What is nginx and reverse proxy?

Nginx (“engine x”) has become a buzzword in the web hosting community and especially with the webmasters who has Virtual Private Server (VPS) or Dedicated Servers. The main reason being that many servers of such nature uses the LAMP stack implementation which is a bundle of Linux (operating system), Apache HTTP Server, MySQL (database software) and PHP which can consume a lot of resources because of its traditional implementation and rapidly growing usage of internet, web crawlers, etc.

In order to overcome this we can use a reverse proxy server that retrieves resources from the server on behalf of the clients by efficiently deciding if the requests should be processed using a powerful software such as Apache/MySQL or can be served directly by looking at the request itself. As a matter of fact static files such as images, CSS, JavaScripts or even the html can be served directly by the reverse proxy working side by side along with Apache without stressing much on the server.

These are some of the highlighted features of nginx;

  • Ability to work with HTTP and HTTPS (TLS/SSL/SNI).
  • Ultra-fast web server for static and dynamic content.
  • High concurrency HTTP proxy with load balancing and caching.
  • FastCGI, WSGI, SCGI, Memcached/NoSQL.
  • Connection and request throttling.
  • Comprehensive access control.
  • Compression and content filters.
  • Custom logging.
  • Embedded scripting.
  • Managing Virtual hosts.
  • HTTP media streaming.
  • Mail proxy for SMTP/IMAP/POP3 with TLS.
  • Simple, logical, scalable configuration.
  • Runs on Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX and Windows.

Stay tuned for more articles on the nginx implementation.

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