Getting Started

Learn how to configure and run NGINX Agent.

Follow these steps to configure and run NGINX Agent and a mock interface (“control plane”) to which the NGINX Agent will report.

Install NGINX

Follow the steps in the Installation section to download, install, and run NGINX.

Clone the NGINX Agent Repository

Using your preferred method, clone the NGINX Agent repository into your development directory. See Cloning a GitHub Repository for additional help.

Install Go

NGINX Agent and the Mock Control Plane are written in Go. Go 1.21.0 or higher is required to build and run either application from the source code directory. You can download Go from the official website.

Start the gRPC Mock Control Plane

Start the mock control plane by running the following command from the agent source code root directory:

go run sdk/examples/server.go

# Command Output
INFO[0000] http listening at 54790 # mock control plane port
INFO[0000] grpc listening at 54789 # grpc control plane port which NGINX Agent will report to

NGINX Agent Settings

If it doesn’t already exist, create the /etc/nginx-agent/ directory and copy the nginx-agent.conf file into it from the project root directory.

sudo mkdir /etc/nginx-agent
sudo cp <project_root_directory>/nginx-agent.conf /etc/nginx-agent/

Create the agent-dynamic.conf file in the /var/lib/nginx-agent/ directory, which is required for NGINX Agent to run.

sudo touch /var/lib/nginx-agent/agent-dynamic.conf

Enable the gRPC interface

Add the the following settings to /etc/nginx-agent/nginx-agent.conf:

  host: # mock control plane host
  grpcPort: 54789 # mock control plane gRPC port

  enable: false
  skip_verify: true

For more information, see Agent Protocol Definitions and Documentation

Enable the REST interface

The NGINX Agent REST interface can be exposed by validating the following lines in the /etc/nginx-agent/nginx-agent.conf file are present:

  port: 8081 # port to expose REST API
  # REST TLS parameters
  cert: "<TLS-CERTIFICATE>.crt"
  key: "<PRIVATE-KEY>.key"

The mock control plane can use either gRPC or REST protocols to communicate with NGINX Agent.

Launch Swagger UI

Swagger UI requires goswagger be installed. See instructions for installing goswagger for additional help.

To launch the Swagger UI for the REST interface run the following command

make launch-swagger-ui


An extension is a piece of code, not critical to the main functionality that the NGINX agent is responsible for. This generally falls outside the remit of managing NGINX Configuration and reporting NGINX metrics.

To enable an extension, it must be added to the extensions list in the /etc/nginx-agent/nginx-agent.conf. Here is an example of enabling the advanced metrics extension:

  - advanced-metrics

Start NGINX Agent

If already running, restart NGINX Agent to apply the new configuration. Alternatively, if NGINX Agent is not running, you may run it from the source code root directory.

Open another terminal window and start the NGINX Agent. Issue the following command from the agent source code root directory.

sudo make run

# Command Output snippet
WARN[0000] Log level is info                            
INFO[0000] setting displayName to XXX            
INFO[0000] NGINX Agent at with pid 12345, clientID=XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX name=XXX
INFO[0000] NginxBinary initializing                     
INFO[0000] Commander initializing                       
INFO[0000] Comms initializing                           
INFO[0000] OneTimeRegistration initializing             
INFO[0000] Metrics initializing                         
INFO[0000] MetricsThrottle initializing                 
INFO[0000] DataPlaneStatus initializing                 
INFO[0000] MetricsThrottle waiting for report ready     
INFO[0000] Metrics waiting for handshake to be completed 
INFO[0000] ProcessWatcher initializing                  
INFO[0000] Extensions initializing                      
INFO[0000] FileWatcher initializing                     
INFO[0000] FileWatchThrottle initializing
INFO[0001] Events initializing                          
INFO[0001] OneTimeRegistration completed

Open a web browser to view the mock control plane at http://localhost:54790. The following links will be shown in the web interface:

  • registered - shows registration information of the data plane
  • nginxes - lists the nginx instances on the data plane
  • configs - shows the protobuf payload for NGINX configuration sent to the management plane
  • configs/chunked - shows the split-up payloads sent to the management plane
  • configs/raw - shows the actual configuration as it would live on the data plane
  • metrics - shows a buffer of metrics sent to the management plane (similar to what will be sent back in the REST API)

For more NGINX Agent use cases, refer to the NGINX Agent SDK examples.

Start and Enable Start on Boot

To start the NGINX Agent on systemd systems, run the following command:

sudo systemctl start nginx-agent

To enable the NGINX Agent to start on boot, run the following command:

sudo systemctl enable nginx-agent


NGINX Agent uses formatted log files to collect metrics. Expanding log formats and instance counts will also increase the size of the NGINX Agent log files. We recommend adding a separate partition for /var/log/nginx-agent.

Without log rotation or storage on a separate partition, log files could use up all the free drive space and cause your system to become unresponsive to certain services.