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As an example, I'd like to serve , where anyUserName is a any combination of characters apart from path separators, from the /webapps/client directory. So, a query to and a query to will be served from the same directory. I should be able to request files such as or without issue. Basically, I want to drop the username part of the url and serve from the same directory but I need to maintain the username in the browser's url.

I've tried many different config tweaks from a regex in the location to this monstrosity but I in every case I get a 404, a 500 which the logs say is a rewrite or internal redirection cycle, a 200 on every resource but each one is the index, or a 200 on every resource but each except the index is a 404.

    location /public  {
            index collmanagerclient.html;
            alias /webapps/client;
            autoindex on;
            try_files $2/$3/$4/$5/$6 $2/$3/$4/$5/$6/ =404;

This is my nginx configuration:

server {
listen 80;
rewrite ^(.*) https://$server_name$1 permanent;

server {
listen 443;

ssl on;
ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/ssl-unified.crt;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/ssl.key;
ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
ssl_ecdh_curve secp521r1;
root /webapps/client;

index collmanagerclient.html;
location = / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

location ~ /public/(?:[^/]+)/(?<filename>.+) {
 alias /webapps/client;

 rewrite ^ $filename last;

location /signup {
    index collmanagersignup.html;
    alias /webapps/signup;
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
location /api {
    #turn gzip off to avoid breaking the cpu

    gzip off;

    proxy_pass http://localhost:7801;
    proxy_buffering off;

    include /etc/nginx/proxy.conf;


Thanks, I've been driven insane over the last little while by this.

share|improve this question
It is unclear to me, what exactly is your question. I understood your question the same way as Gmck, that is, you want to serve the same resource to everyone. Please give a concrete example, what URLs you want to use, and what files they should serve from what directories. – Tero Kilkanen Aug 1 '14 at 15:20
I changed to a concrete example rather than the previous poor one. – Everlag Aug 1 '14 at 19:28

I would think that you need to look into the rewrite module. Nginx Rewrite module

Something like:

location /public { rewrite ^ /Foo last; }

share|improve this answer
That results in the scenario I mentioned where I have everything as a 200 but I always have the same resource being returned. I need to essentially turn /public/* into / what I serve on root and that method only lets me serve one item for everything. – Everlag Jul 31 '14 at 2:48

Maybe this one does what you want:

location ~ ^/public/(?:[^/]+)/(?<filename>.+)/?$ {
    alias /webapps/client;

    rewrite ^ $filename last;

And then, use this to replace location = / block:

location / {
    try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

Here we use regular expressions to first match URIs like /public/username/file_to_get.html.

The first part between / characters captures the username, and stores it nowhere (?: modifier).

The second part captures the actual wanted filename to $filename variable.

Then we simply rewrite the request URI to the captured filename.

share|improve this answer
That's exactly what I was looking for but for some reason it doesn't work. I get an error of '2014/08/02 13:32:02 [error] 2528#0: *1335 open() "/webapps/client/public/Foo" f$' when querying /public/Foo which makes it seem like nginx is ignoring alias. – Everlag Aug 2 '14 at 18:31
How does your complete nginx configuration look? There could be some other directives that take precedence to this block. – Tero Kilkanen Aug 3 '14 at 1:54
I added my config; I thought that probably wouldn't be an issue but then again, I'm a novice. Thanks very much for the help! – Everlag Aug 3 '14 at 4:55
Please try the new version in my answer, I added start and end matching to the location directive. – Tero Kilkanen Aug 4 '14 at 12:10
/webapps/client/public/Everlag/collmanagerclient.html is not found (2: No such file or directory) is the new error when the url is (Notice the trailing slash) and the same error as before is still there for the non-slash terminated url. – Everlag Aug 4 '14 at 16:18

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