Sample nginx.conf

events { worker_connections 1024; }
http {
  server {
    listen 80;

    location /a {
      root /www;
    location /b {
      root /www/;
    location /c {
      alias /www;
    location /d {
      alias /www/;

These are requests and file path that nginx will look up for -> /www/a/my/file -> /www/b/my/file -> /wwwmy/file -> /www/my/file

Check this article to reveal the location that nginx looks up for

Also note that, from nginx official docs, it is recommend to use root directive when possible.

When location matches the last part of the directive’s value:

location /images/ {     alias /data/w3/images/; }

it is better to use the root directive instead:

location /images/ {     root /data/w3; }

The reason is a little performance of root over alias when matching request string