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My http block defines various gzip rules. Then in where I have pre-comporessed gzip files I’m using the gzip_static module. i.e. something like:

http {
    gzip on;
    #...
    server {
        #other vhost rules
        location /assets/ {
            gzip_static on;
        }
    }
}

For URLs that don’t start /assests nginx sends the header Content-Encoding: gzip. However URLs such as /assets/css/style.css certainly return a comporessed response, but no Content-Encoding header.

Is this expected behavior? How should nginx be configured?

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Just turning it on with gzip_static on didn't work for me. I had to use the gzip_proxied before it started working.

location /as/ {
  gzip_static on;
  gzip_proxied    expired no-cache no-store private auth;

  gzip_min_length 500; # optional
  gzip_types      text/plain application/xml text/css; # optional

  add_header Z_LOCATION "gz static location block"; add_header URI $uri; # DEBUG info
}

Note the last line adds another two headers that help debugging. You can see these using a great plugin for Firefox called "Live HTTP Headers", which I found super useful for debugging a load of things around headers and caching. Note that "curl -I" doesn't work as it doesn't send a header saying it accepts gzip encoding.

You should also make sure the files have the same modification date

touch style.css style.css.gz

Here are the headers I get back when I use the location config above

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: nginx
Date: Wed, 06 Jan 2016 20:07:18 GMT
Content-Type: text/css
Last-Modified: Wed, 06 Jan 2016 19:55:15 GMT
Etag: "568d7123-84c"
Z_LOCATION: gz static location block
URI: /as/style.css
Via: 1.1 BC5-ACLD
Connection: Keep-Alive
Content-Encoding: gzip
Age: 0
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I had a location ~* \.(css|js|...) { expires 7d } block that was messing things up. I’ve had a play with the location blocks and all seems to be working now.

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