Jetty vs NGINX vs Apache Tomcat

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Apache Tomcat

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Apache Tomcat vs Jetty vs nginx: What are the differences?


In this article, we will discuss the key differences between Apache Tomcat, Jetty, and Nginx, three popular web server technologies. We will explore their distinctive features and functionalities to help you understand which one suits your specific requirements.

  1. Scalability: Apache Tomcat, Jetty, and Nginx have different approaches to scalability. Apache Tomcat is known for its superior ability to handle multiple concurrent connections and is commonly used for enterprise-level applications. Jetty, on the other hand, is designed to be lightweight and is well-suited for applications that require fast startup time and low memory consumption. Nginx is renowned for its high-performance and scalability, particularly in scenarios where a huge number of concurrent connections are anticipated.

  2. Deployment and Configuration: While all three web servers offer various deployment and configuration options, Apache Tomcat focuses primarily on deploying Java-based web applications using its own deployment descriptors and servlet annotations. Jetty, on the other hand, provides flexible deployment options that include embedding it within Java applications or using it as a standalone server. Nginx is primarily a reverse proxy server that can be used for load balancing and HTTP caching, often used in conjunction with application servers like Apache Tomcat or Jetty.

  3. Supported Protocols: Each web server supports different protocols. Apache Tomcat is primarily designed for Java web applications and supports servlets and JavaServer Pages (JSP). Jetty is also built for Java applications but includes support for WebSocket and asynchronous HTTP. Nginx, however, is a general-purpose web server that supports various protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, WebSocket, and reverse proxying.

  4. Performance and Efficiency: When it comes to performance, Jetty is widely regarded as one of the fastest web servers available, with low latency and minimal memory footprint. Apache Tomcat, while not as lightweight as Jetty, still provides good performance and scalability for Java-based applications. Nginx is known for its exceptional performance, especially for static content delivery and simultaneous connections handling.

  5. Community and Support: All three web servers have active communities and vibrant ecosystems. Apache Tomcat has a large and long-standing community, with extensive documentation and numerous online resources available. Jetty has a smaller but dedicated community and provides excellent documentation. Nginx benefits from a vast community and has robust support resources that include official documentation and various online forums.

  6. Use Cases: Due to its scalability and Java-focused features, Apache Tomcat is often used in enterprise-level applications that require compatibility with the Java ecosystem. Jetty's lightweight and fast startup time make it an ideal choice for applications that require quick development iterations and lower memory consumption. Nginx, with its high performance, scalability, and versatility, is commonly used as a load balancer, reverse proxy, or caching server in various scenarios.

In summary, Apache Tomcat is known for its scalability and Java-focused features, Jetty excels in terms of lightweightness and quick startup time, while Nginx stands out for its impressive performance, versatility, and broad protocol support. Selecting the appropriate web server depends on the specific needs of your application and the desired functionality you require.

Advice on Jetty, 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 · 664K views

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
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

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)

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

I use nginx because its more flexible and easy to configure

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Christian Cwienk
Software Developer at SAP · | 1 upvotes · 632.3K views
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 Jetty, NGINX, and Apache Tomcat
Daniel Calvo
Co-Founder at Polpo Data Analytics & Software Development · | 8 upvotes · 234.3K 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 Jetty
Pros of NGINX
Pros of Apache Tomcat
  • 14
  • 10
    Very fast
  • 9
  • 5
  • 5
    Very thin
  • 1.4K
    High-performance http server
  • 893
  • 730
    Easy to configure
  • 607
    Open source
  • 530
    Load balancer
  • 288
  • 288
  • 225
    Web server
  • 175
  • 136
    Easy setup
  • 30
    Content caching
  • 21
    Web Accelerator
  • 15
  • 14
  • 12
  • 12
  • 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
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
    Fast and easy to set up
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1
    Virtual hosting
  • 1
    Narrow focus. Easy to configure. Fast
  • 1
    Along with Redis Cache its the Most superior
  • 1
    Ingress controller
  • 79
  • 72
  • 49
  • 1
    Spring web

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Cons of Jetty
Cons of NGINX
Cons of Apache Tomcat
  • 0
  • 10
    Advanced features require subscription
  • 2
    Blocking - each http request block a thread
  • 1
    Easy to set up

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

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What is 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.

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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