7 Benefits of NGINX Web Server Over Apache

7 Benefits of NGINX Web Server Over Apache

Written by Sanket Goyal, In Hosting, Published On
September 8, 2023
, 293 Views

Are you starting a virtual private server or setting up a website and want to choose the correct web server? Well, we will make your decision easier.

Choosing the correct web server is crucial if you want your projects or websites to perform well. While many options may be available, we have compared the two most popular (NGINX and Apache) in this article for you to choose from.

NGINX pronounced as “Engine-X,” is the most reliable web server out there when it comes to offering speed and scalability. While Apache and NGINX have similar market share, however, NGINX has made more waves in recent times thanks to the benefits it has to offer.

In this article, we have covered the 7 benefits of NGINX web server over Apache so you know what you are getting into!

7 Benefits of NGINX Web Server Over Apache

Here are a few of the features where NGINX proves to be better than Apache.

Architecture

Like many other web servers, Apache follows a process-driven architecture, which means it needs to create different processes to handle many client requests. The downside of this architecture is that it leads to heavy resource consumption and, therefore, creates various server issues like recurring downtime and slow website loading speeds.

This is not the case when it comes to NGINX. This web server uses a different approach with an event-driven, asynchronous, and non-blocking architecture, which helps NGINX handle multiple connections within a single process.

The event-driven architecture of NGINX effectively distributes the client requests among worker processes, resulting in better efficiency and resource consumption than Apache. This makes it suitable for high-traffic websites like eCommerce sites, web search engines, cloud storage services, etc.

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Handling Static and Dynamic Content

Websites are created using two main approaches, including building them using static content like plain HTML files and the other one being making dynamic content using programming languages like Python, Ruby, or PHP.

When it comes to static content, Apache serves it with its traditional file-based approach. With NGINX serving static content, it is pretty faster compared to Apache because it uses the approach of caching the static files and making them available whenever requested. NGINX is a better option if you want to build your website using static content since it performs around 2.5 times faster than Apache.

For serving dynamic content, Apache can execute it within the web server itself without having the need to depend on external components. However, NGINX doesn’t have the ability to process the dynamic content natively and needs to pass it to an external processor for execution and wait for the rendered content to be sent back.

While this whole process sounds a bit complicated, it also provides few benefits compared to Apache. The overhead of the dynamic interpreter in an NGINX web hosting server is only present for dynamic material and not included in the worker process, making it faster.

Security

Apache and NGINX are both designed in a way that is considered secure by default. However, usually, an argument is made that NGINX proves to be more secure than Apache, and here is why:

  • It provides the feature of rate-limiting, which helps protect the web server from DDoS attacks. It reduces the incoming request rate to help find real clients.
  • It also provides the freedom to the NGINX users to allow or deny access based on the client’s IP addresses.
  • NGINX supports the latest Transport Layer Security (TLS), offering reliable data transmission encryption.
  • Provides more security features when subscribed to NGINX Plus, which grants you access to a single sign-on (SSO) function.
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Server Configuration

How you configure each server is yet another difference between Apache and NGINX.

For Apache, there is a presence of .htaccess files. These are basically configuration files that you have the freedom to add almost anywhere on your server. When you make a request, this web server will check each element of a .htaccess file.

For NGINX, it doesn’t allow users to configure a server outside the file since it uses a centralized approach. However, this fact provides various benefits over Apache, including:

  • Provides greater performance compared to other types thanks to its centralized approach.
  • Helps in keeping the request times down due to a knock-on effect, which means there won’t be any disturbances for the servers from different areas.
  • The administrator of NGINX is entirely responsible for global security and, therefore, tightens access to the server as a whole.

Platform Support

When facing software or website-related issues, users must choose a web server with excellent platform support.

Apache provides extensive documentation that covers various topics regarding the software. Additionally, community support is available via email, allowing users to get help from familiar people.

However, NGINX provides its users with the benefit of dedicated support from its expert team in the premium version, which is not available for Apache. It also comes up with many learning resources like blogs, documentation, glossaries, etc., specially designed for beginners so they can learn more about the software.

Request Interpretation

Both Apache and NGINX interpret and process requests in a completely different manner.

Apache passes requests as file system locations and, therefore, may need more evaluation. This means that Apache provides the ability to interpret requests as a physical resource.

However, NGINX passes URI to interpret requests. This fact allows NGINX to function easily not only on the web but also on proxy servers, HTTP cache, and load balancers. Therefore, NGINX provides the benefit of quicker response and interpretation to its users.

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Feature Modules

While NGINX and Apache are both extensible through module systems, how they work is entirely different.

Apache has 60 official dynamically loadable modules that can easily be turned on and off. You can also find many unofficial modules on the internet. While it comes with several feature modules to meet your needs, the majority of them are not often used.

On the other hand, NGINX is compiled and selected in the course of 3rd party core modules, which are not dynamically loadable. However, these modules are very useful, and you can easily dictate what you want from your server.

The benefit that NGINX provides when it comes to feature modules is the fact despite providing all the core features of a web server, the high-performance and lightweight qualities of this web server are never compromised.

Conclusion

Choosing the best web server when you are starting any project or website is extremely important to make the process smoother. However, tons of available web servers make it overwhelming for the person to select which one to go for.

In this article, we have covered the most popular two out of many so that you know which web server you should go for to optimize your web server for ultimate performance and security.

NGINX comes with many benefits like better architecture, server configuration, handling static and dynamic content, lightweight and better performance even with fantastic feature modules, and many more, which makes it one of the most used web servers these days. We have explained all the benefits in detail for you to make your final decision easier.

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