Nginx (pronounced “engine X”) is a popular open-source web server that is known for its speed and scalability. Originally developed to solve the C10k problem (handling 10,000 concurrent connections), Nginx has become one of the most popular web servers in the world, powering over 30% of the top 10,000 busiest websites.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Nginx, its architecture, features, and use cases.
Nginx is a lightweight, event-driven web server that uses an asynchronous, non-blocking I/O model. This means that it can handle large numbers of concurrent connections without using too much system resources. Unlike traditional web servers, which use a process-per-connection model, Nginx uses a single master process and multiple worker processes.
The master process is responsible for managing the worker processes and handling signals. It also listens for incoming connections and passes them on to the worker processes. The worker processes, in turn, handle the actual processing of the requests.
Nginx also supports a modular architecture, which means that it can be extended with third-party modules that provide additional functionality. Some of the most popular modules include the HTTP SSL module (for handling secure connections), the HTTP gzip module (for compressing responses), and the HTTP rewrite module (for URL rewriting).
Features of Nginx
Nginx is known for its speed and scalability. It also has a number of other features that make it a popular choice for web developers and administrators:
- Reverse proxy: Nginx can act as a reverse proxy. It means that it can sit in front of one or more web servers and distribute incoming requests to them. This can help improve the performance and reliability of web applications.
- Load balancing: Nginx can also act as a load balancer. Distributs incoming requests across multiple servers to ensure that no single server becomes overloaded.
- Caching: Nginx has built-in support for caching, which can help reduce server load and improve response times.
- SSL termination: Nginx can terminate SSL connections. It means that it can handle the decryption of SSL traffic and pass on unencrypted traffic to the web server.
- HTTP/2 support: Nginx supports the HTTP/2 protocol, which is the latest version of the HTTP protocol and offers improved performance and security.
- Security: Nginx has a number of built-in security features, such as rate limiting and access control, that can help protect web applications from attacks.
Nginx is a versatile web server that can be used in a variety of different scenarios. Some of the most common use cases include:
- Load balancing: It can be used to distribute incoming traffic across multiple web servers, helping to ensure that no single server becomes overloaded.
- Reverse proxy: It can act as a reverse proxy, sitting in front of one or more web servers and distributing incoming requests to them. This can help improve the performance and reliability of web applications.
- SSL termination: It can terminate SSL connections, handling the decryption of SSL traffic and passing on unencrypted traffic to the web server.
- API gateway: It can be used as an API gateway, routing incoming requests to the appropriate microservice and handling authentication and authorization.
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