NGINX vs. Apache: Which Server Is Right for You?

NGINX and Apache are two of the most popular and top-rated open source web server technologies to ever grace the Internet. I’ve oftentimes encountered firsthand that there’s always an ongoing debate about which one is superior to the other and which one would prove to be best suitable according to website requirements.

I have lost count of how many comments the readers have posted concerning NGINX and Apache comparisons. There was a time when Apache threw other servers right out of the water and dominated a quarter of the open-source web server industry. It is still one of the top contenders, though as NGINX has taken over the internet like a storm, Apache’s sales have been slashed in half.

Ever since then, there’s been an ongoing competition between the two and it has led to a lot of confusion among the users. It’s crucial to know which web server would be the right choice for you. In this article, I’ve decided to give my best shot and narrow down whether NGINX or Apache will prove to be the best server for your sites.

Without further ado, let’s get down to business.

Why it’s important to choose the best out of the two and why there’s even a comparison in the first place.

For years, the same question was asked; which web server do you use, NGINX or Apache?

Over 50% of the total traffic being served on the Internet is due to both of these candidates. They are the most popular and most common open-source web servers in the market.

Both are efficient in terms of reliability so users like you and I tend to fall into a dilemma. I’m sure you often ponder hard on which provider to host your site on. Similarly, you are just as entitled to decide which web server your site will be live on.

Both NGINX and Apache aren’t perfect and the one that is more superior to the other depends entirely on your website requirements.

Understanding Apache and NGINX

Apache HTTP web server is managed by the Apache Software Foundation. Apache abides by the latest security standards and is complied with the ongoing HTTP norms. Its been in the business since 1995 and has been standing tall as the most popular web server technology of all time.

It offers amazing features to the website owners and you can add various modules, whether official and unofficial to access the best performance of Apache.

NGINX, on the other hand, is more modernized as it’s establishment was more recent. It’s designed in a way that it can serve a larger number of connections at a time. NGINX was established in 2004 and in just well over a decade, it has become a strong competition to Apache, which has been around for almost 25 years now.

Now let’s compare Apache in terms of Functionality, Security, and Flexibility

Functionality

Apache has been around for longer and is still considered as a top choice by many paramount web developers. The best thing about Apache is that it performs brilliantly under any Operating System the user is comfortable with.

In terms of speed, it’s behind NGINX as NGINX is proven to be 3 times faster than Apache according to several tests run over time. When Apache serves over a hundred connections at the same time, it is prone to suck up more storage than NGINX does.

Despite Apache being older and effective, NGINX is, without a shadow of any doubt, more superior in terms of performance and speed. It was developed as a solution to serve up to 10,000 connections simultaneously, which before the commencement of NGINX, none of the other web server technologies couldn’t do.

Security

Security is something that cannot be compromised, especially in this area of expertise. Thankfully, both the developers of Apache as well as NGINX have maintained excellent standards of security and both companies understand how important it is to provide the utmost peace of mind to every user on their servers.

The security runs on the C-base codes and since Apache is older and thus, a more experienced contender, it doesn’t have a bigger code base as compared to NGINX. Apache also handles attacks such as DDoS with much more professionalism than NGINX.

I think it’s obvious, Apache takes the cake in terms of security.

Flexibility

Unlike NGINX which uses an event-driven technique to manage client requests, Apache leans more toward a multi-threaded approach. NGINX’s method of processing more clients is efficient.

Apache uses dynamic content, which means that it dynamically loads and unloads modules. NGINX isn’t as flexible in terms of modules. Although, NGINX is fully capable of being deployed as an individual web server just as Apache can.

Final verdict

As the article suggests, both Apache and NGINX are superior web servers. The right choice rests upon your website requirements. If you’re looking for a web server that can serve thousands of connections simultaneously without so much as a lag, then NGINX is the preferred option. It’s faster than Apache and handles more users at a time.

If, however, you aren’t at all bothered by the speed and connection levels, then Apache will be perfect for your website since it’s more secure and flexible.

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