Module ngx_http_hls_module

The ngx_http_hls_module module provides HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) server-side support for MP4 and MOV media files. Such files typically have the .mp4, .m4v, .m4a, .mov, or .qt filename extensions. The module supports H.264 video codec, AAC and MP3 audio codecs.

For each media file, two URIs are supported:

  • A playlist URI with the “.m3u8” filename extension. The URI can accept optional arguments:
    • start” and “end” define playlist boundaries in seconds (1.9.0).
    • offset” shifts an initial playback position to the time offset in seconds (1.9.0). A positive value sets a time offset from the beginning of the playlist. A negative value sets a time offset from the end of the last fragment in the playlist.
    • len” defines the fragment length in seconds.
  • A fragment URI with the “.ts” filename extension. The URI can accept optional arguments:
    • start” and “end” define fragment boundaries in seconds.
This module is available as part of our commercial subscription.

Example Configuration

location / {
    hls_fragment            5s;
    hls_buffers             10 10m;
    hls_mp4_buffer_size     1m;
    hls_mp4_max_buffer_size 5m;
    root /var/video/;

With this configuration, the following URIs are supported for the “/var/video/test.mp4” file:



Syntax: hls;
Context: location

Turns on HLS streaming in the surrounding location.

Syntax: hls_buffers number size;
Default: hls_buffers 8 2m;
Context: http, server, location

Sets the maximum number and size of buffers that are used for reading and writing data frames.

Syntax: hls_forward_args on | off;
Default: hls_forward_args off;
Context: http, server, location

This directive appeared in version 1.5.12.

Adds arguments from a playlist request to URIs of fragments. This may be useful for performing client authorization at the moment of requesting a fragment, or when protecting an HLS stream with the ngx_http_secure_link_module module.

For example, if a client requests a playlist http://example.com/hls/test.mp4.m3u8?a=1&b=2, the arguments a=1 and b=2 will be added to URIs of fragments after the arguments start and end:




If an HLS stream is protected with the ngx_http_secure_link_module module, $uri should not be used in the secure_link_md5 expression because this will cause errors when requesting the fragments. Base URI should be used instead of $uri ($hls_uri in the example):

http {

    map $uri $hls_uri {
        ~^(?<base_uri>.*).m3u8$ $base_uri;
        ~^(?<base_uri>.*).ts$   $base_uri;
        default                 $uri;

    server {

        location /hls {
            hls_forward_args on;

            alias /var/videos;

            secure_link $arg_md5,$arg_expires;
            secure_link_md5 "$secure_link_expires$hls_uri$remote_addr secret";

            if ($secure_link = "") {
                return 403;

            if ($secure_link = "0") {
                return 410;
Syntax: hls_fragment time;
Default: hls_fragment 5s;
Context: http, server, location

Defines the default fragment length for playlist URIs requested without the “len” argument.

Syntax: hls_mp4_buffer_size size;
Default: hls_mp4_buffer_size 512k;
Context: http, server, location

Sets the initial size of the buffer used for processing MP4 and MOV files.

Syntax: hls_mp4_max_buffer_size size;
Default: hls_mp4_max_buffer_size 10m;
Context: http, server, location

During metadata processing, a larger buffer may become necessary. Its size cannot exceed the specified size, or else nginx will return the server error 500 (Internal Server Error), and log the following message:

"/some/movie/file.mp4" mp4 moov atom is too large:
12583268, you may want to increase hls_mp4_max_buffer_size

© 2002-2017 Igor Sysoev
© 2011-2017 Nginx, Inc.
Licensed under the BSD License.