Nginx vs Apache

Nginx vs Apache

Nginx and Apache are both widely used open-source web servers designed to serve web pages and applications. Let's take a closer look at the differences between the two:


  • Apache: First released in 1995, Apache quickly gained popularity due to its flexibility and support for .htaccess configuration files.

  • Nginx: Introduced in 2004, Nginx aimed to overcome Apache's performance limitations by focusing on being lightweight, fast, and efficient.


When comparing Apache and Nginx, their fundamental difference lies in their design architecture, which dictates how they handle connections, traffic, and respond to various traffic conditions.


  • Apache employs a process-driven approach, which means it creates a new thread for each incoming request.

  • It offers a variety of processing modules with different algorithms for handling requests, providing flexibility in choosing the right approach for different server needs.

  • However, this architecture can lead to resource-intensive operations, potentially causing performance issues such as slow speed.


  • On the other hand, Nginx adopts an event-driven approach, dealing with requests asynchronously within one processing thread.

  • It utilizes a non-blocking event-driven connection handling algorithm, allowing it to efficiently manage thousands of connections simultaneously.

  • This event-driven architecture makes Nginx fast and resource-efficient, suitable for low-power systems and handling heavy loads with ease.


  • Nginx uses an asynchronous event-driven architecture, making it highly scalable and resource-efficient. It can handle a larger number of requests using fewer system resources.

  • Nginx is particularly adept at serving static files, outperforming Apache in many benchmarks in this area.

  • Apache's multi-processing architecture consumes more resources, though it has improved over time, Nginx still maintains a performance advantage.


  • Apache utilizes .htaccess files for directory-level configuration, providing flexibility for individual directories. However, this can impact performance due to the need for file checks on each request.

      <VirtualHost *:80>
          ScriptAlias /myscript /var/www/html/myscript.php
          # Other configurations for the site...
  • Nginx uses a centralized configuration with server blocks and location blocks, resulting in better performance and a more streamlined configuration process.

      server {
        listen       80; 
        location / {
          root   /var/www/;
          index  index.html index.htm;


  • Nginx comes with built-in caching capabilities that are easy to configure and perform well.

  • Apache relies on external caching solutions such as Varnish to achieve similar caching performance.


  • Apache boasts a robust module system, allowing for easy installation and enabling/disabling of modules after installation, providing great flexibility.

  • Nginx modules must be enabled during compilation, making the module system less flexible but potentially more secure.

In summary, Nginx is often a preferred choice for performance-critical applications due to its efficient and scalable architecture, especially excelling at serving static files. On the other hand, Apache remains popular for its flexibility and extensive module system, making it suitable for a wide range of use cases.