NGINX : An Overview

 NGINX : An Overview
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Written by Nilima PaulDecember 18, 2021
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Nilima Paul

Technology Security Analyst

In this blog post, we will know about the NGINX overview

What is NGINX?

NGINX is a web server but is commonly used as a reverse proxy. It can be scaled efficiently as a web server as well as a reverse proxy. It does not allow you to allocate a process to a particular connection, but it creates a process pool that can be easily shared among multiple connections within the network. Whenever a request is made, a resource will be allocated to the process resulting in better resource utilization that can easily handle extensive connections.

NGINX also helps in setting up a secured connection between your data centers and the outside network. It also works well as an HTTP load balancer that allows you to use multiple different load-sharing mechanisms.

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Why use NGINX?

You can use NGINX for many reasons, and some of them are mentioned below.

  • It provides a single entry point- within the containerized environment, you can deploy or destroy the containers whenever required, but having a single entry point for the users to access the services is a better approach. NGINX is a better solution to provide it. You can have NGINX servers at your disposal that will help you to load the balance and route the traffic with a stable public IP address. NGINX server will get the user’s request and then forward it to the appropriate container.
  • Caching- NGINX server provides a cache for both static and dynamic content, which enhances the performance. It will cost you to route each request for data to the microservice that generates it. You can implement micro caching to cache the data for a short period, reducing the back-end infrastructure load. It helps insulate the applications during high traffic to run smoothly without scaling the resources on a second basis.
  • Provide multiple backend apps- NGINX cluster helps manage the traffic for various applications efficiently, thus preferred by many cloud providers. NGINX server is used to proxy the incoming traffic for individual HTTP endpoints that will route each request to the appropriate services. It also allows you to update rules without having any downtime and make the NGINX instance available even for complex applications.
  • A/B Testing- NGINX comes with A/B testing features that help in rolling out the microservices applications. With NGINX, you can easily split the incoming traffic among many destinations. Whenever you deploy a new microservice, you can split the traffic and route some of the users to this application. This allows you to monitor the traffic and measure the KPIs to feel the difference in how both the versions are handling the real-time traffic.
  • Consolidated logging- NGINX comes with standard HTTP log format. It allows you to log the complete web traffic on the NGINX front end rather than having a separate log for each microservice traffic and merging them later. Using NGINX, you can reduce the complexity of creating and maintaining access logs.
  • Scalability and fault tolerance- the load balancing, health checks features of NGINX allow you to scale your back-end infrastructure so that adding or removing any microservice will not impact the user’s experience. If you want to deploy more microservices, you only have to inform the NGINX server that you have added a new instance to the load-balanced pool. In case of a failed instance, NGINX will not route the traffic to that instance until it recovers.
  • Zero downtime- NGINX ensures smooth working of the webserver. You can even update or upgrade the system software seamlessly without interruption to the connection and avoid any application downtime.
  • Mitigate DoS attacks- NGINX is well-known for handling tons of incoming requests or HTTP traffic, ensuring application safety during high traffic, common cache response, and deliver request smoothly. NGINX works as a shock absorber for your application. It also controls traffic that will protect the vulnerable APIs and URLs from being overloaded with requests. This can be achieved by applying a concurrency limit and queuing requests to avoid overload of the server.

Features of NGINX

Some features of Nginx are as follows:

  • Reverse proxy with caching
  • IPV6
  • Load Balancing
  • Web Sockets
  • Handling of static files, index files, and auto-indexing
  • FastCGI support with caching
  • URL rewriting and redirection.

Advantages of using NGINX

  • The written code base is more consistent than other alternatives.
  • It provides a friendly configuration format and has a modern design than any other web server alternatives.
  • It is event-based and allows you to handle multiple connections without having overhead due to the context switching.
  • It uses less memory and resources.
  • NGINX makes the website faster and helps them to get a better Google ranking.
  • It shows compatibility with commonly-used web applications like ruby, python, Joomla, etc.
  • It helps in transforming the dynamic content to static content.
  • It helps in handling thousands of concurrent connections at the same time.

Disadvantages of using NGINX

  • It comes with small community support as compared to Apache but has more use cases than Apache.
  • It does not offer you many modules and extensions as compared to Apache.
  • Due to small community support, it is less like to be preferred.

Conclusion

In this introduction to NGINX fundamentals, we have discussed a short history of the NGINX server, how it became, its place inside the server scene and furthermore the advantages of utilizing NGINX. NGINX is a web server that additionally goes about as an email intermediary, turn around intermediary, and burden balancer. NGINX's design is nonconcurrent and furthermore occasion driven; which guarantees the handling of different solicitations simultaneously. NGINX is effectively profoundly versatile, which guarantees that its administration develops alongside its customers' traffic.

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Nilima Paul
Technology Security Analyst
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