nginx-module --prefix=/opt/nginx --extra-configure-flags="--add-module=/opt/nginx/build-modules/headers-more-nginx-module-0.25"


After you have installed Nginx with the ngx_headers_more module you will be able to add and remove headers as you please from within your Nginx configuration files. This can be done from within the http or location blocks. Below is a small example.

The more_clear_headers directive can be used to clear unnecessary headers, like the ones that Passenger and Nginx set to indicate their version (Server, X-Powered-By, X-Runtime).

The more_set_input_headers directive can be used to set a header on the incoming request.

The more_set_headers directive can be used to set a header on the outgoing response.

  http {
    more_clear_headers 'Server' 'X-Powered-By' 'X-Runtime';
    more_set_headers 'X-Current-Hostname: $remote_addr';
    location /foo {
      more_set_input_headers 'X-Location: Foo';