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NGINX vs. Apache: Selecting Greatest Net Server for Your Enterprise

On this planet of net servers, NGINX and Apache are two of the commonest purposes you’ll encounter. In case your use case suits, one or each might help you construct and scale a strong, quick, high-traffic net utility for your online business.

However earlier than leaping into totally different setups and tech stacks, let’s discover the variations between Apache and NGINX.

Which one is quicker? Which one is less complicated to configure? How does every server work?

NGINX and Apache have totally different architectures, configurations, and efficiency capabilities. How do they stack up in opposition to one another? We take an in-depth take a look at each options and evaluate how they measure up in opposition to one another.

Learn on to find how every server utility works and what to select to your venture.

NGINX vs. Apache: An outline

NGINX and Apache are two premier selections of server software program. Apache makes use of a process-driven structure, and a single thread handles every connection request, whereas NGINX makes use of asynchronous event-driven structure. However what’s their historical past, how did they arrive into existence, and which is greatest for your online business?


Apache, often known as the Apache HTTP Server, is an industry-standard open-source net server software program developed and maintained by the Apache Software program Basis. It’s probably the most standard selections for net server software program, powering a 31.9 p.c market share of internet sites with recognized net servers.

The Apache net server makes use of a process-driven structure that creates a brand new thread for every new request.

It was first launched in 1995 beneath the Apache License and has advanced right into a dominant net server within the {industry}. In the event you’re an internet developer, you’ve probably come throughout Apache as a part of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) tech stack, permitting you to construct quick and responsive web sites and purposes.

Due to its distinctive capabilities, Apache has been a standard server software program since 1996, benefiting from years of improvement, documentation, and built-in help from a number of complementary tasks.

Apache is a sturdy, steady, and dependable net server recognized for its wealthy historical past. It boasts a protracted historical past of improvement and upkeep that retains it steady with the assistance of an energetic international neighborhood of builders and customers who play a big function in its improvement.

It’s additionally a flexible answer for net servers. As an illustration, it helps a number of scripting languages (e.g., PHP, Python, and Perl) and runs on main working techniques like Home windows and macOS. Additionally, all main Linux distributions include Apache pre-installed, making net app deployment seamless.

One other key function of Apache is its modular structure that permits directors to show options on and off when wanted. You can even prolong its performance utilizing customized modules and capabilities that tune the server to fulfill your distinctive wants.


  • An open-source answer accessible to people and organizations at no cost.
  • Helps third-party modules, plugins, and extensions which improve its performance.
  • A versatile and dependable server software program with a sturdy testing and improvement observe document.
  • Neighborhood help from its energetic person base.
  • Provides root entry to server configurations; non-privileged customers can edit permissions utilizing the .htaccess file.
  • Superb for shared internet hosting environments.


  • Useful resource-intensive software program that will devour extra CPU and reminiscence than alternate options.
  • Will not be ultimate for delivering static content material attributable to its resource-intensive nature.
  • Complicated configuration attributable to its a number of capabilities.
  • No help for asynchronous processing.


NGINX (pronounced as engine-x) is an internet server that makes use of asynchronous event-driven structure to ship content material to shoppers. It was first created in 2002 and later launched to the general public in 2004 by Igor Sysoev, a Russian developer who wished an answer to the C10K drawback.

Very similar to Apache, NGINX is an open-source venture which could be freely used, modified, and distributed.

NGINX’s non-blocking event-driven structure makes it a perfect answer for processing a number of requests. NGINX works by creating one controller course of and a number of employee processes. The controller retains every thing working, however every employee handles the duties.

As a result of every course of is asynchronous, employee processes can execute a number of requests with out blocking different requests. Regardless of a number of processes, NGINX makes use of low reminiscence, which boosts effectivity. This makes NGINX ultimate for high-traffic web sites, giving it a bonus over different net servers.

Nonetheless, NGINX nonetheless shares some similarities with Apache. As an illustration, NGINX can deal with HTTP, HTTPS, HTTP/2, and WebSocket file techniques, in addition to SSL/TLS termination. You can even use NGINX as a reverse proxy that distributes consumer requests throughout a number of servers.

Past that, NGINX is right for load balancing and caching, WebSockets, and URL rewriting, which permits the administrator to change incoming requests and allow or prohibit entry.

NGINX is dynamic, with loads of extension modules offering additional web site performance. Furthermore, it comes native to all main Linux and Unix working techniques. Though it may be put in on Microsoft Home windows, it might be much less environment friendly, particularly when scaling or coping with UDP authentication.


  • Asynchronous and event-driven structure makes NGINX ultimate for a number of concurrent requests.
  • Superb for high-traffic servers.
  • Can be utilized as a reverse proxy server.
  • Low-memory footprint with environment friendly CPU and reminiscence utilization.
  • Straightforward to configure and use, even for rookies.
  • Energetic neighborhood help and documentation.


