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Difference between Apache and NGINX

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Difference between Apache and NGINX

Apache and NGINX are two major players in the web server business spanning 5 percent of web traffic over the internet, but they are different from each other.

Apache is "Apache HTTP Server". It is an open-source, high-performance web server software developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation. Apache is designed to create a secure, robust and efficient commercial-grade web server in line with the current HTTP standards.

Apache remains the first choice among the server administrators because of its flexibility, architectural simplicity, power compatibility, and multi-platform support. It can run on almost all operating systems such as Windows, UNIX, OSX, NetWare, etc. But it is commonly used in combination with Linux.

Apache became the backbone of the WWW (World Wide Web), it was really on the top of the game, but when NGINX comes in the business, the server administrator's choice was changed.

Yes, we can say that NGINX cannot compete against the feature-rich Apache on many fronts, but its asynchronous status and single-threaded architecture makes it a smart choice over Apache.

Let's see the difference between Apache and NGINX:

Apache is an open-source HTTP server whereas Nginx is an open-source, high-performance asynchronous web server and reverse proxy server.

Bug fixing, support, maintenance, and application development in Apache HTTP server is managed and maintained by a community of users from around the world and coordinated by the Apache Software Foundation whereas Nginx is handled by a company of the same name which was founded in 2011.

The major difference between the two is how they handle the client request. While Apache provides a different variety of multiprocessing modules to handle client requests and web traffic, Nginx is so designed to handle multiple client requests simultaneously with minimal hardware resources.

In Apache, single thread is associated with only one connection, whereas a single thread in Nginx can handle multiple connections. All the processes are put in an event loop along with other connections and are managed asynchronously. This process consumes less memory, thereby increasing performance.

Apache HTTP Server has a multi-threaded architecture which lacks scalability. Whereas Nginx follows an asynchronous event-driven approach to handle multiple client requests. Its event-driven architecture is designed to facilitate better performance even under heavy traffic.

Apache server serves static content using conventional methods and processes dynamic content natively within the web server itself. Nginx, on the other hand, cannot process dynamic content internally. It relies on external processes for execution.

Apache vs. NGINX

Apache NGINX

Apache runs on all Unix like systems such as Linux, BSD, etc. as well as completely supports Windows. Nginx runs on modern Unix like systems; however it has limited support for Windows.

Apache uses a multi-threaded approach to process client requests. Nginx follows an event-driven approach to serve client requests.

Apache cannot handle multiple requests concurrently with heavy web traffic. Nginx can handle multiple client requests concurrently and efficiently with limited hardware resources.

Apache processes dynamic content within the web server itself. Nginx can't process dynamic content natively.

Apache is designed to be a web server. Nginx is both a web server and a proxy server.

Modules are dynamically loaded or unloaded, making it more flexible. Since modules cannot be loaded dynamically, they must be compiled within the core software itself.

A single thread can only process one connection. A single thread can handle multiple connections.

The performance of Apache for static content is lower than Nginx. Nginx can simultaneously run thousands of connections of static content two times faster than Apache and uses little less memory.

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