nginx vs Node.js: What are the differences?
What is nginx? A high performance free open source web server powering busiest sites on the Internet. 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.
nginx belongs to "Web Servers" category of the tech stack, while Node.js can be primarily classified under "Frameworks (Full Stack)".
nginx and Node.js are both open source tools. It seems that Node.js with 35.5K GitHub stars and 7.78K forks on GitHub has more adoption than nginx with 9.11K GitHub stars and 3.44K GitHub forks.
According to the StackShare community, nginx has a broader approval, being mentioned in 8677 company stacks & 2561 developers stacks; compared to Node.js, which is listed in 4104 company stacks and 4042 developer stacks.
What is nginx?
What is Node.js?
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Around the time of their Series A, Pinterest’s stack included Python and Django, with Tornado and Node.js as web servers. Memcached / Membase and Redis handled caching, with RabbitMQ handling queueing. Nginx, HAproxy and Varnish managed static-delivery and load-balancing, with persistent data storage handled by MySQL.
I just designed, developed, and deployed my own budgeting app, dailybudget.cc, which allows me to automate my budgeting the way I have always done it, in a way that I could never fully capture with other budgeting apps, such as Mint, EveryDollar, or YNAB. I spent 4 years from the time I first had the idea to the time I actually sat down to design it and start development. During this time I evaluated many other budgeting app solutions, and had even architected a prototype that I never ended up using. But boy, have technologies come much further in 4 years.
Though my first prototype used Java and Tomcat, I completely abandoned those 4 years later in favor of Node.js technologies, which I have found are equally as stable, more flexible (for better or for worse), and capable of significantly more rapid development. Since what I have deployed now is in beta and is primarily for limited user use, I favored rapid development over slower development where I would write more automated unit tests. I chose to build the app as a HTML5 web application (rather than native iOS or Android, for now), and I used a separated API backend/Web frontend model. My target platform for use with the app is mobile handheld touch devices, though it can work on any laptop or desktop with a touchscreen. Given these design targets, many of the technologies I chose were because of familiarity with them as well as a strong online community, and some technologies I chose that I had to learn anew, because they appeared to fit my needs.
My entire app runs on a #lenovo IdeaCentre desktop on my home network, on which I have installed Ubuntu 18.04. Ubuntu is something I have switched to after a long time of use and familiarity with RedHat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, because the online support for Ubuntu is now tremendous, and there is so much documentation and examples online of how to configure and use Ubuntu; not to mention I have not been thrilled with the direction new releases of CentOS. Ubuntu is also a good environment for development - it is so easy to follow the many online examples. Lastly, I may migrate my app and configuration to Amazon AWS, which also uses Ubuntu for its EC2 Linux VMs, so having Ubuntu now is helpful for that prospect.
The API backend uses Node.js, with #HapiJS as the API server framework and MySQL as my persistence database. HapiJS is something I have had familiarity with and is just a phenomenal framework to plug into and configure, especially if you use it for a route-based API. #Mysql has a great online community. I could've used PostgreSQL too, but I am more familiar with MySQL. Also, if I migrate to Amazon AWS, Amazon's RDS uses MySQL. I use npm as a one-stop-shop package manager and environment manager.
I use nginx as my web server and have the API running behind a reverse proxy, and all of the web frontent content hosted as static content.
I use the plaid API to sync my bank transactions to my database. This is another fantastic framework (though not free beyond development use) that it turns out is extremely easy to use for the complex job that it solves.
In 2010 we made the very difficult decision to entirely re-engineer our existing monolithic LAMP application from the ground up in order to address some growing concerns about it's long term viability as a platform.
Full application re-write is almost always never the answer, because of the risks involved. However the situation warranted drastic action as it was clear that the existing product was going to face severe scaling issues. We felt it better address these sooner rather than later and also take the opportunity to improve the international architecture and also to refactor the database in. order that it better matched the changes in core functionality.
PostgreSQL was chosen for its reputation as being solid ACID compliant database backend, it was available as an offering AWS RDS service which reduced the management overhead of us having to configure it ourselves. In order to reduce read load on the primary database we implemented an Elasticsearch layer for fast and scalable search operations. Synchronisation of these indexes was to be achieved through the use of Sidekiq's Redis based background workers on Amazon ElastiCache. Again the AWS solution here looked to be an easy way to keep our involvement in managing this part of the platform at a minimum. Allowing us to focus on our core business.
Rails ls was chosen for its ability to quickly get core functionality up and running, its MVC architecture and also its focus on Test Driven Development using RSpec and Selenium with Travis CI providing continual integration. We also liked Ruby for its terse, clean and elegant syntax. Though YMMV on that one!
Unicorn was chosen for its continual deployment and reputation as a reliable application server, nginx for its reputation as a fast and stable reverse-proxy. We also took advantage of the Amazon CloudFront CDN here to further improve performance by caching static assets globally.
We tried to strike a balance between having control over management and configuration of our core application with the convenience of being able to leverage AWS hosted services for ancillary functions (Amazon SES , Amazon SQS Amazon Route 53 all hosted securely inside Amazon VPC of course!).
