The Advantages of Nginx Web Server over Apache

Posted by Anna Middleton on June 4, 2019
Advantages of Nginx Web Server

Nginx (“Engine X”) is a reverse web server that is currently one of the most popular servers in the world. It has over 140 million users, with some of the most notable being Visa and Groupon.

Due to its performance and capacity to handle extremely high traffic a lot of users started opting for Nginx in recent years. As of 2019, more than 41% of the top 10,000 websites in the world are using this server. Together with Apache, the world’s number one web server, they take up more than 85% of the whole internet.

But what makes Nginx so good? Read this article to find out what the best features of this web server are and why it is so popular among websites.


Nginx Server Requirements

Before we delve into the good and bad of this web server, it is good to know what kind of system it requires.

First of all, the server runs well on various operating systems. Most notably, it is compatible with Linux, OS X, BSD, and many others.

The server is pretty light-weight and needs only a Linux server with 128MB of RAM, and a few MB of disk space. If you want to cache some data on the disk to improve the performance, you’ll need a little bit more space.

You won’t often see that it offers a shared hosting plan. For Nginx to work, all users need to individually link to it. So, it means you’ll have to grant access to each user on the server, which can be considered a security risk.

Advantages of Nginx Web Server

Nginx web server

Being one of the top web servers in the world, Nginx has many advantages compared to other similar servers. Some of them are:

  1. High Performance: Nginx is one of the top servers performance-wise. It is stable and can handle high server loads and sudden traffic spikes. Some websites that use it need to handle tens of millions of requests per day. It is also able to deal with more than 10,000 simultaneous requests without eating up a lot of server’s RAM memory.
  2. Efficiency: Unlike some other web servers, Nginx doesn’t create a copy for every request. This is why it can serve up a large number of users without consuming too much of the system’s resources. This is one of its biggest advantages over some other light-weight web servers. It’s also why it is much faster than most.
  3. Great for static files: Static content is super simple, yet a lot of servers have issues with it. Nginx does this efficiently, makes websites faster, and helps improve their Google rank.
  4. Security: It is one of the best and trusted servers for websites with a lot of visitors. Websites on Nginx that work with large quantities of personal data like Visa confirm that.
  5. Stability: Nginx is one of the most stable servers around. It has a lot of parallel connections keeping it from failing.
  6. Can host multiple backends: Nginx Controller tool enables you to host more than one Nginx server effortlessly.
  7. Codebase written by one person: The fact that the core of Nginx was written by a single programmer makes the server much more consistent.

Disadvantages of Nginx Web Server

Even if it is one of the best servers around, Nginx does have its fair share of disadvantages. Some of them include:

  1. Not good with module creation: Unlike Apache, Nginx misses an interface that makes it easier to create server modules. Apache has an interface called Apache Portable Runtime that helps solve this issue.
  2. Less than stellar community support: Some of the other web servers have much better community support, information, and documentation than Nginx. Still, it does cover all the basics.
  3. Falls behind LAMP: LAMP (Linux, Apache, MYSQL, PHP) is almost an industry standard stack. You will see Apache on almost all web hosting accounts that advertise online. Apache has built-in support for Ruby, Python, and Perl, while Nginx doesn’t.
  4. Doesn’t create .htaccess files: .htaccess files are configuration files that you use on web servers that run Apache web server software. Nginx doesn’t support them.

Nginx or Something Else

With its rising popularity and reliability, many users are turning to Nginx. It is stable, secure, and performs on a very high level compared to most of its counterparts. There are some disadvantages, so depending on your preferences and expertise you may opt for another server.

However, many users like to use the best of both web servers. With a web server like Apache, you can serve your websites well, and assign Nginx as a proxy server. This way you can bypass a lot of Apache’s issues while reaping the benefits from Nginx.


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