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Here's my single Linux VPS setup:

  • A Rails app run by a Thin application server behind Nginx.
  • A WordPress blog run by lighttpd's spawn-fcgi behind the same Nginx server.

Here's what I want:

Both apps running under the same domain. All URIs starting with /blog or /wp-, or ending with .php, should go to the fastcgi server. Everything else should go to the Thin server.

Here's my problem:

My Rails app works fine. The front of my WordPress blog works fine. I cannot, however, access the WordPress admin panel (/wp-admin or /wp-login.php). The problem must be with my Nginx conf.

Here's my Nginx conf:

upstream myserver {
 server unix:/tmp/myserver.0.sock;
 server unix:/tmp/myserver.1.sock;

server {
    server_name myserver;

    root   /path/to/rails/app/public;
    index  index.html;

    access_log /path/to/rails/app/log/access.log;
    error_log /path/to/rails/app/log/error.log;


    location / {
        proxy_set_header  X-Real-IP  $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
        proxy_redirect false;

        if (-f $document_root/cache$request_uri/index.html) {
           rewrite (.*) /cache$1/index.html break;

        if (-f $document_root/cache$request_uri.html) {
           rewrite (.*) /cache$1.html break;

        if (!-f $request_filename) {
            proxy_pass http://myserver;

    location ~ /(blog|wp-).* {
        root /path/to/wordpress;
        index index.php;

        access_log /path/to/wordpress/log/access.log;
        error_log /path/to/wordpress/log/error.log;

        if (!-e $request_filename) {
             rewrite ^ /index.php last;

    # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server
    location ~ \.php$ {
        root /path/to/wordpress;
        index index.php;

        access_log /path/to/wordpress/log/access.log;
        error_log /path/to/wordpress/log/error.log;

        fastcgi_pass unix:/tmp/fcgi.sock;
        fastcgi_index index.php;
        include /etc/nginx/fastcgi_params;
        fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME /path/to/wordpress/$fastcgi_script_name;

When I turn on debug logging to the WordPress error log. I never see a match for /wp-admin when I request it. That leads me to believe the request is being handled by the location /rule, which is intended for the Rails app. When I do request /wp-admin I'm prompted by the browser to "save as" some file named "download."

Note that assets under the wp-content directory are served up fine as they hit the location ~ /(blog|wp-).* rule (why doesn't /wp-admin hit there?!)

My Question:

What rules do I need to have my desired setup and be able to acces the WP admin panel?

Thanks in advance.

share|improve this question
I downloaded the file that I get prompted to save when I request /wp-admin and, as I suspected, it is /wp-admin/index.php. Why isn't that executing? – Chris Dec 12 '10 at 14:43
For troubleshooting, rewrites add rewrite_log on; in your server configuration an change your error_log to something like ` error_log _path_to_error_log_file notice;` and post the results, please. – Iñigo Sep 8 '11 at 11:12
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I found a work-around. I changed location ~ /(blog|wp-).* to location ~ /blog.* and started using /wp-admin/index.php in my request. Then I got what I wanted. I still haven't figured out the rule for having /wp-admin produce the same result as /wp-admin/index.php, but I can live without it. Everything else is working as expected.

share|improve this answer

The Nginx wiki article on Wordpress should help:

You have the proper root and index so I'm guessing it's just the if checking being weird and try_files will help you out.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the reply. The if checks I got from Nginx configs that I use on other apps of mine. They work fine for a "one app per domain" setup, so I don't think they are problematic. I think it's this case of having 2 apps on one domain that is making things difficult. Also, I don't think a request for /wp-admin is going to the location ~ /(blog|wp-).* block like I want it to. I think that because I never see debug logs for those requests. Why not? – Chris Dec 11 '10 at 15:37

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