Apache is like Microsoft Word, it has a million options but you only need six. Nginx does those six things, and it does five of them 50 times faster than Apache.Chris Lea, CTO of Fahlo
Nginx (pronounced “Engine-Ex”) is an open source HTTP web server and reverse proxy server. Run by the busiest web sites on the internet, Nginx enables high performance web architectures to improve user experience, without incurring unnecessary costs in capital or time
What Nginx Can Do for You
Nginx can operate as a reverse proxy server for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols. It can also be used as a load balancer and HTTP cache server. Nginx runs on BSD variants, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and other *nix flavors, with a proof of concept port developed for Microsoft Windows.
Developers can deploy Nginx to serve dynamic HTTP content on the network with FastCGI, SCGI handlers for scripts, and WSGI application servers or a Phusion Passenger module. Rather than using a model that defaults to a threaded or process-oriented approach, Nginx utilizes an asynchronous event-driven approach to handling requests, an approach that provides more predictable performance under high loads because of its modular event-driven architecture.
Nginx Is Amazingly Popular
Nginx has surpassed Microsoft’s IIS to become the second most popular web server in the world behind Apache; in fact, Nginx is arguably first, since it is now the most used web server of the top 1000 sites on the web. Currently, Nginx powers such popular websites as Pinterest, WordPress, Netflix, and Hulu.
Nginx: HTTP Proxy and Web Server Features
- Ability to handle more than 10,000 simultaneous connections with a low memory footprint
- Handling of static files, index files, and auto-indexing
- Reverse proxy with caching
- Load balancing with in-band health checks
- Fault tolerance
- TLS/SSL with SNI and OCSP stapling support, via OpenSSL.
- FastCGI, SCGI, uWSGI support with caching
- Name- and IP address-based virtual servers
- SPDY protocol support
- WebSockets and HTTP/1.1 Upgrade (101 Switching Protocols)
- FLV and MP4 streaming
- Web page access authentication
- gzip compression and decompression
- URL rewriting
- Custom logging with on-the-fly gzip compression
- Response rate and concurrent requests limiting
- Bandwidth throttling
- Server Side Includes
- IP address-based geolocation
- User tracking
- XSLT data processing
- Embedded Perl scripting
Nginx: Mail Proxy Features
- TLS/SSL support
- STARTTLS support
- SMTP, POP3, and IMAP proxy
- Authentication using an external HTTP server
Other features include upgrading executable and configuration without client connections loss, and a module-based architecture.
You can read more about Nginx and its features at the company’s official website.