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Nginx is particularly good at hosting static content. Here is a test that was run sending 100b of static data to Nginx running on an ASUS U30JC laptop. The above graph also shows Nginx's ability to handle concurrency. Nginx's performance stayed quite steady even as the concurrent connections increased, which makes it a good option for people looking to run a larger site and are serving primarily static content. See More
Nginx offers a pretty lightweight server. The minimum recommended hardware is a 2 core CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 500GB HDD. With that you can expect a server to handle 90,000 requests per second and a 9Gbps throughput. You can read more about the technical specs of Nginx here. See More
Nginx was tested to handle a max of 261,033 concurrent connections per second (CPS) using 32 cores. The test itself was done on a machine with 2x Intel Xeon E5 v3 @ 2.3GHz (CPU), 2x Intel XL710 40 GbE QSFP+ (Network), and 16GB of RAM, running on Ubuntu Linux 14.04.1. You can see more details about the test here. See More
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Since Apache doesn't handle a large number of concurrent connections like Nginx does, it's better suited for smaller projects. Apache's .htaccess file (which overrides system-wide settings on a per directory basis) makes it a great option for a shared hosting configuration as well. See More
Apache has been around for a very long time and currently 46.2% of the web uses it. Because of its maturity, you can hop onto any old forum and generally expect your question to be answered. Notably, sites like Wikia, Paypal, Senate.gov, and Forbes all use Apache. See More
Apache comes packed with a bundle of modules that provide differing functionality. Some notable ones are mod_lua, which provides lua hooks into portions of the httpd request, and mod_ssl, which provides strong cryptography using the SSL and TLS protocols. You can see a full list of modules here. See More
Apache is configurable in three modes: Process model, worker model, or event model. Process is the original "pre-fork" method. It's good for smaller sites, but has trouble with concurrent connections and may even deny requests at higher load. Worker creates a single control process that generates child processes, which in turn create a fixed number of threads which listen for connections and pass them back up the chain. It scales better than the Process model, but large sites can still see bottlenecks. The Event model is similar to the Worker model, except instead of creating child processes with listening threads, it creates one listening thread which passes requests to a worker thread. The Event model handles long running connections the best and is the default configuration for Apache. See More
Kestrel is fairly new and doesn't yet have the full suite of security features that you might find in a more mature server. It's recommended to run IIS, Nginx, or Apache in front of it set as a reverse proxy to handle incoming connections. The connections are then passed off to Kestrel after preliminary handling. Because of Kestrels young age, it doesn't have a full defense against attacks which includes, but isn't limited to, appropriate timeouts, size limits, and concurrent connection limits. See More
Kestrel was built to be fast, so the developers had to cut out some of the higher tier features. Kestrel was designed to push requests and that's it, so if you want additional features it's recommended to run a full-fledged web server in front of it. You can see a full feature list in the specs section of this recommendation. See More