The reason phrases of HTTP responses that accompany a status code are not fixed. Instead of returning 200 OK it would be legal to return 200 Everything fine.

nginx has predefined reason phrases for some well-known status codes, but not for all. For example, as of now nginx does not yet know a reason phrase for the RFC 6585 status code 511 Network Authentication Required.

How can I set/change the reason phrase of a status code in nginx?


You can always change it and build Nginx, which is surprisingly easy.




ngx_string("200 OK"),

to whatever you like.

To build Nginx follow this guide I've written, or any other "how to build Nginx" guide. Here's the core of it, for reference

cd /home/ec2-user
mkdir nginx-build
cd nginx-build
service nginx stop
yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
yum install pcre-devel zlib-devel openssl-devel
wget http://nginx.org/download/nginx-1.9.11.tar.gz
wget http://labs.frickle.com/files/ngx_cache_purge-2.3.tar.gz
wget https://github.com/openresty/headers-more-nginx-module/archive/v0.29.tar.gz
tar -xzf nginx-1.9.11.tar.gz
tar -xzf ngx_cache_purge-2.3.tar.gz
tar -xzf v0.29.tar.gz
tar -xzf    # Google Pagespeed, optional
wget https://github.com/pagespeed/ngx_pagespeed/archive/release-${ngx_version}-beta.zip   # Google Pagespeed, optional
cd ngx_pagespeed-release-   # Google Pagespeed, optional
wget https://dl.google.com/dl/page-speed/psol/${ngx_version}.tar.gz   # Google Pagespeed, optional
cd ../nginx-1.9.9
# Note that I have no idea what the next line does but it was in the official guide
# Safe option, slower, lots of modules included
#./configure --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --pid-path=/var/run/nginx.pid --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --user=nginx --group=nginx --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_addition_module --with-http_sub_module --with-http_dav_module --with-http_flv_module --with-http_mp4_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-http_random_index_module --with-http_secure_link_module --with-http_stub_status_module --with-http_auth_request_module --with-threads --with-stream --with-stream_ssl_module --with-http_slice_module --with-mail --with-mail_ssl_module --with-file-aio --with-ipv6 --with-http_v2_module --with-cc-opt='-O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m64 -mtune=generic' --add-module=/tmp/ngx_cache_purge-2.3 --add-module=/tmp/headers-more-nginx-module-0.29 --with-http_realip_module --add-modeule=../ngx_pagespeed-release-
# Many plugins removed, extra optimisations including some JUST for the machine it's compiled on
./configure --prefix=/etc/nginx --sbin-path=/usr/sbin/nginx --conf-path=/etc/nginx/nginx.conf --error-log-path=/var/log/nginx/error.log --http-log-path=/var/log/nginx/access.log --pid-path=/var/run/nginx.pid --lock-path=/var/run/nginx.lock --http-client-body-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/client_temp --http-proxy-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/proxy_temp --http-fastcgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/fastcgi_temp --http-uwsgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/uwsgi_temp --http-scgi-temp-path=/var/cache/nginx/scgi_temp --user=nginx --group=nginx --with-http_ssl_module --with-http_realip_module --with-http_gunzip_module --with-http_gzip_static_module --with-threads --with-file-aio --with-ipv6 --with-http_v2_module --with-cc-opt='-O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -m64 -mtune=native' --add-module=../ngx_cache_purge-2.3 --add-module=../headers-more-nginx-module-0.29 --with-http_realip_module --add-module=../ngx_pagespeed-release-
make && make install
make clean  (NB: optional)
service nginx start
  • I also searched the source and found that file myself. I wish however there would be a less complicated solution. – Sebastian Schrader Jul 10 '16 at 20:30
  • Nginx seems to prioritize simplicity. This is an unusual requirement, adding this as a capability makes the product more complex. – Tim Jul 10 '16 at 21:38
  • I totally understand that design philosophy. It's one of the reasons we chose nginx. Getting a patch upstream for the 511 status code phrase is probably the right thing to do. Our use case is not to do any shenanigans with the 200 status code phrase. I understand why that is not supported. – Sebastian Schrader Jul 13 '16 at 8:16

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