Whilst there is some compromise here with potential vendor lock in, the tasks being performed by these ancillary services are no particularly specialised which should mitigate this risk. Furthermore we have already containerised the stack in our development using Docker environment, and looking to how best to bring this into production - potentially using Amazon EC2 Container Service
We use nginx and OpenResty as our API proxy running on EC2 for auth, caching, and some rate limiting for our dozens of microservices. Since OpenResty support embedded Lua we were able to write a custom access module that calls out to our authentication service with the resource, method, and access token. If that succeeds then critical account info is passed down to the underlying microservice. This proxy approach keeps all authentication and authorization in one place and provides a unified CX for our API users. Nginx is fast and cheap to run though we are always exploring alternatives that are also economical. What do you use?
When we started thinking about technology options for our own Design System, we wanted to focus on two primary goals
- Build a design system site using design system components - a living prototype
- Explore new ways of working to position our technical capabilities for the future
We have a small team of developers responsible for the initial build so we knew that we couldn’t spend too much time maintaining infrastructure on the Backend. We also wanted freedom to make decisions on the Frontend with the ability to adapt over time.
For this first iteration we decided to use Node.js, React, and Next.js. Content will be managed via headless CMS in prismic.io.
- Next.js so that we can run React serverside without worrying about server code.
- prismic.io so that our content is accessible via API and our frontend is fully independent.
Possible pros for Python / Django: - easy syntax, easier to learn for me as a beginner - fast development, earlier release - libraries for mathematical and scientific computation
Which software would you use in my case? Are my arguments for Python/NodeJS right? Which kind of database would you use?
Thank you for your answer!
Recently I have been working on an open source stack to help people consolidate their personal health data in a single database so that AI and analytics apps can be run against it to find personalized treatments. We chose to go with a #containerized approach leveraging Docker #containers with a local development environment setup with Docker Compose and nginx for container routing. For the production environment we chose to pull code from GitHub and build/push images using Jenkins and using Kubernetes to deploy to Amazon EC2.
We also implemented a dashboard app to handle user authentication/authorization, as well as a custom SSO server that runs on Heroku which allows experts to easily visit more than one instance without having to login repeatedly. The #Backend was implemented using my favorite #Stack which consists of FeathersJS on top of Node.js and ExpressJS with PostgreSQL as the main database. The #Frontend was implemented using React, Redux.js, Semantic UI React and the FeathersJS client. Though testing was light on this project, we chose to use AVA as well as ESLint to keep the codebase clean and consistent.
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.
nginx or Apache HTTP Server that's the question. The best choice depends on what it needs to serve. In general, Nginx performs better with static content, where Apache and Nginx score roughly the same when it comes to dynamic content. Since most webpages and web-applications use both static and dynamic content, a combination of both platforms may be the best solution.
Since both webservers are easy to deploy and free to use, setting up a performance or feature comparison test is no big deal. This way you can see what solutions suits your application or content best. Don't forget to look at other aspects, like security, back-end compatibility (easy of integration) and manageability, as well.
A reasonably good comparison between the two can be found in the link below.
Mixmax was originally built using Meteor as a single monolithic app. As more users began to onboard, we started noticing scaling issues, and so we broke out our first microservice: our Compose service, for writing emails and Sequences, was born as a Node.js service. Soon after that, we broke out all recipient searching and storage functionality to another Node.js microservice, our Contacts service. This practice of breaking out microservices in order to help our system more appropriately scale, by being more explicit about each microservice’s responsibilities, continued as we broke out numerous more microservices.
As Mixmax began to scale super quickly, with more and more customers joining the platform, we started to see that the Meteor app was still having a lot of trouble scaling due to how it tried to provide its reactivity layer. To be honest, this led to a brutal summer of playing Galaxy container whack-a-mole as containers would saturate their CPU and become unresponsive. I’ll never forget hacking away at building a new microservice to relieve the load on the system so that we’d stop getting paged every 30-40 minutes. Luckily, we’ve never had to do that again! After stabilizing the system, we had to build out two more microservices to provide the necessary reactivity and authentication layers as we rebuilt our Meteor app from the ground up in Node.js. This also had the added benefit of being able to deploy the entire application in the same AWS VPCs. Thankfully, AWS had also released their ALB product so that we didn’t have to build and maintain our own websocket layer in Amazon EC2. All of our microservices, except for one special Go one, are now in Node with an nginx frontend on each instance, all behind AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) or ALBs running in AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
We are in the process of building a modern content platform to deliver our content through various channels. We decided to go with Microservices architecture as we wanted scale. Microservice architecture style is an approach to developing an application as a suite of small independently deployable services built around specific business capabilities. You can gain modularity, extensive parallelism and cost-effective scaling by deploying services across many distributed servers. Microservices modularity facilitates independent updates/deployments, and helps to avoid single point of failure, which can help prevent large-scale outages. We also decided to use Event Driven Architecture pattern which is a popular distributed asynchronous architecture pattern used to produce highly scalable applications. The event-driven architecture is made up of highly decoupled, single-purpose event processing components that asynchronously receive and process events.
