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NGINX

NGINX is a software product developed by the Russian software developer Igor Sysoev and includes an extremely high-performance web server as well as an e-mail and reverse proxy server. The software product is distributed under the BSD license and is freely available. Due to its resource-saving operation, the web server is particularly suitable for websites and web apps that are confronted with high numbers of visitors and a high volume of traffic. Big names like Netflix and WordPress use NGINX.

High-performance and resource-saving web server

Key features of the web server are the sparing use of

server resources and top-notch performance, which is why the software can run smoothly on weaker hardware without any performance degradation. These characteristics make the web server predestined for use in web presences with high traffic and user volumes. According to current statistics, about 65 percent of the 10,000 most traffic-intensive websites use the software. Worldwide, the market share of the web server is now in the double-digit percentage range. Some well-known websites that use the web server are:

  • Netflix
  • WordPress
  • SourceForge
  • Github
  • SoudCloud
  • Doodle

NGINX competes directly with web servers such as the Google web server and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS), as well as the Apache web server.

The main features of NGINX

The web server is modular and can perform a variety of tasks. For example, not only web servers can be realized with NGINX, but also so-called “load balancers” as well as “reverse proxy solutions”. By integrating the NAXSI module, the software can even be converted into a high-performance firewall. The software’s mode of operation is based on an event-driven and asynchronous basis. This offers the decisive advantage that no new process has to be created for each new request, so that the number of requests to the web server has almost no influence on performance. Thousands of requests can thus be processed in parallel with little memory consumption and low CPU load.

Processing dynamic content with NGINX

Compared to the Apache web server, NGINX is not able to process dynamic content itself. The web server accepts dynamic requests, but forwards them to a separate process. An interpreter implemented in the PHP programming language processes the requests and then returns the result to the web server. Although outsourcing the processing of dynamic content initially means increased configuration effort, this concept ultimately reduces the load on the server and makes the entire system much more powerful.

Pro
  • Low CPU load and memory requirements
  • Asynchronous operation with high-performance processing of multiple parallel requests
  • Web pages are displayed with minimal latency even under high load
  • The web server can be quickly and easily converted thanks to many modules for additional tasks
  • Guaranteed compatibility with all current online shop and content management systems (CMS)
Contra
  • For the processing of dynamic content, the installation of an additional software package is necessary.
  • Changes in the global configuration require a restart of the server.
  • The configuration effort is generally somewhat higher.

Conclusion

Thanks to its performance and resource-saving operation, the web server is an ideal choice for websites and

web apps that have a high number of visitors and place particular emphasis on the best possible performance.


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