How to Fix 'nginx - nginx: [emerg] bind() to [::]:80 failed (98: Address already in use)' Error

Published June 29, 2024

Problem: NGINX Address Already in Use Error

When starting or restarting NGINX, you might see the error message "nginx: [emerg] bind() to [::]:80 failed (98: Address already in use)". This error happens when NGINX tries to bind to port 80, but another process is using the port. This stops NGINX from starting and affects your web server's operation.

Solutions to Resolve the Nginx Bind Error

Stopping Conflicting Services

To fix the Nginx bind error, stop other web servers or services using port 80. Check if Apache is running:

sudo systemctl status apache2

If Apache is active, stop it:

sudo systemctl stop apache2

To prevent Apache from starting on system boot:

sudo systemctl disable apache2

Use netstat to identify other services using port 80:

sudo netstat -tuln | grep :80

Stop conflicting services:

sudo systemctl stop service_name

Changing Nginx Port Configuration

If stopping services doesn't work, change Nginx's port. Edit the Nginx config file:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Find the listen directive and change it to an alternative port, like 8080:

server {
    listen 8080;
    # Other settings

Save the file and restart Nginx:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Configuring Nginx as a Reverse Proxy

Set up Nginx as a reverse proxy to work with other web servers. Edit the server block in your Nginx configuration:

server {
    listen 80;

    location / {
        proxy_pass http://localhost:8080;
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;

This configuration forwards requests to another web server running on port 8080. Adjust the proxy_pass directive to match your setup. After making changes, restart Nginx:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

Advanced Troubleshooting for Persistent Bind Errors

Resolving Permission and Ownership Conflicts

Permission and ownership issues can cause bind errors. Check Nginx file permissions:

ls -l /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

The file should be owned by root and have 644 permissions. If not, correct it:

sudo chown root:root /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
sudo chmod 644 /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Make sure Nginx runs with the correct user and group. Edit the Nginx config file:

sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

Check the user directive:

user www-data;

If needed, change it to the appropriate user. After making changes, restart Nginx:

sudo systemctl restart nginx

These steps should help resolve persistent bind errors related to IPv6 and permissions.

Additional Considerations for Nginx Setup

Configuring SSL/TLS with Certbot

When setting up SSL/TLS with Certbot for HTTPS, you may face port 443 bind issues. To fix this:

  1. Check if port 443 is in use:

    sudo netstat -tuln | grep :443
  2. If another service is using port 443, stop it or change Nginx to use a different port.

  3. Install Certbot:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install certbot python3-certbot-nginx
  4. Run Certbot to get and install SSL certificates:

    sudo certbot --nginx
  5. Follow the steps to pick your domain and choose if you want to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

  6. Certbot will change your Nginx config to use the SSL certificates.

  7. Test your HTTPS setup by visiting your website using https://.

Using Nginx in Docker Environments

When using Nginx in Docker, managing port conflicts and exposing ports correctly is important:

  1. To avoid port conflicts, map container ports to different host ports:

    docker run -p 8080:80 nginx

    This maps container port 80 to host port 8080.

  2. For multiple containers, use different host ports:

    docker run -p 8081:80 nginx
    docker run -p 8082:80 another-nginx
  3. In your Dockerfile, expose the needed ports:

    EXPOSE 80
    EXPOSE 443
  4. When using Docker Compose, specify port mappings in your docker-compose.yml:

    image: nginx
      - "8080:80"
      - "443:443"
  5. For containerized apps behind Nginx, use Docker's internal networking:

    image: nginx
      - "80:80"
    image: your-app
      - "3000"
  6. Set up Nginx to proxy requests to your app using the service name:

    location / {
    proxy_pass http://app:3000;