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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is NGINX?
3.
How does NGINX work?
3.1.
Features provided by NGINX
4.
FAQs
5.
Key Takeaways
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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NGINX Introduction

Author Parth
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Ashwin Goyal
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Introduction

While browsing a website while using a browser, the browser tries to contact the website's server to get website information in return. Similarly, when we have to post information to the website, the server receives the given information. These servers are computers programmed to send or receive web pages and are also known as Web Servers.
NGINX is a free and open-source web server software capable of handling multiple webpage requests.NGINX was initially designed to solve the C10K problem, making it difficult for a webserver to take more than 10K (Ten Thousand) requests. With its asynchronous architecture and event-driven approach, NGINX made it easy to handle more than thousands of requests at the same time and made the client-server wait time significantly less.
Ain’t NGINX seems interesting? Let’s start with an introduction to NGINX in this blog.

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What is NGINX?

NGINX is pronounced as Engine-Ex and as discussed above, it is a lightweight, free and open-source web server software that can be used to serve static files to the browser.
Created by Igor Sysoev in 2004, NGINX is considered a popular web server behind the Apache web server.
In its early release, NGINX functioned only for HTTP web serving. However, it can also serve as a reverse proxy server for HTTP and HTTPS protocols. It is also used for the HTTP load balancer and email proxy for IMAP and SMTP.NGINX improves content and application delivery, enhances security, and facilitates scalability and availability for the most active websites on the internet. We can say that NGINX is software used in web servers to serve concurrent requests. Some high-profile companies that use NGINX are Adobe, Google, Cisco, Twitter, GitLab, DuckDuckGo, T-Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, and many more.

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How does NGINX work?

Before we discuss the working of NGINX, let us take a look at how a web server works. When we request to access a webpage in our browser, the browser communicates with the server. Then the server fetches the requested files for the site and sends them to the browser. However, this process involves a single-thread approach. Traditionally, web servers like Apache create a single thread for every request meaning they have multi-threading facilities as a new thread is created to handle an individual request. But Nginx does not function that way as it performs with an asynchronous, event-driven architecture. 
Nginx uses a Master-Slave architecture. In a master-slave architecture, we have a master responsible for routing a request to any of the workers under it by distributing the load throughout the server. Then the Proxy cache is looked for a quick response. In case of failure, the webpage is loaded directly from memory.
Simply put, NGINX divides its job into the worker process and worker connections. The worker connections are required to manage the requests made and the responses obtained by users over the internet. These requests are passed to the parent process at this exact time, called the worker process.
Consider the diagram below to understand the flow of Master-Slave Architecture. 

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Features provided by NGINX

  • NGINX provides HTTP server abilities.
  • NGINX is developed to provide more stability than Apache and maximum performance.
  • NGINX behaves as a proxy server for email.
  • NGINX uses an event-driven approach and a single-threaded architecture to provide more performance even on a low-end computer.
  • NGINX provides more scalability.
  • NGINX dramatically reduces wait time for a client.
  • NGINX-based websites can be upgraded without any downtime.
  • NGINX supports reverse proxy with caching
  • NGINX supports IPV6 and Load Balancing
     

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FAQs

  1. What is NGINX Web Server?
    NGINX is an open-source web serving, media streaming, and reverse proxying software that started as a web server for maximum stability and performance
     
  2. Why is NGINX so popular?
    NGINX is a lightweight web server software that can handle thousands of requests even with a low-end computer. Its single-threaded high-performance functionality made it famous.
     
  3. Can NGINX process dynamic content within the server?
    No, Currently, NGINX cannot process dynamic content within the server.
     
  4. Why is NGINX faster than Apache?
    Apache consumes more memory as compared to NGINX. Also, as Apache uses multiple threads, they further decrease its processing speed.
     
  5. Who created NGINX?
    A Russian systems administrator named Igor Sysoev developed NGINX in the year 2004.

Key Takeaways

In this article, we learned about NGINX Web Server and its advantages over other web servers. We also discussed the architecture of NGINX with the help of a diagram. However, this isn't enough, as there is always much more to explore and learn about this vast field of Web Development. To know more about NGINXand its intricacies, check out the articles on NGINX or enroll in our highly curated Web Development course.   

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