Server users searching for open-source software designed with performance and low memory usage in mind may want to consider Nginx. Developed by a Moscow-based team, the software acts as a web server and reverse proxy server for HTTP, SMTP, POP3 and IMAP protocols and is in use at many popular websites, as well as blogging platform WordPress and internet video streaming service Netflix, which utilises Nginx due to its “proven scalability and performance”.
It is designed to deliver dynamic HTTP content over a network and differs from competitors such as the Apache HTTP server by handling requests in an asynchronous manner, making it more stable under high loads and ensuring memory is used as efficiently as possible. Among the key features are its ability to handle over 10,000 simultaneous connections while maintaining a low memory footprint, support for IPv6, the ability to stream FLV and MP4 video formats, IP-based geolocation and bandwidth throttling capabilities.
Data from Netcraft highlights the extent to which Nginx is in use around the world, with the firm’s August 2012 Web Server Survey showing it is the third most widely used web server across all domains, being used by 11.53% of the 628,170,204 million sites surveyed. This was a 0.44% increase on data from July 2012, but it was still some way behind Apache, which was used by over half (59.39%) of the sites that responded to Netcraft’s request for data.
Furthermore, it held the second largest market share for active sites across all domains with 12.31% of the market. It was again behind Apache, which held 54.96%, but ahead of Microsoft and Google.
Nginx has been tested on a wide array of operating systems, ranging from platforms such as Windows XP and Mac OS X to Linux builds and FreeBSD, so compatibility should not be an issue for firms that decide to use it to meet their HTTP server needs.