19 February 2015

New site in nginx is downloading PHP instead of executing it

I've just set up a new nginx host and was having problems with visiting it.

Whenever I loaded the page it would download a copy of my index file.

In my case the problem was two-fold.  Firstly I had mistyped my server name so it was falling back to an alternative catchall.

Secondly Chromium has a "won't fix" bug whereby redirects are cached.  Interestingly the cache also persisted into Incognito mode.

Clearing my cache with the "Clear Browsing History" menu function didn't work to clear out the redirect cache.  This gave the symptom of stopping nginx, stopping varnish, and even stopping hhvm but still having Chromium download the file when I tried to visit it.

What did work was to affix a get variable to the link.  So instead of visiting http://mysite.local I tried http://mysite.local?foo=1 which invalidated the cache.

This wasn't an entirely satisfactory solution so the next thing I tried was to use the developer tools (ctrl shift I) and then right clicking on the file in the network log.  Using the "Clear Browser Cache" option from that popup also worked.

So the TL;DR is:
1) Make sure that your config file is correct
2) Clear out your redirect cache or invalidate it
Tip