Unable to remove 301 redirect for wordpress wp-admin on nginx. The homepage seems fine

I’ve tried almost everything

  • Disabling plugins by renaming the plugin directory
  • Removing the redirect_canoncial in functions.php
  • Even restored an ebs snapshot taken prior to change

The ouput for curl –I http://www.example.com/wp-admin is 301 moved permanently. I’m using cloudfront and my server default file below

server {
    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;

    root /var/www/html;

    # Add index.php to the list if you are using PHP
    index index.php index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;

    server_name www.example.com;

    location / {
            # First attempt to serve request as file, then
            # as directory, then fall back to displaying a 404.
            #try_files $uri $uri/ =404;
            try_files $uri $uri/ /index.php?q=$uri&$args;

    # pass the PHP scripts to FastCGI server listening on
    location ~ \.php$ {
            include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;

    #       # With php7.0-cgi alone:
    #       fastcgi_pass;
    #       # With php7.0-fpm:
            fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.0-fpm.sock;

    # deny access to .htaccess files, if Apache's document root
    # concurs with nginx's one
    location ~ /\.ht {
            deny all;
  • did you try disabling all plugins at once? or in a serialized manner, i understand the repercussions involved on doing so, but just cross validating. – Corleone Aug 14 '18 at 9:31
  • i disabled them all at once by renaming the plugins directory – stack567 Aug 14 '18 at 9:33
  • alright, 1. have you validated the wp-config for any force redirects? 2. check the corresponding database for any redirect rules 3. where exactly is it getting redirected? – Corleone Aug 14 '18 at 9:43
  • There are no force redirects on wp-config. Also which table and filed do i check for the redirect rules on the db? – stack567 Aug 14 '18 at 9:49
  • well that depends, so could also let me know 3. where exactly is it getting redirected? like is it doing a http:// to https:// or is it landing on any distinct page or the home page itself – Corleone Aug 14 '18 at 9:55

This is a redirection to TLS i.e. Location: https://www.example.com/wp-admin. It isn't done in the server configuration, but in function auth_redirect(), found in wp-includes/pluggable.php lines 997-1064, more specifically in lines 1012-1020:

// If https is required and request is http, redirect
if ( $secure && !is_ssl() && false !== strpos($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 'wp-admin') ) {
    if ( 0 === strpos( $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 'http' ) ) {
        wp_redirect( set_url_scheme( $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'], 'https' ) );
    } else {
        wp_redirect( 'https://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'] );

This is controlled by force_ssl_admin(), enabled by adding define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true); constant to wp-config.php. If the constant is not defined, it defaults to false unless the siteurl has https:// (see wp_ssl_constants() in wp-includes/default-constants.php lines 284-304).

Source code line numbers are from current WordPress 4.9.8 and may vary on future versions.

Admin & login page redirections to TLS are not harmful and you should have them enabled for security. Current best practice is to have all sites protected with TLS i.e. https://www.example.com/ as the siteurl.

  • I've added FORCE_SSL_ADMIN to wp-config.php and updated the siteurl on options table to https but i still receive the 301. Any reason why my ebs restore did not take things back to the pre 301 redirect state? – stack567 Aug 14 '18 at 10:43
  • Only define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', false); would disable the redirection, but that only solves the problem you think you have, actually causing more problems than it solves. – Esa Jokinen Aug 14 '18 at 10:48
  • i've just tried define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', false) and this hasn't stopped the redirection either – stack567 Aug 14 '18 at 11:01
  • Have you removed all cookies, too? The second test in auth_redirect() is whether the user has requested the site to have SSL enabled, and this information is saved in a cookie. – Esa Jokinen Aug 14 '18 at 11:04
  • But really: you should not try to disable TLS. You should try to enable it, instead. – Esa Jokinen Aug 14 '18 at 11:06

After much reading it looks like the issue is down to a conflict between the default nginx root which i discovered is /usr/share/nginx and the one modified under site-available/default root directive which reads /var/www/html.

Nginx was looking for a file /usr/share/nginx/html/wp-admin/index.html which did not exist. I created a wp-admin folder with an index.html in /usr/share/nginx which stopped the 301 redirection. I've since deleted both and the 301 did not return but then led to a 404 error which i fix by returning to the original site-available/default that came with nginx installation. Once i reloaded nginx things were fine.

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