Friday, 15 February 2019

What is NGINX? Why to use it for a Website?

NGINX is an open source software for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming, and more. Initially is was started as a web server which is designed for maximum performance and stability. In NGINX it provides a software-based application delivery platform that load balances HTTP and TCP applications at a fraction of the cost of hardware solutions thus it allows organizations to maximize the availability and reliability of their sites and applications, and minimize disappointed customers and lost revenue.

The main goal of creating NGINX was to create the fastest web server around, and maintaining that excellence is still a central goal of the project. Moreover NGINX is consistently beating Apache and other servers in benchmarks measuring web server performance. In addition to its HTTP server capabilities, NGINX can also function as a proxy server for email (IMAP, POP3, and SMTP) and a reverse proxy and load balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP servers.

Today NGINX has grown along with it and now supports all the components of the modern Web, including WebSocket, HTTP/2, and streaming of multiple video formats (HDS, HLS, RTMP, and others). Today some of the high-profile companies using NGINX like Autodesk, Atlassian, Intuit, T-Mobile, GitLab, DuckDuckGo, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Adobe, Salesforce, VMWare, Xerox, LinkedIn, Cisco, Facebook, Target, Citrix Systems, Twitter, Apple, Intel, etc.

Why is NGINX so important?

And the reason behind it is that it is a part of the application routing fabric. Because routing is one of the most highly critical function because it enables load balancing. And load balancing is a key enabler of highly available systems. So running those systems requires having more than one server, datacenter, zone, region, provider, et cetera. And you can't just have a redundant system without a load balancer to route requests between redundant units.

How Does NGINX Work?

As you now know that NGINX is built to offer low memory usage and high concurrency. So rather than creating a new processes for each web request, Nginx hosting uses an asynchronous, event-driven approach where requests are handled in a single thread. And with NGINX, one master process can control multiple worker processes. Thus the master maintains the worker processes, while the workers do the actual processing. Because NGINX is asynchronous, each request can be executed by the worker concurrently without blocking other requests.

Here are some of the common features seen in NGINX include:

>>>> Reverse proxy with caching
>>>> IPv6
>>>> Load balancing
>>>> FastCGI support with caching
>>>> WebSockets
>>>> Handling of static files, index files, and auto-indexing
>>>> TLS/SSL with SNI

So here are the difference between NGINX vs Apache

Apache is one of the most popular and main rival web server for NGINX. And this Apache has been around since the 90s thus it has a large community as well. So now if you are curious about which web server is best for your needs, take a look at this brief and informative comparison between NGINX and Apache.

OS support

Compatibility is one of the little details you should consider when choosing software. So both the NGINX and Apache can run on many operating systems that support the Unix system. But unfortunately, NGINX’s performance on Windows is not as great as on other platforms.

User support

Users, from first-timers to professionals, always need a good community that can help when they face problems. So both NGINX and Apache have mailing support and a Stack Overflow forum, but where as Apache lacks support from its company, which is Apache Foundation.


In NGINX it can simultaneously run 1000 connections of static content two times faster than Apache and uses a little less memory. And when compared for their performance on running dynamic content, however, both have the same speed. NGINX is a better choice for those who have a more static website.

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