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Editor: This article was originally titled Capturing 5xx Errors with a Debug Server and published at the official blog of Nginx.

No matter how rigorously or how long you test your software, there’s nothing like the production environment to uncover bugs. Whether it’s caused by a weird race condition that happens only under the unpredictable concurrency patterns of live traffic, or an input validation blow-up for data you could never imagine a user typing, “throwing a 500” is a big deal.

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HTTP 5xx error messages are highly visible to your users, highly embarrassing for the business, and can lead to reputational damage in a very short space of time. Furthermore, debugging them in your production environment can be extremely difficult. For starters, the sheer volume of log data can make the job of isolating a problematic session like searching for a needle in a haystack. And even when you have collated logs from all components, you may still not have enough data to understand the problem.

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When using NGINX as a reverse proxy or load balancer for your application, there are a number of features that can assist you with debugging in a production environment. In this blog post we will describe a specific use of the error_page directive as we explore a typical reverse proxy application infrastructure, with a twist.

Introducing the Debug Server Continue reading.

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