To build our #Backend capabilities we decided to use the following: 1. #Microservices - Java with Spring Boot , Node.js with ExpressJS and Python with Flask 2. #Eventsourcingframework - Amazon Kinesis , Amazon Kinesis Firehose , Amazon SNS , Amazon SQS, AWS Lambda 3. #Data - Amazon RDS , Amazon DynamoDB , Amazon S3 , MongoDB Atlas
To build #Webapps we decided to use Angular 2 with RxJS
#Devops - GitHub , Travis CI , Terraform , Docker , Serverless
At IT Minds we create customized internal or #B2B web and mobile apps. I have a go to stack that I pitch to our customers consisting of 3 core areas. 1) A data core #backend . 2) A micro #serverless #backend. 3) A user client #frontend.
For the Data Core I create a backend using TypeScript Node.js and with TypeORM connecting to a PostgreSQL Exposing an action based api with Apollo GraphQL
For the micro serverless backend, which purpose is verification for authentication, autorization, logins and the likes. It is created with Next.js api pages. Using MongoDB to store essential information, caching etc.
Finally the frontend is built with React using Next.js , TypeScript and @Apollo. We create the frontend as a PWA and have a AMP landing page by default.
I have benchmarked Node.js and other popular frameworks using a real life application example. You can find the results here: https://email@example.com/web-rest-api-benchmark-on-a-real-life-application-ebb743a5d7a3
We decided to move the provisioning process to an API-driven process, and had to decide among a few implementation languages:
- Go, the server-side language from Google
We built prototypes in both languages, and decided on NodeJS:
- NodeJS is asynchronous-by-default, which suited the problem domain. Provisioning is more like “start the job, let me know when you’re done” than a traditional C-style program that’s CPU-bound and needs low-level efficiency.
- NodeJS acts as an HTTP-based service, so exposing the API was trivial
Getting into the headspace and internalizing the assumptions of a tool helps pick the right one. NodeJS assumes services will be non-blocking/event-driven and HTTP-accessible, which snapped into our scenario perfectly. The new NodeJS architecture resulted in a staggering 95% reduction in processing time: requests went from 7.5 seconds to under a second.
The original API performed a synchronous Nginx reload after provisioning a zone, which often took up to 30 seconds or longer. While important, this step shouldn’t block the response to the user (or API) that a new zone has been created, or block subsequent requests to adjust the zone. With the new API, an independent worker reloads Nginx configurations based on zone modifications.It’s like ordering a product online: don’t pause the purchase process until the product’s been shipped. Say the order has been created, and you can still cancel or modify shipping information. Meanwhile, the remaining steps are being handled behind the scenes. In our case, the zone provision happens instantly, and you can see the result in your control panel or API. Behind the scenes, the zone will be serving traffic within a minute.
The server side of Trello is built in Node.js. We knew we wanted instant propagation of updates, which meant that we needed to be able to hold a lot of open connections, so an event-driven, non-blocking server seemed like a good choice. Node also turned out to be an amazing prototyping tool for a single-page app. The prototype version of the Trello server was really just a library of functions that operated on arrays of Models in the memory of a single Node.js process, and the client simply invoked those functions through a very thin wrapper over a WebSocket. This was a very fast way for us to get started trying things out with Trello and making sure that the design was headed in the right direction. We used the prototype version to manage the development of Trello and other internal projects at Fog Creek.
All backend code is done in node.js
We have a SOA for our systems. It isn't quite Microservices jsut yet, but it does provide domain encapsulation for our systems allowing the leaderboards to fail without affecting the login or education content.
We've written a few internal modules including a very simple api framework.
I don't know how well this will scale if/when I have hundreds of people connected simultaneously, but I suspect that when that time comes, it may be just a matter of increasing the hardware.
Nginx serves as the loadbalancer, router and SSL terminator of cloudcraft.co. As one of our app server nodes is spun up, an Ansible orchestration script adds the new node dynamically to the nginx loadbalancer config which is then reloaded for a zero downtime seamless rolling deployment. By putting nginx in front or whatever web and API servers you might have, you gain a ton of flexibility. While previously I've cobbled together HAProxy and Stun as a poor man's loadbalancer, nginx just does a much better job and is far simpler in the long run.
Used node.js server as backend. Interacts with MongoDB using MongoSkin package which is a wrapper for the MongoDB node.js driver. It uses express for routing and cors package for enabling cors and eyes package for enhancing readability of logs. Also I use nodemon which takes away the effort to restart the server after making changes.
Used nginx as exactly what it is great for: serving static content in a cache-friendly, load balanced manner.
It is exclusively for production web page hosting, we don't use nginx internally, only on the public-facing versions of static sites / Angular & Backbone/Marionette applications.
We use NGINX both as reverse HTTP proxy and also as a SMTP proxy, to handle incoming email.
We previously handled incoming email with Mandrill, and then later with AWS SES. Handling incoming email yourself is not that much more difficult and saves quite a bit on operational costs.