Status 401 Behaviour Issue

Dayo nginx-forum at
Sun Mar 20 07:20:56 MSK 2011

> Hi there,
> > I noticed a certain behaviour of the 401 status
> code response I will like to change.
> > With Nginx however, if I define an html page
> error_page for 401, this gets served every time a
> user requests the protected directory and there is
> no opportunity to fill in the authentication
> details.
> That sounds odd to me.
> What *should* happen is the web server returns
> http 401 with some body
> content; the web browser chooses whether to
> display that body content,
> or to request authentication credentials, as it
> sees fit.
> What is your error_page config?
> Quick testing here shows that
>   error_page 401 /401.html;
> returns the right content with the right status,
> as I would expect.
>   error_page 401 = /401.html;
> returns the right content, but with a http 200
> status, which sounds like
> it matches what you are seeing.
> As per
> adding the
> "=" means "handle this (sub)request, and change
> the return status to
> whatever it generates instead of what we started
> with". For 401, you
> probably don't want that.
> > Is it possible to set it up such that it behaves
> like Apache does? I.E. only return the html
> error_page if the authentication fails? This seems
> like a better implementation to me.
> Leave out the "="?
> > Running 0.8.54
> I tested with 0.9.4, but I don't see any obvious
> code fixes that would
> have changed this.

Hi. Thanks for that.

Yep, the second config was what was causing it for me.  It didn't
"matter" with the other codes as there is no further processing to be
done and users saw the right pages for the circumstances. Does also
explain why my caching config for error pages did no quite work

In summary, after rereading the docs properly

1. "error_page code url" means return "code" and show "url"
2. "error_page code =anycode url" means return "anycode" and show "url"
3. "error_page code = url" means redirect to this url whenever "code" is
encountered. A "200 OK" response is returned if "url" is found.

Thanks again for helping me get to understand this better

Posted at Nginx Forum:,184007,184098#msg-184098

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