This is easy to do but I had a few missteps in setting up nginx with both Rails and Tomcat so it is worthwhile documenting what I did. I have two cooking and recipe web portals, an older one written in Java ( and a newer one that uses the USDA nutritional database that runs on Rails ( These are low volume sites so I wanted to run both on a single inexpensive VPS.

Usually I run a few virtual domains on one Tomcat instance (requires a simple mapping in conf/server.xml between virtual domain names and subdirectories of $TOMCAT/webapps) but in this case, I only need to add a single virtual domain for my Java web app on a system that is already configured for Rails. So, no changes to server.xml are required and I deployed to $TOMCAT/webapps/ROOT. Then, the only thing left to do was add a section in my nginx.conf file for Tomcat running on port 8080:
    server {
listen 80;
root /usr/local/tomcat/webapps/ROOT;

access_log off;
rewrite_log on;

location / {
proxy_redirect off;
proxy_set_header Host $host;
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
Both my wife and I are very good cooks, and writing two cooking/recipe web apps has been a fun hobby.