Nginx or Apache? Find out which server to choose for VPS

Nginx or Apache? Find out which server to choose for VPS

Nginx and Apache are excellent, very powerful web servers that offer advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Nginx is mostly used for static files and requires the help of php-fpm to process dynamic content, while Apache uses server memory. The two have the most common open sources globally.

Together, these servers are responsible for serving more than half of the traffic on the World Wide Web. Both solutions are capable of working with other software to provide a complete web stack and handle diverse workloads. Nginx or Apache have many qualities, but each stands out for its strengths.

Do you want to understand the differences between Nginx and Apache to know which one to choose and how they work? Keep reading!

Understand what Nginx and Apache web servers are

Nginx is a great web server that is lightweight and designed to handle high traffic. It was launched in 2004 by Igor Sysoev and achieved its goal of responding to the C10K problem by relying on an asynchronous, event-driven architecture. The challenge was to have the capacity to handle 10,000 simultaneous connections.

From this, Nginx gained popularity due to its ability to scale easily on minimal hardware and light footprint. This server is efficient in serving static content quickly by having its robust module system and proxying dynamic requests to other software. Apache is another web server.

It serves more than half of the world’s active websites, having been created in 1995 by Robert McCool. It is the original Apache Software Foundation project that became popular due to its integrated support of other projects. The solution offers power, and flexibility and is extensible through a system of dynamically loadable modules.

Understand how Nginx and Apache web servers work

Apache provides a variety of multiprocessing modules, and MPMs determine how requests are handled. Administrators configure their connection handling architecture through the mpm_prefork module that quickly spawns single-threaded processes. mpm_worker allows efficient multi-thread management and mpm_event is optimized to handle keep-alive connections.

Nginx, in turn, arrived on the market after Apache, focusing on the concurrency problems faced by websites at scale. This server was designed from the beginning to use an asynchronous, non-blocking, event-driven connection handling algorithm. Each work process can handle thousands of connections.

Nginx worker processes implement an agile looping mechanism that continuously analyzes and processes events. The solution allows each worker to worry about a connection only if a new event is triggered. Inside the loop, events are processed asynchronously, and when a connection is closed, it is removed from the loop.

Check out the differences between Nginx and Apache

It’s possible to combine these two web servers to significant effect, with Apache processing the backend and Nginx serving as the front-end static web server. Therefore, they have differences and complement each other, with the way they respond under load being what distinguishes them. See below what differentiates each of them!


Apache can run in three modes. They are hybrid event mode, hybrid process and thread mode, and process-based mode. The server has a set of optimizations to increase its throughput and scalability.

Nginx was specifically created to outperform Apache. It manages to do this in terms of the number of requests received per second, connection time, time spent processing a request, and throughput.


Nginx supports the community, with a user-operated mailing list and forum, as well as other computing resources such as the Modules Reference Guide and Admin Guide. The support offered by Apache to users is available on dedicated IRC channels, Stack Overflow, etc. Its documentation offers user guides, reference manuals, and tutorials, among others.


Nginx configuration does not support .htaccess files and is centralized. There are no directory-level settings on this server, and for this reason, users make all changes by writing directives to the main file: nginx. conf. Changes are applied after the server is reloaded.

The Apache configuration is distributed and it provides support for the .htaccess ftor to facilitate configurations. The .htaccess file is a file used to handle directory-level website access issues supported by various web servers, such as access control and URL redirection and shortening.


Nginx and Apache can be used together to create a workload-optimized server. Nginx is configured to act as a reverse proxy for Apache, which takes advantage of its competitor’s ability to handle large volumes of traffic and processing speed.

Since Nginx can communicate with a pool of servers on the backend, adding more servers and expanding can be accomplished easily. By allowing Nginx to classify and process requests that it can handle itself, Apache receives a lower volume of requests.


Both web servers are compatible. Using Nginx and Apache concurrently can also make your website more robust. Apache or Nginx do not force you to define the network port with the address, they both have built-in security features. They ensure compatibility, reverse proxy server, and load balancing.


Apache and Nginx are quite popular. Apache offers the facility of a single connection per process module and the insertion of modules at any time using its web service logic. Nginx is more complicated in its architecture, which requires more technical knowledge.


These web servers are very secure because Apache has a module that can be seen as an HTTP firewall and that supports security called mod_security. Nginx also uses security measures in its default configuration, but it is customizable to increase protection levels.


Both web servers can be customized by loading modules and are flexible. Nginx serves as a software load balancer in addition to handling content caching. Like Apache, new functionality and features can be added using software modules. Apache has always supported dynamic module loading.

Now do you know which server to choose for VPS between Nginx or Apache? These servers perform very important functions and choosing which one is best for your organization requires carrying out standard tests to evaluate your specific requirements. Use the solution that best aligns with your goals.

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