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What to Use – Nginx vs Apache

To ensure good user experience of your website, you need to make sure that your servers are fast. For this cause, there are plenty of programs to utilize. The most popular of which are Nginx and Apache. In this article, you’ll find a detailed comparison of the two, to help you choose the one that fits your VPS project best!

Nginx

Nginx is a lightweight, high-performing web server. It is open source which makes it easy to customize. It is highly popular and together with Apache, they govern practically the whole market of web servers.

Nginx’s development started in 2002 when the need arose to increase the number of simulated requests per server.

At the technical level, Nginx uses an asynchronous sub-process architecture. This means that when a request is generated, it does not create a new process in the server processor, thus increasing the performance of the server.

Additionally, it is good to note that Nginx is the fastest growing web server in recent years. There are even 375 million websites running thanks to it. It’s available on all your favorite Linux flavors like CentOS 7.

Apache

Apache is already a veteran web server. It was created in 1995 and to this day is the most popular in the world. It also is open source, so you can examine, improve and adapt the source code to your needs. Like Ngnix it is available for almost all Linux distributions, including Ubuntu 18.04 and CentOS 7.

Apache’s primary goal is to provide a secure, stable and flexible web server. For example, Apache manages multi-process modules to maintain the same connection in different ways. This has the main advantage that administrators can apply criteria for each connection.

However, with its consumption, it requires more resources.

Nginx vs Apache: Are They Worth Comparing?

The short answer is yes. While it is true that both perform their function very well, they are somewhat different. So, you should know in which areas it is or is not suitable for your server.

1. Nginx vs Apache – Popularity

Popularity is not a technical field, but it does influence the level of community support the server may have. Nginx and Apache are very popular and in this sense, you could almost say that they are tied.

However, Apache has greater support from the open source community which makes it ideal for educational projects and individuals.

What is more, Apache is still the most popular web server in the world although the difference with Nginx is not much.

2. Nginx vs Apache – Security

In this sense, both web servers have very good security policies. Frequently, both development teams publish security patches to prevent DDos attacks.

In addition to this, they have quite active developments and have constant updates.

3. Nginx vs Apache – Performance

If you have a website, ideally the web server should be as fast as possible. If not, it could cause server collapses and worse, a lack of visitors.

In this sense, thanks to the sub-process management that Nginx has, it responds better to customer requests. In addition, because it is event based, only the server responds with requests, making it not spend memory unnecessarily.

Besides this, Nginx makes a more efficient consumption of computer resources. In other words, it consumes less RAM.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Nginx processes multiple requests better. That is why, when your server is accessed by many clients at the same time, Nginx is superior to Apache.

4. Nginx vs Apache – Flexibility

Sysadmin has to deal with multiple different situations. In this sense, applications must be flexible enough to adapt to what is required.

Apache is a very flexible web server. It supports more than 60 different modules which further extends its functionality. What is more, Apache supports the customization of connections through the .htaccess tool, while Nginx does not.

As a result, Apache is much more flexible and customizable.

What to Use? Nginx vs Apache – Bottom Line

In the end, it all depends on your needs. Generally speaking, Apache is ideal if you have to customize connections a lot. Also, it’s a good idea to use it if you need a lot of documentation. This is because Apache has more community support.

On the other hand, if your web server will receive a lot of traffic, it is likely that you’ll need to use Nginx because it behaves much better in this area.

Finally, it is possible to use both on the same server. This practice, although not as frequent as you may think, is aimed at different websites. Some, require more customization and use Apache, others to be accessed by more clients, are served in Nginx.

The bottom line is, that you need to weight in what is more important to you and make the choice accordingly.

The Author

Author

Laura Z. / @laurazelvyte

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