HOW TO : Configure nginx for WordPress permalinks

Over the last week, I moved this blog from a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack to LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP) stack. Have a blog post in the works with all the gory details, but wanted to quick document a quirk in the WordPress + Nginx combination that broke permalinks on this site.

Permalinks are user friendly permanent static URLs for a blog post. So for example this particular blog post’ URL is

https://kudithipudi.org/2017/02/24/how-to-configure…press-permalinks/

instead of

https://kudithipudi.org/?p=1762

This works by default in Apache because WordPress puts in the required rewrite rules.

To get it work in Nginx, you have to add the following config in the Nginx site configuration

Under the / location context, add the following

try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?$args;

This is essentially telling Nginx to try to display the URI as is, and if it fails that, pass the URI as an argument to index.php.

HOW TO : Query varnishlogs to show backend server

Command parameters for varnishlog to view the backend server that is processing the request. In this particular case, I wanted to see the request URL and backend server for any responses with HTTP code 401 (unauthorized access)

sudo varnishlog -i BackendOpen,BereqURL -q "BerespStatus == 401"

HOW TO : Search which package contains a filename

If you are using a Linux system that uses yum for package management (like Fedora, Centos, RHEL), you can use the following command to find out which package contains a file. This is useful when you want to figure out which package to install. For example, dig (DNS utility) doesn’t come pre-installed on the system. And running “sudo yum install dig” doesn’t do anything.

sudo yum whatprovides '*/dig'

This returns

Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
 Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 32:bind-utils-9.8.2-0.47.rc1.el6.x86_64 : Utilities for querying DNS name servers
 Repo : base
 Matched from:
 Filename : /usr/bin/dig

breaking down the command options

whatprovides : Is used to find out which package provides some feature or file. Just use a specific name or a file-glob-syntax wildcards to list the packages available or installed that provide that feature or file.

HOW TO : Use grep to search for content at end of line

If you want to search for a pattern at the end of a line, you can use

tail -f logfile | grep -v "0$"

breaking down the commands

tail -f : standard tail command. Continuous output to console as the file grows (or until it ends)

grep -v : -v command forces grep to show content that doesn’t match pattern

0$ : This regex is specifically looking for a 0 at the end of the line, which is denoted by $.

HOW TO : Query varnishlogs for requests with 404 responses

varnishlog, one of the tools provided with varnish cache, uses VSL Query Expressions (https://www.varnish-cache.org/docs/trunk/reference/vsl-query.html) to provide some powerful insights into the requests and responses.

Here is a how you can use varnishlog to show all client requests that are ending up with a 404 response.

sudo varnishlog -g request -i ReqURL -q "BerespStatus != 200"

Technically, this particular query shows all client requests with a response other than 200.

Breaking down the commands

-g request : shows all entries related to the request

-i ReqURL : forces varnishlog to only display the Requesting URL

-q “BerespStatus != 200” : query filter to only match non 200 responses. Note that the query has to be enclosed in “”.

HOW TO : pipe results between commands when using sudo

Let’s say you are running a command as sudo and need to pass the output to a different command using pipe, you would run

sudo command1 | command 2

this usually results in the following error

-bash: /command2: Permission denied

The trick to fix is to run sudo with -c and enclose the commands in ” like below

sudo -c 'command1 | command 2'

essentially you are opening a shell with sudo and running the commands

HOW TO : Use awk to print values larger than certain number

Quick how to on using awk to filter results if a certain value (column) is larger than a set value.

For example, if you have a file (servers.txt) with lines in this format

a_datacenter, servers 20
 error, servers xyz
 b_datacenter, servers 21
 c_datacenter, servers 50

and you want to show only the lines that have server value larger than 20, you can do this in awk by running

grep datacenter servers.txt | awk '$3 > 20  {print ;}' | more

breaking down the commands

grep – parsing down the output to just show the lines containing datacenter

awk – $3 > 20 : Get the third variable (awk seperates text using spaces by default) and check if it is greater than 20

print – print the entire line