What Is an Nginx Server?


When multiple clients connect to a single server, there are two problems. The first relates to the processing speed of server requests. The second entails how to schedule requests efficiently. One focuses on completing work quickly, the other on the division of labor.

Not all servers have efficient processes in place for the second aspect of these performance issues. But one company that does is Nginx.

Nginx: A Unique Niche

Nginx is a web server widely used for its efficiency among the top online companies. Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Facebook all use Nginx within their web processing. Many of our top recommended web hosts in Australia, hosting providers for Canada, hosting services of Malaysia, web hosts of UK, and web hosting for Singapore use Nginx servers.

Created by Igor Sysoev in 2004 to address problems related to network efficiency, Nginx continually increased in popularity compared to other webserver developers.

Pronounced “engine-ex,” its original purpose was to streamline web-based performance. 

Nginx focuses on the division of labor in server performance. To ensure low memory usage, it handles all web requests made to the server in a single thread. This approach avoids the creation of new processes every time it receives a request.

For these reasons, Nginx outperforms many other servers when dealing with a series of concurrent requests. Many of the world’s leading companies rely on Nginx, and they do so for various purposes.

How Does Nginx Function?

Nginx’s first and primary use lies in its functions as a web server. It manages how a client accesses files stored on the server as requested through the World Wide Web. Beyond this, however, the program has expanded its use to three other areas:

  • Reverse Proxy: A reverse proxy server acts as a go-between between a client and one or more servers. The process allows the proxy to act on behalf of servers to allow contact initiated by any client. The opposite of this, a forward proxy, acts for clients, allowing them to contact any server.
  • HTTP Cache: This feature simplifies the accessing of information from servers. When a client accesses resources from a server, there may be information that does not need downloading every time. Instead, downloading it once and storing it for future use is more efficient. It reduces the amount of data retrieved when revisiting a website or platform.
  • Load Balancing: When a process receives a series of tasks to complete, load balancing shares those tasks efficiently across resources. This balancing streamlines tasks to ensure nothing remains idle.

Nginx Going Forward

Nginx has risen in popularity, outperforming other web server providers like Microsoft and Apache. While it is not the most prevalent among all websites, it is the most popular among websites with high-traffic. This niche positioning is not surprising, given its benefits in processing a large number of requests. Right here is the reason why we recommend web hosts such as SiteGround, Kinsta, & A2 Hosting.

To check whether a website runs Nginx or another web server developer like Apache, you need to consult the HTTP header. However, it may be challenging to determine if a website is running on a proxy server. If it were, the HTTP header would show another server instead of Nginx.

Ultimately, with the newest version, Nginx 1.19, released in May 2020, it seems likely to continue being the server of choice among developers. Since websites as mammoth as WordPress, NASA, and Netflix use Nginx in their web processes, it remains vital to understand the basics of how it works and why these websites rely on it.