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 ran a simple test against Nginx v0.5.22 and Apache v2.2.8 using ab (Apache's benchmarking tool). During the tests, I monitored the system with vmstat and top. The results indicate that Nginx outperforms Apache when serving static content. Both servers performed best with a concurrency of 100. Apache used four worker processes (threaded mode), 30% CPU and 17MB of memory to serve 6,500 requests per second. Nginx used one worker, 15% CPU and 1MB of memory to serve 11,500 requests per second.
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