Caddy vs NGINX Unit vs OpenResty

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Caddy vs NGINX Unit vs OpenResty: What are the differences?


Caddy, NGINX Unit, and OpenResty are popular web servers used for hosting websites and applications. Each of these servers has its unique features and differences. In this discussion, we will explore the key dissimilarities between Caddy, NGINX Unit, and OpenResty.

  1. Designed Approach: Caddy is known for its simplicity and ease of use, providing automatic HTTPS configuration and a Caddyfile for configuration. NGINX Unit, on the other hand, focuses on dynamic configuration changes without restarting the server, making it a versatile choice for microservices. OpenResty, built on NGINX, is specialized for Lua programming, offering powerful scripting capabilities.

  2. Scalability and Performance: NGINX Unit is designed for high-performance applications with its multi-process architecture and support for multiple languages like PHP, Python, and Go, making it a great choice for scalability. OpenResty, being a full-fledged web platform, provides high performance due to its event-driven architecture and powerful Lua scripting capabilities.

  3. Community Support: Caddy has a smaller but active community that focuses on user-friendly features and ease of configuration. NGINX Unit benefits from the vast NGINX community, providing extensive resources and plugins for various use cases. OpenResty has a strong Lua community, offering support and resources for Lua scripting within the web server environment.

  4. Extensions and Plugins: Caddy offers a plugin ecosystem that allows users to extend functionality easily with minimal configuration. NGINX Unit provides modules for adding specific features or functionalities to the server, giving users more control over customization. OpenResty, with its Lua scripting support, allows users to create custom modules and extensions tailored to their specific needs.

  5. Security Features: Caddy emphasizes security by including automated HTTPS configuration by default, making it a secure choice for websites. NGINX Unit focuses on application isolation and security by providing sandboxing for applications running in different languages. OpenResty, built on NGINX's secure foundation, enhances security through Lua scripting capabilities for fine-grained control over server operations.

  6. Usage and Adoption: Caddy is popular among users looking for a simple and straightforward web server solution, particularly for personal websites and small to medium-sized applications. NGINX Unit is preferred for large-scale applications and microservices architecture due to its dynamic configuration capabilities. OpenResty is commonly used for applications requiring custom scripting and high-performance web serving, especially in scenarios where Lua scripting is necessary.

In Summary, Caddy, NGINX Unit, and OpenResty each have distinct advantages and use cases, ranging from simplicity and ease of use with Caddy to scalability and customization with NGINX Unit and OpenResty.

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Pros of Caddy
Pros of NGINX Unit
Pros of OpenResty
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    Easy HTTP/2 Server Push
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    Sane config file syntax
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    Builtin HTTPS
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    Letsencrypt support
  • 2
    Runtime config API
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  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
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    Cons of Caddy
    Cons of NGINX Unit
    Cons of OpenResty
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      New kid
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        - No public GitHub repository available -

        What is Caddy?

        Caddy 2 is a powerful, enterprise-ready, open source web server with automatic HTTPS written in Go.

        What is NGINX Unit?

        NGINX Unit is a dynamic web application server, designed to run applications in multiple languages. Unit is lightweight, polyglot, and dynamically configured via API. The design of the server allows reconfiguration of specific application parameters as needed by the engineering or operations.

        What is OpenResty?

        OpenResty (aka. ngx_openresty) is a full-fledged web application server by bundling the standard Nginx core, lots of 3rd-party Nginx modules, as well as most of their external dependencies.

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        What are some alternatives to Caddy, NGINX Unit, and OpenResty?
        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.
        A modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes deploying microservices easy. Traefik integrates with your existing infrastructure components and configures itself automatically and dynamically.
        HAProxy (High Availability Proxy) is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications.
        Originally built at Lyft, Envoy is a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for single services and applications, as well as a communication bus and “universal data plane” designed for large microservice “service mesh” architectures.
        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.
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