forced 404 without a location display ?

Jonathan Vanasco nginx at
Mon Jul 11 19:26:30 UTC 2016

I have some servers where I use an old method of gating a path by using a file check.

this allows staff to turn off certain locations during migrations/updates without having root privileges (needed to restart nginx)

an issue I noticed– this method now (perhaps always) shows the name of the location on the default 404 template [the response that nginx generates via code, not a template on the fs]

Does anyone know how to disable showing the location without defining a custom template on the filesystem?  or perhaps someone can think of a better way to accomplish my goals?

location /paths/to/ {
    if (!-f /etc/nginx/_flags/is_running) {
        rewrite ^.*$ @is_running break;
location = @is_running {
    return 404;

that generates this

	  <title>404 Not Found</title>
	  <h1>404 Not Found</h1>
	  The resource could not be found.<br/><br/>


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