  • Restricted help for the Home windows working system.
  • No native help for dynamic content material, and makes use of proxy requests on all dynamic content material to a backend server earlier than serving it to the consumer.
  • Leans closely on the usage of exterior third-party modules.

Characteristic comparisons of Apache and NGINX

Apache and NGINX are standard server software program choices for constructing high-performance web sites. Nonetheless, they differ in method. Let’s discover every net server utility and see which choice greatest serves your wants.


The structure of server software program refers to its inside mechanisms and structure that decide the way it handles connections, net requests, and person site visitors. Consider Apache’s and NGINX’s structure because the interior workings of a automobile engine and the way every part helps them ship the very best service.


As talked about earlier, Apache, by default, makes use of a process-driven structure, and a single thread handles every connection request — A thread being the shortest circulation of directions a scheduler can deal with.

Nonetheless, Apache comes with a few potential downsides. Heavy useful resource consumption and an absence of help for asynchronous processing can decelerate your server, growing web page load instances and generally resulting in web site outages.

Apache cleverly resolves these issues utilizing multi-processing modules (MPMs) that settle for and reply to server requests. As a person, you may decide any of the three principal MPMs to optimize your server, however you may solely load one MPM at a time.

The MPMs in Apache 2.4 are:

  • mpm_worker: The employee MPM creates a number of threads with every course of, and every thread can deal with a connection request. Your system can now serve a number of threads without delay and scale higher as a result of every thread within the MPM wants fewer assets than a single course of.
  • mpm_event: This MPM is very like the employee MPM however handles keep-alive connections too. It units apart threads to maintain sure connections alive whereas allocating working requests to different threads. This manner, keep-alive requests don’t decelerate all the system. This makes the occasion MPM probably the most resource-efficient choice within the Apache server.
  • mpm_prefork: These are unthreaded MPMs the place every youngster course of can solely deal with a single request at a time. As soon as the requests exceed a specified quantity, server efficiency suffers severely, and scaling with this MPM turns into problematic. The prefork MPM is right for stability and compatibility.


NGINX’s structure is asynchronous and event-driven, which suggests it will possibly deal with a number of simultaneous connections inside a single course of. It does so by working a single controller course of and a number of other youngster processes.

The sort of structure makes NGINX ultimate for scalability as a result of it will possibly effectively distribute consumer requests throughout processes, even on low-power techniques.

The controller course of performs high-level operations that learn and interpret configuration recordsdata, bind to ports, and kind youngster processes.

Little one processes are essential to NGINX’s operations, and so they fall into three classes:

  • Employee processes: Deal with hundreds of concurrent HTTP connections and eradicate the necessity for brand new processes or threads. Employee processes run independently, creating employee connections that deal with a single request thread. Additionally they learn and write content material to the server disks and talk with upstream servers.
  • Cache loader processes: These processes load the disk cache into the shared reminiscence utilized by different employee processes. They solely run as soon as after NGINX begins.
  • Cache supervisor processes: Preserve cached information inside configured limits and verify it periodically to chop the oldest-accessed information.

NGINX could also be your greatest wager in case your web site has excessive site visitors ranges, like an ecommerce retailer or cloud storage providers.

Verdict: Though Apache has multi-processing modules to help a number of processes, NGINX’s asynchronous event-driven structure wins. NGINX is best for top site visitors and scalability. Nonetheless, Apache‘s structure means it will possibly deal with steady tasks that want extra compatibility.

Efficiency (static vs. dynamic content material)

Subsequent is a efficiency comparability between NGINX and Apache on content material supply (i.e., dynamic and static content material supply). Dynamic content material modifications relying on a person’s conduct, pursuits, and picks. However, static content material is served on to the webpage with none modifications.


Apache makes use of a file-based method to ship static content material, a operate any of its MPMs can ship. Past that, it excels as a dynamic content material supply server software program. It depends solely on its inside elements and integrates a singular programming language processor into every employee occasion.

You’ll be able to activate the language processor in every module utilizing Apache’s loadable modules. That manner, an Apache server can run dynamic content material throughout the server with no need exterior software program help.


NGINX delivers static recordsdata quicker than Apache attributable to its asynchronous structure. That makes it the best server software program for static net content material. Nonetheless, it falls brief when delivering dynamic content material.

Since NGINX doesn’t function an inbuilt functionality to course of dynamic content material, it would use an exterior course of for execution. It should look ahead to exterior software program to course of and return decoded content material earlier than sending it again to the browser. This implies extra administrator configuration necessities.

Verdict: Each Apache and NGINX excel when delivering static content material, however Apache is right for dynamic content material. NGINX doesn’t natively course of dynamic content material and might have an exterior processor throughout a protocol it will possibly accommodate.


