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how can I configure Nginx restrict to thousands of different server_name without creating thousands of external config files or writing a very long server_name line ?

Indeed, I would like Nginx be a reverse-proxy only for,, etc...

The best solution for me would be to have a single external config file containing my restricted server_names :,, etc...

Is it possible ?

Ok, thank you for your answers, it works without reg. expressions. Just a big server_name list as explained by kolbijack. Thx.

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you should accept kolbijack answer, if it is the one that helped. – Oneiroi Jul 10 '12 at 13:37

You can put the server_name directive in a file all by itself and then just include it from your server block:

server {
  include /path/to/server_names;

# /path/to/server_names

The server_names file just needs server_name at the top and ; at the bottom to be a valid directive.

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Beware of latency/lookup delays/RAM usage if you do this. I've done some testing with large lists (around 5,000 ServerAlias directives and up to 16 million Deny from directives) in Apache. 5,000 domains produces a measurable but small delay. When increasing the number, I found the delay started becoming noticeable at around 50,000. With Apache (and probably also with nginx), the list is held in RAM which meant that with the largest set I tried, I could only start one child process within my available RAM. – Ladadadada Jul 6 '12 at 12:07
@Ladadadada LOL. I've just checked. Nginx uses 30Mb of RAM for 100 000 domains in the server_name directive and respond Request rate: 36900.6 req/s (0.0 ms/req) – VBart Jul 11 '12 at 1:15
60Mb for 1 000 000 and Request rate: 34716.8 req/s (0.0 ms/req) – VBart Jul 11 '12 at 1:22
That's considerably better than Apache managed, at least with the prefork MPM. Handy to know. – Ladadadada Jul 11 '12 at 12:36

The server_name declaration in your server {} block can be a Regular expression, this should allow you to match server_name s within a set pattern.

More information on this can be seen here:

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Thank you, but I cannot declare my custom domains list in a single regular expression. server_name [||etc...]; It would be too long. – Fred Jul 6 '12 at 10:38
@fred Can you give an example data set? unless no one domain is like the other at all I'd be fairly confident that a Regex pattern would resolve you issue. – Oneiroi Jul 6 '12 at 11:07

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