UPDATED
Apr 4, 2024

Cowboy vs NGINX

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

Cowboy

669
72
+ 1
19
NGINX

112.7K
60.4K
+ 1
5.5K

Apache HTTP Server vs Cowboy vs nginx: What are the differences?

  1. Architecture: Apache HTTP Server uses a multi-process, multi-threaded architecture, allowing it to handle a high volume of requests efficiently. Cowboy, on the other hand, uses a single-threaded, event-driven architecture which makes it highly efficient for handling a large number of concurrent connections. Nginx also follows an event-driven architecture, but it is known for its lightweight and efficient handling of static content.

  2. Configuration: Apache HTTP Server has a complex configuration syntax which can be challenging for beginners, but it offers a wide range of configuration options for customization. Cowboy has a simpler configuration compared to Apache, making it easier to set up and manage. Nginx also has a straightforward configuration syntax that is easy to understand and work with.

  3. Performance: When it comes to performance, Cowboy and Nginx are known for their high performance and low resource consumption, making them ideal choices for handling a large number of concurrent requests. Apache HTTP Server, while still a powerful web server, may not be as efficient in handling high traffic loads compared to Cowboy and Nginx due to its multi-process architecture.

  4. Modules: Apache HTTP Server has a vast collection of modules that extend its functionality, allowing users to customize their server for different purposes. Cowboy and Nginx, on the other hand, have a more limited selection of modules, but they are designed to be lightweight and efficient out of the box without the need for extensive customization.

  5. Supported Languages: Apache HTTP Server supports a wide range of programming languages and technologies, making it a versatile choice for hosting dynamic websites. Cowboy and Nginx are more focused on supporting specific programming languages and frameworks, such as Erlang for Cowboy and Nginx for Nginx, making them suitable for specific use cases.

  6. Community Support: Apache HTTP Server has a large and active community of developers and users who contribute to its development and provide support through forums and online resources. Cowboy and Nginx also have strong communities, but they may not be as extensive as the Apache community, which can affect the availability of resources and support.

In Summary, Apache HTTP Server, Cowboy, and Nginx differ in their architecture, configuration, performance, modules, supported languages, and community support, making each suitable for different web hosting needs.

Advice on Cowboy and NGINX

I am diving into web development, both front and back end. I feel comfortable with administration, scripting and moderate coding in bash, Python and C++, but I am also a Windows fan (i love inner conflict). What are the votes on web servers? IIS is expensive and restrictive (has Windows adoption of open source changed this?) Apache has the history but seems to be at the root of most of my Infosec issues, and I know nothing about nginx (is it too new to rely on?). And no, I don't know what I want to do on the web explicitly, but hosting and data storage (both cloud and tape) are possibilities. Ready, aim fire!

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Replies (1)
Simon Aronsson
Developer Advocate at k6 / Load Impact · | 4 upvotes · 692.8K views
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I would pick nginx over both IIS and Apace HTTP Server any day. Combine it with docker, and as you grow maybe even traefik, and you'll have a really flexible solution for serving http content where you can take sites and projects up and down without effort, easily move it between systems and dont have to handle any dependencies on your actual local machine.

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Needs advice
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server
and
NGINXNGINX

From a StackShare Community member: "We are a LAMP shop currently focused on improving web performance for our customers. We have made many front-end optimizations and now we are considering replacing Apache with nginx. I was wondering if others saw a noticeable performance gain or any other benefits by switching."

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Replies (3)
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I use nginx because it is very light weight. Where Apache tries to include everything in the web server, nginx opts to have external programs/facilities take care of that so the web server can focus on efficiently serving web pages. While this can seem inefficient, it limits the number of new bugs found in the web server, which is the element that faces the client most directly.

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Leandro Barral
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I use nginx because its more flexible and easy to configure

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Christian Cwienk
Software Developer at SAP · | 1 upvotes · 660.2K views
Recommends
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

I use Apache HTTP Server because it's intuitive, comprehensive, well-documented, and just works

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Decisions about Cowboy and NGINX
Daniel Calvo
Co-Founder at Polpo Data Analytics & Software Development · | 8 upvotes · 256.2K views

For us, NGINX is a lite HTTP server easy to configure. On our research, we found a well-documented software we a lot of support from the community.