Safety is one other vital consideration to make when selecting between Apache and NGINX. Each server techniques are safe, however they method safety in several methods.


Over time, Apache has been a safe software program for HTTPD server connections. Nonetheless, you may nonetheless configure the server for extra safety.

Apache makes use of three configuration settings to thwart a denial-of-service (DoS) assault:

  • TimeOut: Defines the period of time — 60 seconds by default — the server waits earlier than failing a request.
  • KeepAliveTimeout: Manages how lengthy an Apache server connection stays open for a brand new request.
  • RequestReadTimeout: Cuts connections with customers who ship requests slower than anticipated.


Proper out of the field, NGINX presents rate-limiting capabilities, which handle the incoming request fee. NGINX breaks the connection if its fee worth exceeds or falls under typical browser exercise. Its distinctive structure additionally protects upstream servers from too many requests — a symptom of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults.

You can even configure NGINX to disclaim entry to particular IP addresses, bandwidth, and subrequests. Past that, NGINX helps Transport Layer Safety (TLS) and Safe Sockets Layer (SSL) protocols.

Verdict: Each Apache and NGINX supply distinctive safety features to your wants. Nonetheless, it’s possible you’ll want additional safety measures to guard your web site from malicious assaults.


When establishing server software program, you’ll discover vital variations between Apache and NGINX module techniques.


Apache has a number of dynamically loadable modules you may activate when wanted. These Apache modules are perfect for a number of duties, together with establishing setting variables, rewriting URLs, and defining expiration intervals.

You’ll be able to arrange further directory-level configurations within the .htaccess recordsdata. These recordsdata assist you to configure directories in your server with out affecting different areas.

The good thing about .htaccess recordsdata is that the server executes them with out requiring a server reload, and they’re interpreted at any time when situated on a request path. Furthermore, non-privileged customers can management particular web site parts with out taking management of the complete configuration file.

Many internet hosting suppliers use Apache as a result of they will keep management of main configurations, even the place they provide shoppers listing management.


In contrast to Apache, NGINX doesn’t interpret .htaccess recordsdata and presents no different technique to entry and configure recordsdata per listing. As a substitute, all settings can be found on the first configuration file.

And whereas that makes NGINX much less versatile, it brings a pace benefit.

NGINX additionally comes with additional third-party modules that may additional improve its capabilities. Intermediate and superior customers may also construct their modules. In contrast to Apache, NGINX doesn’t  help dynamic modules except you buy the enterprise model. In any other case, instructions have to be compiled with the free NGINX model earlier than they are often executed.

Verdict: Apache is extra versatile; you may configure it utilizing .htaccess recordsdata. This lets you configure directories individually from the remainder of the server recordsdata. NGINX isn’t as versatile, which makes it quicker and extra environment friendly than Apache.


Help is an important issue to contemplate when selecting an internet host. And whether or not your most well-liked server software program presents dependable help for efficiency optimization is crucial to know earlier than selecting a system.


Apache has a trove of knowledge and documentation overlaying all its key points. The Apache web site presents launch notes, manuals, guides, tutorials, and different info that may show you how to use Apache higher.

Past that, you can too entry its neighborhood on Stack Overflow and Freenode IRC networks, the place different customers might help you troubleshoot frequent issues.


There are additionally loads of neighborhood boards that cowl NGINX points, the place builders supply recommendation and tricks to new and seasoned customers. One such discussion board is on their web site, however there are a lot of others throughout social media and the web.

NGINX additionally presents loads of studying assets on its web site, together with documentation, webinars, datasheets, and weblog posts. You can even entry devoted help from the NGINX group through reside chat. The client help group can help you in establishing or troubleshooting your set up.

Verdict: NGINX and Apache supply a number of help choices that may show you how to handle any issues about your server. However not like Apache, NGINX presents reside chat from its group, which could be a useful gizmo for customers who want direct interplay to deploy or set up NGINX software program.

Last ideas: NGINX vs. Apache — the very best net server for your online business

When contemplating the best server software program to your venture, NGINX and Apache are two stellar choices. Their structure differs, utilizing totally different mechanisms to realize the identical aim. Apache makes use of process-driven structure, whereas NGINX makes use of asynchronous, event-driven structure.

Though these two software program choices could appear to be opponents at first look, they work extra effectively collectively. NGINX brings its light-weight capabilities to the forefront, whereas Apache gives highly effective help for dynamic content material.

By letting NGINX do the sorting whereas Apache does the processing, you benefit from the strengths of every to the good thing about your web site and its customers.

At Nexcess, we provide up-to-date variations of NGINX and Apache, offering you with two top-notch choices to your server setup. You could configure them to your server, relying in your wants.

Take a look at the Nexcess Utility Stack and see how choosing our versatile cloud internet hosting can take your online business to the subsequent stage.