Nginx (pronounced engine-x) is a free, open-source, high-performance HTTP server and reverse proxy, as well as an IMAP/POP3 proxy server. Igor Sysoev started development of Nginx in 2002, with the first public release in 2004. Nginx now hosts nearly 12.18% (22.2M) of active sites across all domains. Nginx is known for its high performance, stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption.
Nginx is one of a handful of servers written to address the C10K problem. Unlike traditional servers, Nginx doesn't rely on threads to handle requests. Instead it uses a much more scalable event-driven (asynchronous) architecture. This architecture uses small, but more importantly, predictable amounts of memory under load.
Even if you don't expect to handle thousands of simultaneous requests, you can still benefit from Nginx's high-performance and small memory footprint. Nginx scales in all directions: from the smallest VPS all the way up to clusters of servers.
Nginx powers several high-visibility sites, such as Netflix, Hulu, Pinterest, CloudFlare, Airbnb, WordPress.com, GitHub, SoundCloud, Zynga, Eventbrite, Zappos, Media Temple, Heroku, RightScale, Engine Yard and MaxCDN
My advice to anyone running a web site today who is hitting performance constraints is to investigate whether they can use NGINX. CloudFlare has been able to scale over the last year to handle more than 15 billion monthly page views with a relatively modest infrastructure, in large part because of the scalability of NGINX. Our experience shows that switching to NGINX enables full utilization of the modern operating system and existing hardware resources.
-- Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of CloudFlare
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