Global NGINX server / location directive to redirect file downloads

I have a PHP script that keeps track of file downloads. This works pretty well for a single site, but I want to keep track of downloads across 20 NGINX websites.

My theory is that if I add a server block with a location directive in the main /etc/nginx/nginx.conf file, before the sites-enabled directive, this might work.

But the code below doesn’t seem to get executed:

cat /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

# Virtual Host Configs

server {

location /download/ {
   rewrite /download/(.*).(rar|zip|pdf)$ /home/_downloads/download.php?file=$1.$2;

include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;
include /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;
server_names_hash_bucket_size 128;

I’m also not sure about the second part, if I can just specifiy an absolute path to the file system or if I’m supposed to specify a URL. At this point I would prefer an absolute path if possible.

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