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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

Both [Apache and Nginx] are capable of serving a huge number of requests per second, but Apache's performance start decreasing as you add more concurrent connections whereas Nginx's performance almost doesn't drop!

But here comes the best bit: because Nginx is event-based it doesn't need to spawn new processes or threads for each request, so its memory usage is very low. Throughout my benchmark it just sat at 2.5MB of memory while Apache was using a lot more.

-- WebFaction


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