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A faster Web server: ripping out Apache for Nginx

Nov 14, 2011, 13:01 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lee Hutchinson)

"Nginx (pronounced 'engine-ex') is a lightweight Web server with a reputation for speed, speed, speed. It differs from Apache in a fundamental way—Apache is a process- and thread-driven application, but Nginx is event-driven. The practical effect of this design difference is that a small number of Nginx 'worker' processes can plow through enormous stacks of requests without waiting on each other and without synchronizing; they just 'close their eyes' and eat the proverbial elephant as fast as they can, one bite at a time.

"Apache, by contrast, approaches large numbers of requests by spinning off more processes to handle them, typically consuming a lot of RAM as it does so. Apache looks at the elephant and thinks about how big it is as it tucks into its meal, and sometimes Apache gets a little anxious about the size of its repast. Nginx, on the other hand, just starts chomping.

"The difference is summed up succinctly in a quote by Chris Lea on the Why Use Nginx? page: '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.'"

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