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I was building Nginx from source but now I am installing using apt-get. I was wondering if it is still necessary to create my own user to run the process manually or if it does that as part of the install process now. Reading tutorials which explain how to install nginx from apt never mention creating a user manually so I believe it not to be necessary but do not know for certain.

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Debian creates a web user (www-data) when installing Nginx via apt

If the installation was successful, you can quickly check with the following:

cat /etc/nginx/nginx.conf | grep user

The output should be user www-data;.

Make sure Nginx is running with service nginx status then ps aux | grep nginx to see if any worker processes have that user listed in the left-most column.

Note: The master process will run as root.

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If Debian's anything like Ubuntu (and it should be a lot like Ubuntu), the user's created as part of the install, and Nginx will be running and listening on port 80 at the end of install IIRC.

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