Practical Technology

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Apache and IIS’ Web server rival NGINX is growing fast


It used to be easy for Web server administrators. If you ran a Windows shop, you used Internet Information Server (IIS), if you didn’t, you used Apache. Now, though, you have more Web server choices and one of the leading alternatives, the open-source NGINX Web server, is gaining fast.

According to Netcraft, the leading Web server analytics company, NGINX, with its over 40-million Web domains and 8.5% of all Web domains, is catching up with the big two. Indeed Netcraft analysts believe that “If current trends continue NGINX will soon overtake Microsoft to have the second largest number of active sites.”

NGINX has moved into this position because it’s very, very fast. The company claims that NGINX can deliver 10 times the performance on the same hardware. I don’t know about that, but I do know on my own servers that NGINX is very fast and uses far less resources than Apache or IIS. It does this by being event-based. That means it doesn’t spawn new processes or threads for each Web page request. The end result is that even as the load increases, memory use remains predictable.

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