March 4, 2021

What is NGINX? A basic Overview of What It Is And How It Works


NGINX, pronounced like " engine-ex" is an open-source web server that, since its success as a web server, is also now used as a reverse proxy, HTTP cache, and load balancer.

The web server was originally created by Igor Sysoev, with its first public release in October 2004. The software was initially created to answer the C10k problem, which was performance issues over handling 10,000 concurrent connections.

NGINX's roots are in performance optimization during scaling, it outperforms its other predecessors such as the Apache webserver in benchmarking.

How Does NGINX Work?

We're going to discuss the internal process for the NGINXs work process. NGINX uses a process model that is fine-turned to the available hardware resources. 

  • The master process performs privileged operations such as reading configuration and binding to the ports and then creates a small number of child processes. 
  • The cache loader process runs at initial load to the disk-based cached into memory and then closes. It is scheduled intermittently, so the resources are " less demanding" . 
  • The cache manager processes essentially do all of the work! They take the network connections and proceed to read/write content to the disk, and communicate with upstream servers.

The NGINX configuration recommends, one running worker process per CPU core, as this will make the most of efficiency with the available resources. 

Nginx vs Apache Usage Stats

Apache is another popular open-source web server. In terms of raw numbers, Apache is still one of the most popular web servers in existence (More-so down to being the first web server/and gaining attraction since its release) and uses %43.6 of all websites.

Netcraft carried out a survey across 200+ million domains and found Apache usage at 31.54% and Nginx usage at 26.20%



- Web Server developers: market share of domains (image source: Netcraft

Even though Apache is still popular overall, NGINX is the most preferred for web servers for sites that bring in high traffic

I hope this short insight into NGINX has helped you under how NGINX works and what it is. Even though all of Snappy Host's plans come with LiteSpeed, we still rate NGINX as a top contender and may introduce this in future plans.