161

I have configured Apache to send back a 200 response without serving any file with this configuration line

Redirect 200 /hello

Can I do this with Nginx? I don't want to serve a file, I just want the server to respond with a 200 (I'm just logging the request).

I know I can add an index file and achieve the same thing, but doing it in the config means there's one less thing that can go wrong.

  • One could argue that if you don't serve a "file" or any content, you should return 204 No Content, as opposed to 200. – amn Aug 6 at 13:21
332

Yes, you can

location / {
    return 200 'gangnam style!';
    # because default content-type is application/octet-stream,
    # browser will offer to "save the file"...
    # if you want to see reply in browser, uncomment next line 
    # add_header Content-Type text/plain;
}
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  • 1
    how do I add a newline to the response? gangnam\nstyle? – tback Dec 28 '15 at 13:52
  • 1
    @tback of course, right you are – cadmi Mar 9 '16 at 9:10
  • 5
    add_header doesn't work for me as it adds another header instead of replacing the old 'Content-type'. In my response I have 2 'Content-type' headers:$ curl -v localhost/healthcheck/h1_pio > GET /healthcheck/h1_pio HTTP/1.1 > User-Agent: curl/7.38.0 > Host: localhost > Accept: / > < HTTP/1.1 200 OK < Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 13:27:53 GMT < Content-Type: application/octet-stream < Content-Length: 25 < Connection: keep-alive < Content-Type: application/json – jmcollin92 Oct 11 '16 at 13:30
  • 1
    @jmcollin92 your comment has nothing to do with the question that was asked and to which the answer was given. because you obviously have some sort of proxy_pass, fascgi_pass, whatever... but I still answer location /healthcheck/h1_pio { # proxy_pass blablabla what you need; proxy_hide_header Content-Type; add_header Content-Type application/json; } in the future, ask your question correctly and in the proper location – cadmi Oct 12 '16 at 23:43
  • 6
    @jmcollin92 that can happen if you have an existing default_type declared somewhere else. You can override it by using default_type text/plain; inside of the location block in place of the add_header directive. – tjb1982 May 23 '17 at 17:55
27

You do need to use a 204 as Nginx will not allow a 200 with no response body. To send a 204 you simply use the return directive to return 204; in the appropriate location.

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  • 1
    If you try to view this through a browser, it will look like it did nothing. that's intentional. You served nothing (204), it displays nothing. To prove you served a 204, use curl. – jnovack Mar 19 '19 at 18:23
5

As per status code definitions, I believe you want it to be a 204, and not 200. 200's need to be with a resource in the response, or I'd suspect most sane browsers would get confused by this. The other one you can use is 304, which is for cached content.

http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec10.html

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  • Sure, make it a 204, how do I do it? Although I very much doubt any browser will be confused by an empty body. – Theo Nov 1 '10 at 15:55
  • 1
    an empty body is still a response, with an object, such as a blank index.html. What you asked is to provide a 200 response with no resource attached to it (no file served). As for how exactly to do it on nginx, I need to look it up myself, I've only once done this on apache, and I can't remember off hand. – sandroid Nov 1 '10 at 20:05
  • 304 seems like it would send all the wrong signals for things like debugging and temporary returns. – Kzqai Feb 5 '16 at 20:18
5

To complete @Martin Fjordval's answer, be careful if you're using such a configuration to do a healthcheck.

While a 204 HTTP code is semantically perfect for a healthcheck (success indication with no content), some services do not consider it a success.

Namely, I had the issue with Google Cloud Load-balancers.

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  • Exactly. Google Cloud Load Balancer requires a 200 response code to consider the instance healthy, no matter the body. Any other code (even 2xx codes) will make the health check fail. – maganap Mar 18 at 14:56
3

If you want to return a formatted html text, without serving a html file:

location \ {
    default_type text/html;
    return 200 "<!DOCTYPE html><h2>gangnam style!</h2>\n";
}

If you want to return a text without html format, as the answer points:

location \ {
    add_header Content-Type text/plain;
    return 200 'gangnam style!';
}

And if you just simply wants to return 200:

location \ {
    return 200;
}

Just to remember: location blocks go inside server blocks. Here's a doc for more info.

P.S.: I have similar configuration (formatted html) runnning on plenty of servers.

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