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Gunicorn vs Unicorn: What are the differences?

Developers describe Gunicorn as "A Python WSGI HTTP Server for UNIX". Gunicorn is a pre-fork worker model ported from Ruby's Unicorn project. The Gunicorn server is broadly compatible with various web frameworks, simply implemented, light on server resources, and fairly speedy. On the other hand, Unicorn is detailed as "Rack HTTP server for fast clients and Unix". Unicorn is an HTTP server for Rack applications designed to only serve fast clients on low-latency, high-bandwidth connections and take advantage of features in Unix/Unix-like kernels. Slow clients should only be served by placing a reverse proxy capable of fully buffering both the the request and response in between Unicorn and slow clients.

Gunicorn and Unicorn can be primarily classified as "Web Servers" tools.

"Python" is the primary reason why developers consider Gunicorn over the competitors, whereas "Fast" was stated as the key factor in picking Unicorn.

Gunicorn and Unicorn are both open source tools. Gunicorn with 5.91K GitHub stars and 1.12K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Unicorn with 1.35K GitHub stars and 248 GitHub forks.

reddit, hike, and OpenLabel are some of the popular companies that use Gunicorn, whereas Unicorn is used by Instacart, Shopify, and New Relic. Gunicorn has a broader approval, being mentioned in 184 company stacks & 50 developers stacks; compared to Unicorn, which is listed in 176 company stacks and 55 developer stacks.

Advice on Gunicorn and Unicorn
Mark Ndungu
Software Developer at Nouveta · | 4 upvotes · 23.1K views
Needs advice

I have an integration service that pulls data from third party systems saves it and returns it to the user of the service. We can pull large data sets with the service and response JSON can go up to 5MB with gzip compression. I currently use Rails 6 and Ruby 2.7.2 and Puma web server. Slow clients tend to prevent other users from accessing the system. Am considering a switch to Unicorn.

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Replies (1)

Consider trying to use puma workers first. puma -w basically. That will launch multiple puma processes to manage the requests, like unicorn, but also run threads within those processes. You can turn the number of workers and number of threads to find the right memory footprint / request per second balance.

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Pros of Gunicorn
Pros of Unicorn
  • 34
  • 30
    Easy setup
  • 8
  • 3
  • 3
  • 81
  • 59
  • 36
    Web server
  • 30
    Open Source
  • 30
    Very light
  • 27
    Rack http server
  • 18
    Load balancing
  • 14
    Great process management

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Cons of Gunicorn
Cons of Unicorn
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 4
      Not multithreaded

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    What companies use Gunicorn?
    What companies use Unicorn?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Gunicorn or Unicorn.
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    What tools integrate with Gunicorn?
    What tools integrate with Unicorn?
      No integrations found
      What are some alternatives to Gunicorn and Unicorn?
      The uWSGI project aims at developing a full stack for building hosting services.
      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.
      Flask is intended for getting started very quickly and was developed with best intentions in mind.
      It is meant to be a production-quality pure-Python WSGI server with very acceptable performance. It has no dependencies except ones which live in the Python standard library. It runs on CPython on Unix and Windows under Python 2.7+ and Python 3.4+. It is also known to run on PyPy 1.6.0 on UNIX.
      It is a coroutine -based Python networking library that uses greenlet to provide a high-level synchronous API on top of the libev or libuv event loop.
      See all alternatives