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.


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;
  • 1
    how do I add a newline to the response? gangnam\nstyle? – tback Dec 28 '15 at 13:52
  • @tback of course, right you are – cadmi Mar 9 '16 at 9:10
  • Just add the newline! Nginx configuration directives are not bound to single lines, they are ended by semicolon. – Emil Vikström May 3 '16 at 19:26
  • 4
    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
  • 5
    @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

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.

  • 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 at 18:23

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.


  • 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

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