We have been using it alongside tools like certbot and it has been a total success.

We can easily configure our sites and have a folder for available vs enabled sites, and with the nginx -t command we can easily check everything is running fine.

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Grant Steuart
  • Server rendered HTML output from PHP is being migrated to the client as Vue.js components, future plans to provide additional content, and other new miscellaneous features all result in a substantial increase of static files needing to be served from the server. NGINX has better performance than Apache for serving static content.
  • The change to NGINX will require switching from PHP to PHP-FPM resulting in a distributed architecture with a higher complexity configuration, but this is outweighed by PHP-FPM being faster than PHP for processing requests.
  • The NGINX + PHP-FPM setup now allows for horizontally scaling of resources rather vertically scaling the previously combined Apache + PHP resources.
  • PHP shell tasks can now efficiently be decoupled from the application reducing main application footprint and allow for scaling of tasks on an individual basis.
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I was in a situation where I have to configure 40 RHEL servers 20 each for Apache HTTP Server and Tomcat server. My task was to 1. configure LVM with required logical volumes, format and mount for HTTP and Tomcat servers accordingly. 2. Install apache and tomcat. 3. Generate and apply selfsigned certs to http server. 4. Modify default ports on Tomcat to different ports. 5. Create users on RHEL for application support team. 6. other administrative tasks like, start, stop and restart HTTP and Tomcat services.

I have utilized the power of ansible for all these tasks, which made it easy and manageable.

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Pros of Cowboy
Pros of NGINX
  • 8
    Websockets integration
  • 6
    Cool name
  • 3
    Good to use with Erlang
  • 2
    Anime mascot
  • 1.4K
    High-performance http server
  • 893
    Performance
  • 730
    Easy to configure
  • 607
    Open source
  • 530
    Load balancer
  • 289
    Free
  • 288
    Scalability
  • 226
    Web server
  • 175
    Simplicity
  • 136
    Easy setup
  • 30
    Content caching
  • 21
    Web Accelerator
  • 15
    Capability
  • 14
    Fast
  • 12
    High-latency
  • 12
    Predictability
  • 8
    Reverse Proxy
  • 7
    The best of them
  • 7
    Supports http/2
  • 5
    Great Community
  • 5
    Lots of Modules
  • 5
    Enterprise version
  • 4
    High perfomance proxy server
  • 3
    Embedded Lua scripting
  • 3
    Streaming media delivery
  • 3
    Streaming media
  • 3
    Reversy Proxy
  • 2
    Blash
  • 2
    GRPC-Web
  • 2
    Lightweight
  • 2
    Fast and easy to set up
  • 2
    Slim
  • 2
    saltstack
  • 1
    Virtual hosting
  • 1
    Narrow focus. Easy to configure. Fast
  • 1
    Along with Redis Cache its the Most superior
  • 1
    Ingress controller
Cons of Cowboy
Cons of NGINX
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 10
      Advanced features require subscription

    What is Cowboy?

    Cowboy aims to provide a complete HTTP stack in a small code base. It is optimized for low latency and low memory usage, in part because it uses binary strings. Cowboy provides routing capabilities, selectively dispatching requests to handlers written in Erlang.

    What is NGINX?

    nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 30.46% of the top million busiest sites in Jan 2018.

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    What companies use Cowboy?
    What companies use NGINX?

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    What tools integrate with Cowboy?
    What tools integrate with NGINX?
      No integrations found

      Blog Posts

      What are some alternatives to Cowboy and NGINX?
      Apache Tomcat
      Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.
      JBoss
      An application platform for hosting your apps that provides an innovative modular, cloud-ready architecture, powerful management and automation, and world class developer productivity.
      Jetty
      Jetty is used in a wide variety of projects and products, both in development and production. Jetty can be easily embedded in devices, tools, frameworks, application servers, and clusters. See the Jetty Powered page for more uses of Jetty.
      XAMPP
      It consists mainly of the Apache HTTP Server, MariaDB database, and interpreters for scripts written in the PHP and Perl programming languages.
      JavaScript
      JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.