Comparison, Servers

Apache Vs NGINX (EngineX) – detailed comparison with market share 2020

Written by Anup Kumar
Posted on - 5 min read

NGINX is increasing their market share day by day with massive growth and cutting down Apache, Microsoft and other players in this field.

So, today we are going to compare these two big players – Apache Vs NGINX at the following 7 points:

  1. Market Share
  2. Performance (Static vs Dynamic Content)
  3. Operating System Support
  4. Security
  5. Flexibility
  6. Documentation
  7. Support

1. Market Share – Apache vs NGINX

Let’s understand their market share as per the last survey between June 2009 to March 2020 by Netcraft.

market servey graph to two big server players, apache vs NGINX (engineX) between 2007 to march 2020 by NexGen Innovators Blog
Graph & Data taken from netcraft.com

If you see from June 2009 – NGINX was at 0% and right now it is equal to Apache. Such massive success in just 10 years. So there is something you must know about the comparison between Apache vs NGINX.

2. Performance (Static vs Dynamic Content) – Apache vs NGINX

The server helps users (client) to serve content – broadly it can be either static or dynamic.

2.1 Static Content

Static content is JavaScript, Images, CSS, Video, Audio files which don’t need any script to process or you can say don’t change dynamically user to user.

In a survey, NGINX was found 2.5x faster than Apache with 4% less RAM usage by NGINX.

The NGINX Server project had started on focusing to handle high traffic (high concurrency, high performance) with low Hardware usages (RAM, CPU)

To fulfil the same NGINX was powered with reverse proxy features with HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP protocols, as well as a load balancer, HTTP cache.

2.2 Dynamic Content

Here, both perform equally if configured well with their high-performance level. They found concluded that both are good enough to handle the dynamic content.

So, overall performance rating for Apache vs NGINX:

For static content – NGINX is winning the game but in Dynamic content, both perform well.

3. Operating System Support – Apache vs NGINX

While setup the server OS is the most important factor because you have to check which is the most compatible server as per your application tech stack.

Apache OS Support

  • It supports all Unix based systems
  • It fully supports Windows systems too.

NGINX OS Support

  • It supports almost (not all) Unix based systems
  • Doesn’t fully support windows platform.

So, overall OS support rating for Apache vs NGINX:

Apache is leading in OS compatibility. So, you are not restricted to choose your OS if you go with Apache.

4. Security – Apache vs NGINX

Security is the most important aspect when you talk about these two server softwares. From my point of view, both softwares are doing well in security point of view.

5. Flexibility – Apache vs NGINX

When you set up any server – you run 1 or more than 1 website so every website needs a different set of modules. So, your server must be flexible to customise or load a module dynamically as the directory level.

Apache

  • Apache comes with dynamic loading module at global/server level
  • Using .htaccess you can load a module at the directory level.

NGINX

  • You can also load a dynamic module at global/server level
  • But there is nothing like .htaccess so you don’t have the flexibility to change the configuration at the directory level.

So overall Flexibility rating for Apache vs NGINX:

Apache is leading here due to its .htaccess dynamically content loading flexibility at the directory level. But it’s only required when you use shared hosting. So, for VPS and dedicated servers – people still prefer NGINX.

6. Documentation of Apache vs NGINX

Documentation is a very important aspect to setup the server. Documentation must be easy and detailed. Both projects have very good documentation.

But NGINX is better in the documentation and leading here. Why?

  1. They have an online training platform to teach.
  2. Certification courses

Details are available at their official website – https://university.nginx.com/

7. Support of Apache vs NGINX

This is also a debatable point – When you got stuck in some problem:

  • Where you will ask help?
    There are lots of forums e.g Stackoverflow where you can ask questions – both Apache and NGINX has a good community size on these forums.
  • Size of OpenSource Community?
    Both projects have enough amount of OpenSource community size.
  • Commercial support availability?
    For Apache – Lots of companies are providing paid support like ours NexGen Innovators
    For NGINX – For Open-source, you can approach any server company like ours or you can take NGINX Plus plan – where they provide their commercial support.

So, overall support rating for Apache vs NGINX:

Both projects are doing well.

Who is winning this game? Apache vs NGINX

Frankly, both servers can’t replace each other right now. You must decide which conditions are good for you or sometimes people go with the mixed version.

 

If you are still confused and want to optimise your server budget – our server experts can help you with that. Also, please let us know about your reviews by commenting below.