Setup h5ai with Nginx on Ubuntu server

Setup h5ai with Nginx on Ubuntu server

h5ai as a simple cloudstorage

h5ai is a modern file indexer for HTTP web servers with focus on your files. Directories are displayed in a appealing way and browsing them is enhanced by different views, a breadcrumb and a tree overview.

Once I have tried h5ai on Heroku, but this time I would like to use it as my file indexer on a “real” server together with Nginx reverse proxy.

Install PHP

h5ai requires PHP 5.5+. On Ubuntu, that’s simple:

sudo apt install php-fpm

Download h5ai

cd /var/www && mkdir h5ai && cd h5ai
unzip && rm

sudo permissions may required. wget & unzip commands only work if you have installed them through apt install ****.

Latest h5ai release could get from

Nginx configuration

Now setup a new virtual host with Nginx.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/conf.d/h5ai.conf

Copy the following configuration:

server {
    listen 80;
    index index.php /_h5ai/public/index.php;
    server_name; # change to your own domain
    root /var/www/h5ai;

    # individual nginx logs for this vhost
    access_log  /var/log/nginx/h5ai.example.com_access.log; # change to your own domain
    error_log   /var/log/nginx/h5ai.example.com_error.log;  # change to your own domain
    location /_h5ai/private {
        return 403;

    location ~ [^/]\.php(/|$) {
    fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
    if (!-f $document_root$fastcgi_script_name) {
        return 404;

    fastcgi_param HTTP_PROXY "";

    fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;
    fastcgi_index index.php;

    include fastcgi_params;

    fastcgi_param  SCRIPT_FILENAME   $document_root$fastcgi_script_name;
    fastcgi_param  PATH_INFO         $fastcgi_path_info;

Check the configuration with sudo nginx -t.

Change file permissions to the h5ai folder:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/h5ai

Reload Nginx to make the virtual host alive:

sudo systemctl reload nginx

Visit, to check if h5ai is reachable. This page shows some hints on the server’s capabilities.

h5ai configuration

The main configuration file is _h5ai/private/conf/options.json. You might want to change some of the documented settings. But there are some more files in _h5ai/private/conf you might have a look at.

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Frank Lin, PhD

Hey, there! This is Frank Lin (@flinhong), one of the 1.41 billion . This 'inDev. Journal' site holds the exploration of my quirky thoughts and random adventures through life. Hope you enjoy reading and perusing my posts.


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