NGINX vs Passenger vs Puma

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NGINX

112.3K
60.1K
+ 1
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Passenger

1.4K
297
+ 1
199
Puma

836
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+ 1
20

Passenger vs Puma vs nginx: What are the differences?

Introduction

Passenger, Puma, and Nginx are popular web servers used in deploying Ruby on Rails applications. Each has its own set of strengths and differences that make them suitable for different use cases.

  1. Scalability: Passenger is a multi-process web server that can handle high concurrency by spinning up multiple application processes. Puma, on the other hand, is a multi-threaded web server, allowing it to handle high traffic by utilizing threads within a single process. Nginx, as a reverse proxy server, can distribute incoming requests among multiple backend servers, providing load balancing capabilities for scalability.

  2. Memory Usage: Passenger typically consumes more memory due to running multiple processes, which can lead to higher memory usage compared to Puma. Puma, being multi-threaded, has a more efficient memory footprint as it shares resources within a single process. Nginx is known for its low memory usage, especially when serving static content, making it a lightweight option for handling incoming requests.

  3. Configuration Complexity: Passenger provides a more straightforward configuration setup, making it easier for beginners to set up and deploy Ruby on Rails applications. Puma offers more advanced configuration options for optimization and customization but may require more expertise to configure effectively. Nginx requires separate configurations for load balancing, caching, and SSL termination, adding another layer of complexity but granting more granular control over server behavior.

  4. Performance: Passenger is known for its ease of use and reliable performance, making it suitable for small to medium-sized applications. Puma's multi-threaded architecture can provide better performance for I/O-bound applications that benefit from concurrency. Nginx excels in serving static content efficiently and handling high traffic volumes due to its event-driven, asynchronous architecture.

  5. Logging and Monitoring: Passenger offers built-in monitoring tools to track application performance and server health, providing insights into request throughput and memory usage. Puma provides detailed logs for requests and error responses, allowing for easy troubleshooting and performance analysis. Nginx has extensive logging capabilities to track incoming requests, upstream server responses, and server errors, offering visibility into server activities and potential issues.

  6. Supported Protocols: Passenger supports various application servers, such as Ruby, Python, and Node.js, making it versatile for different programming languages. Puma is specifically designed for Ruby applications, optimizing performance and compatibility with Ruby on Rails frameworks. Nginx supports multiple protocols, including HTTP, HTTPS, and WebSocket, allowing for flexible communication options and secure connections for web applications.

In Summary, Passenger, Puma, and Nginx offer distinct features in terms of scalability, memory usage, configuration complexity, performance, logging, monitoring, and supported protocols, catering to different requirements in deploying Ruby on Rails applications.

Advice on NGINX, Passenger, and Puma

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
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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
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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, Passenger, and Puma
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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Pros of NGINX
Pros of Passenger
Pros of Puma
  • 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
  • 43
    Nginx integration
  • 36
    Great for rails
  • 21
    Fast web server
  • 19
    Free
  • 15
    Lightweight
  • 14
    Scalable
  • 13
    Rolling restarts
  • 10
    Multithreading
  • 9
    Out-of-process architecture
  • 6
    Low-bandwidth
  • 2
    Virtually infinitely scalable
  • 2
    Deployment error resistance
  • 2
    Mass deployment
  • 2
    High-latency
  • 1
    Many of its good features are only enterprise level
  • 1
    Apache integration
  • 1
    Secure
  • 1
    Asynchronous I/O
  • 1
    Multiple programming language support
  • 4
    Free
  • 3
    Convenient
  • 3
    Easy
  • 2
    Multithreaded
  • 2
    Consumes less memory than Unicorn
  • 2
    Default Rails server
  • 2
    First-class support for WebSockets
  • 1
    Lightweight
  • 1
    Fast

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Cons of NGINX
Cons of Passenger
Cons of Puma
  • 10
    Advanced features require subscription
  • 0
    Cost (some features require paid/pro)
  • 0
    Uses `select` (limited client count)

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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 Passenger?

Phusion Passenger is a web server and application server, designed to be fast, robust and lightweight. It takes a lot of complexity out of deploying web apps, adds powerful enterprise-grade features that are useful in production, and makes administration much easier and less complex.

What is Puma?

Unlike other Ruby Webservers, Puma was built for speed and parallelism. Puma is a small library that provides a very fast and concurrent HTTP 1.1 server for Ruby web applications.

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    What are some alternatives to NGINX, Passenger, and Puma?
    HAProxy
    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.
    lighttpd
    lighttpd has a very low memory footprint compared to other webservers and takes care of cpu-load. Its advanced feature-set (FastCGI, CGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting and many more) make lighttpd the perfect webserver-software for every server that suffers load problems.
    Traefik
    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.
    Caddy
    Caddy 2 is a powerful, enterprise-ready, open source web server with automatic HTTPS written in Go.
    Envoy
    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.
    See all alternatives