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It's much variants described in Internet how to display maintenance page with nginx. But I didn't find the solution to check if user is a developer and not to display maintenance page for developers.

I use try_files, which does't works as I need after any IF-section was entered. So I made my own solution, which I want to share. It works in any configuration with try_files, proxy and so on.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  1. In http section (out of any server section) check the user if he is a developer:

    map $http_cookie $isDevHack {
        default "";
        ~DEVELOPER_SECRET=1010 "/non-existed-location";

    User is a developer if he had DEVELOPER_SECRET with 1010 value in this case. This map is shared for all servers in config.

  2. Append server section with 503-error handler:

    error_page 503 @maintenance;
    location @maintenance {
         rewrite ^(.*)$ /maintenance-mode.html break;

    maintenane-mode.html is a page to display for non-developer users in maintenance mode. File path is relative to document_root of current server.

  3. In location sections, which must be protected in maintenance mode, add before any normal-mode rules:

    if (-f "$isDevHack/home/site-home/maintenance") {
        return 503;

    If current user is a developer, checked file name will be prepended with /non-existed-location prefix and if will never be entered.

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