Differences Between Squid Proxy vs Nginx (Pros and Cons)

Squid is a caching and forwarding HTTP web proxy. It has many uses, including speeding up a web server by caching repeated requests, caching web, DNS, and other computer network lookups for a group of people sharing network resources, and aiding security by filtering traffic.

Nginx, stylized as NGINX, nginx, or NginX, is a web server that can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, mail proxy, and HTTP cache. The software was created by Igor Sysoev and publicly released in 2004. Nginx is free and open-source software, released under the terms of the 2-clause BSD license.

This article will discuss the differences between Squid Proxy vs Nginx, along with their pros and cons.

Nginx Pros and Cons

Squid Proxy vs Nginx

Here are some of the pros and cons of Nginx:


Apart from the proxy, Nginx can also be used as a web server. To determine the performance of the Nginx web server, a test was conducted. They set up very basic identical one-page websites on identical web servers, LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) and LEMP (Linux Nginx MySQL PHP). All the servers had a dedicated 4-GB RAM, 2-Core CPUs, and an 80-GB solid-state drive. A web performance testing software, “sitespeed.io,” was installed that is typically used to test websites across the network.

There is a lot of variabilities associated with network latency and all other stuff. To eliminate that completely, the websites were run on the local host of each server. The tests were basically a series of a hundred back-to-back page view. The amount of time Nginx took to respond to these tests were:


  1. The Backend Time: 11.0 ms
  2. First Paint Test: 199 ms
  3. Fully Loaded Page: 224 ms

Nginx outperformed others across all page tests. Nginx is considered to be the superior web server, and our recommendation is, first of all, to conduct your own page tests to see if Nginx is better for your use case. This was a very simple test to just see which one of those web servers was able to deliver the page the quickest. There is a lot more complexity that you can add to this type of test as far as making more complex web pages and seeing if it is able to handle high volumes of traffic at once.


Nginx did some load testing on their own. Below is a high-level overview of the number of transactions you are going to be able to run requests per second or SSL transactions. As you can see, it scales vertically depending on the number of CPUs that you are using.

In this case, they ran some testing with a 2-Core server, with 4-GB RAM was able to do about 90,000 requests per second, 8-Core up to about 350,000 requests per second, and then a 44-Core up to 1.2 million requests per second. Essentially, the more CPUs that you can throw in Nginx, the more performance you are going to get, and obviously, from a memory standpoint, you can see they did not have to scale the memory too much to drastically affect performance.

Nginx performance

Errors and Complexity

Most operating systems and cloud vendors support Nginx. Still, it requires some additional setup configurations to get going. It is still viewed as a secondary (although better in many cases) option. Configuring the complex Nginx proxy can sometimes become very difficult. Sometimes it is not very good at pointing out the errors. Currently, you need to configure a lot of settings and update services manually. The automation of Nginx configuration and services updates for open source versions can be improved.

Keeping Track of Backend Server

There is no easy way to tell which incoming request was sent to which backend app server. You have to do advanced tricks to keep track of those things in case you need to see what is happening behind the scenes for debugging.

Squid Proxy Pros and Cons

Nginx vs Squid Proxy

Below are some of the pros and cons of Squid Proxy:

Reverse Proxy

You can use Squid as a reverse proxy. Unlike a forward proxy, in the reverse proxy case, the proxy server is between the network and the application origin server with data. When the client makes a request, it sends it to the network, then grabs it by the reverse proxy server. Then, the request is sent to the origin server, and the response is returned.

The main advantages of using the reverse proxy server are:


  • Preventing attacks like DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) because attackers would not be able to hit the origin servers for the application, just the proxy server. 
  • It also helps in caching content. 
  • It provides SSL encryption. 
  • It can help to distribute the requests to the multiple origin servers.
  • It can also add basic HTTP access authentication to a web server that does not have one.

Adds Security

A proxy has several benefits, and one benefit is privacy because it allows you to surf the internet anonymously because it hides your IP address. When you visit a website without using a proxy, your public IP address is visible, so certain people can know which websites you are visiting.

But when you use a proxy, your IP address becomes invisible because as the proxy server retrieves the web page for you, only the IP address of the proxy server can be seen viewing the web page. So your IP address stops here, and then the proxy IP does the rest of the work.

Saves Bandwidth

Another benefit of using a proxy server is speed. For example, suppose a company uses a proxy server and whenever a user wants to retrieve a webpage. In that case, the proxy server will retrieve the webpage from the internet on behalf of the user, and then it will store that web page into a centralized cache database. If another user on a different computer goes to a web page stored in the proxy database, the proxy server does not have to go out on the internet to retrieve the web page. It can simply retrieve it from its database and then send it to the user.

This makes web page retrieval much faster. And another benefit of this is that it saves bandwidth because a proxy server reduces the need to go out on the internet to retrieve data. After all, it already has that data stored in its database.

Media range Limitations

A feature of the HTTP protocol is limiting a request to the range of data in the referenced resource. This allows video streaming websites such as YouTube to load data from the middle of a video rather than the beginning. Partial downloads are also extensively used by Microsoft Windows Update so that extremely large update packages can download in the background and pause halfway through.

Squid requires a full copy of the same object to already exist in its storage for a partial request to be satisfied at a fast speed from the cache. Suppose a proxy video user is watching a video stream and browses to a different page before the video completely downloads. In that case, Squid cannot keep the partial download for reuse and simply discards the data. Special configuration is required to force such downloads to continue and be cached.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes people get confused as there are a lot of different proxy options available. After reading this article, we know the difference between Squid Proxy and Nginx (Squid Proxy vs Nginx), along with some of their advantages and disadvantages (Pros and Cons).

Hope this article helps you in figuring out which one is best for you.

Avatar for Emad Bin Abid
Emad Bin Abid

I'm a software engineer who has a bright vision and a strong interest in designing and engineering software solutions. I readily understand that in today's agile world the development process has to be rapid, reusable, and scalable; hence it is extremely important to develop solutions that are well-designed and embody a well-thought-of architecture as the baseline. Apart from designing and developing business solutions, I'm a content writer who loves to document technical learnings and experiences so that peers in the same industry can also benefit from them.

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