UPDATED
Apr 4, 2024

NGINX vs Apache Tomcat

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NGINX

112.3K
60.1K
+ 1
5.5K
Apache Tomcat

16.4K
12.2K
+ 1
201

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

<Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, and nginx are popular web servers used for hosting websites. Each server has its own unique features and capabilities. In this comparison, we will highlight the key differences between Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, and nginx.>

1. **Architecture**: Apache HTTP Server is primarily designed for serving static content over HTTP, while Apache Tomcat is a Java Servlet Container that is used for deploying Java-based web applications. nginx, on the other hand, is known for its high-performance, asynchronous architecture, making it a popular choice for serving dynamic content efficiently.

2. **Functionality**: Apache HTTP Server is a powerful and flexible web server that can handle a wide range of web content, including static files, dynamic content, and CGI scripts. Apache Tomcat, being a Servlet Container, is specialized in executing Java-based applications, supporting Java Servlets, JavaServer Pages (JSP), and Java WebSocket. nginx excels in handling high traffic loads and efficiently serving static files, making it suitable for websites with high concurrency requirements.

3. **Configuration**: Apache HTTP Server uses a configuration file (httpd.conf) written in Apache configuration language, allowing users to customize various server settings. Apache Tomcat utilizes XML configuration files (server.xml, context.xml) for defining server and application-specific configurations. nginx employs a simple and intuitive configuration syntax that is easy to understand and implement, providing flexibility in configuring server directives.

4. **Resource Consumption**: Apache HTTP Server is known to consume more system resources compared to nginx, especially under high traffic conditions, due to its multi-threaded architecture. Apache Tomcat requires more memory allocation to run Java-based applications efficiently, making it resource-intensive compared to both Apache HTTP Server and nginx. nginx is renowned for its low memory footprint and efficient resource utilization, making it a preferable choice for optimizing server performance.

5. **SSL/TLS Support**: Apache HTTP Server provides comprehensive support for SSL/TLS encryption through modules like mod_ssl, enabling secure data transmission over HTTPS protocols. Similarly, Apache Tomcat supports SSL/TLS encryption for securing web applications using Java-based libraries like JSSE. nginx offers native support for SSL/TLS termination, allowing efficient handling of encrypted connections and enhancing server security with features like Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).

6. **Community and Ecosystem**: Apache HTTP Server has a large and active community of developers and users, providing extensive documentation, tutorials, and third-party modules to enhance server functionality. Apache Tomcat boasts a strong ecosystem of Java developers and enterprises supporting Java-based web applications, fostering collaboration and innovation in the Java community. nginx has gained popularity for its responsive community, frequent software updates, and robust support for modern web technologies, attracting a diverse user base seeking high-performance web server solutions.

In Summary, Apache HTTP Server, Apache Tomcat, and nginx differ in their architecture, functionality, configuration methods, resource consumption, SSL/TLS support, and community ecosystem, catering to diverse hosting requirements and preferences within the web server landscape.
Advice on NGINX and Apache Tomcat

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 · 667.1K 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 · 635.3K 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 NGINX and Apache Tomcat
Daniel Calvo
Co-Founder at Polpo Data Analytics & Software Development · | 8 upvotes · 236.7K 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 NGINX
Pros of Apache Tomcat
  • 1.4K
    High-performance http server
  • 893
    Performance
  • 730
    Easy to configure
  • 607
    Open source
  • 530
    Load balancer
  • 288
    Free
  • 288
    Scalability
  • 225
    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
    Reversy Proxy
  • 3
    Streaming media delivery
  • 3
    Streaming media
  • 3
    Embedded Lua scripting
  • 2
    GRPC-Web
  • 2
    Blash
  • 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
  • 79
    Easy
  • 72
    Java
  • 49
    Popular
  • 1
    Spring web
Cons of NGINX
Cons of Apache Tomcat
  • 10
    Advanced features require subscription
  • 2
    Blocking - each http request block a thread
  • 1
    Easy to set up

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.

What is Apache Tomcat?

Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.

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What companies use Apache Tomcat?

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What tools integrate with NGINX?
What tools integrate with Apache Tomcat?

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What are some alternatives to NGINX and Apache Tomcat?
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.
Git
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.