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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

I currently have Nginx doing reverse proxy of over tens of millions of HTTP requests per day (thats a few hundred per second) on a single server. At peak load it uses about 15MB RAM and 10% CPU on my particular configuration (FreeBSD 6).

Under the same kind of load, Apache falls over (after using 1000 or so processes and god knows how much RAM), Pound falls over (too many threads, and using 400MB+ of RAM for all the thread stacks), and Lighty leaks more than 20MB per hour (and uses more CPU, but not significantly more).

-- Bob Ippolito in the TurboGears mailing list, 2006-08-24


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