Redirect index.html to its Parent Directory in Nginx

I use nanoc to generate static sites which get served with nginx. The files and directories produced have the following basic structure.

├── article
│   └── example-article
│       └── index.html
│   └── another-article
│       └── index.html
└── index.html

A page (article) should only be served at one URL - a canoncial URL. By default nanoc will serve the content at the two following URLs:

  • /article/example-article/index.html
  • /article/example-article/

I don’t want that! The article should only be available at /article/example-article/.

First Stab - One Rewrite Rule

The initial rewrite I came up with was:

rewrite ^(.*/)index.html$ $1 permanent;

This works great for the articles. Not so great for root resource which now sits in an infinate redirect loop:

$ curl -ILs --max-redirs 5 | grep Location

This is likely due to nginx’s internal rewriting that it performs to serve the index.html page. Being new to nginx, thats as far as my guesswork goes.


The $request_uri variable always points to the URI from the original request. We can use this in a control statement, as internal rewriting won’t affect it.

if ($request_uri ~ ^(.*/)index.html$) {
    return 301 $1;