Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Here we talk about two programs. Nagios monitors networks, network devices, applications and servers running on Linux and Unix distributed under the GPL license. Well, hosts and services are monitored according to specific settings, so you customize it to fit your needs. One of the other solutions is Zabbix. An open source software tool for monitoring IT infrastructure such as networks, servers, virtual machines and cloud services.

Shell we start with Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).

What is Nagios?

Once again, we are dealing with open source software, and Nagios purpose is aimed at monitoring computer systems. In addition, it is run on the Linux operating system, precisely for the purpose of monitoring devices that are executed on Windows, Unix and Linux operating systems. Its main task is to constantly check key server resources, applications, networks and tasks.

Also, it monitors disk memory, microprocessor load, number of processors, and currently running logs. It’s worth noting that you can also check other services including mail protocol, SMTP, HTTP and other network protocols.

How does Nagios work?

So, Nagios retrieves information about your server’s statistics via the NRPE agent, check_mk or via SNMP. An alert is then sent to you, and it tells you when the value of the metric is above a given threshold. After that, after each so called interval, it does a status check on the remote service by executing a plugin, and this sits on the remote client.

In fact, note these highlights of how Nagios works:

  1. Response.
  2. Monitoring.
  3. Alerting.
  4. Reporting.
  5. Maintenance.
  6. Planning.

Features of using Nagios

Let’s not forget, Nagios monitoring tool has other several features. Some of them are mentioned below:


  • Historical reports provide record of alerts, notifications, outages, and alert response.
  • Third party addons extend reporting capabilities.
  • Availability reports ensure  SLA’s are being met.

Visibility & Awareness

  • Escalation feature ensures alert notifications reach the right person.
  • Detailed status information available through web interface.
  • Alerts are delivered to technical staff via email or SMS.
  • Centralized view of entire monitored IT infrastructure.
  • Fast detection of infrastructure outages.

Comprehensive Monitoring

  • The ability to monitor applications, services, operating systems, network protocols, system metrics, and infrastructure components with a single tool.
  • A powerful scripting API makes it easy to monitor your own and custom applications, services and systems.

Stable, reliable, and respected platform

  • Numerous awards, media coverage and recognition prove Nagios‘ worth.
  • Failover capabilities ensure non stop monitoring of critical IT infrastructure components.
  • Scales to monitor thousands of nodes.
  • Over 10 years of active development.

Proactive planning

  • Scheduled downtime allows you to suppress alerts during infrastructure upgrades.
  • Trend and capacity planning add ons keep you aware of your aging infrastructure.

Vibrant community

  • Hundreds of community developed addons extend Nagios’ core functionality.
  • Active community mailing lists provide free support.
  • Over 1 million+ users worldwide.

Pros and cons of Nagios


  • This tool helps to increase the availability of services, servers, applications and processes for users to use for network monitoring.
  • It helps you to easily detect and troubleshoot protocol errors, network and server errors.
  • Server errors are easily detected and notifications are sent to users to report problems.


  • Network management is not possible with Nagios monitoring tools.
  • Interface offered by the Nagios monitoring tool is very confusing.
  • Nagios offers its users a free version, but the features of the free version are very limited.
  • This tool provides several configuration files that make it difficult to organize all of them.

Up next with Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? we guide you through Zabbix. 

What is Zabbix?

Another tool in our list is  Zabbix. Defined as open source for monitoring servers, networks or cloud services and virtual machines. Moreover, it provides metrics for monitoring and monitoring network usage, disk space consumption and CPU load. Interestingly, the tool has within it the ability to support various operating systems.

And these include Solaris, Mac OS and many others. A nice advantage of this tool is the use of a separate database for data storage and monitoring.

How does Zabbix work?

Generally, Zabbix is ​​a network monitoring software that monitors networks and devices using various methods including network discovery. All in all, Zabbix uses three discovery modes to identify devices on the network:

Low level discovery: This mode allows Zabbix to discover new devices on a network by using specific protocols or by querying the network for specific information. For example, Zabbix can use SNMP or ICMP to discover devices and gather information about them.

Active discovery: This mode allows Zabbix to actively send probes to specific devices or IP addresses to gather information about them. Also this is useful, if you want to gather more detailed information about a specific device, or if you want to scan a large range of IP addresses more quickly.

Network range discovery: Primarily, the mode allows Zabbix to scan a range of IP addresses and identify devices within that range. Moreover this is useful if you want to discover all the devices on a specific subnet or if you want to scan a large range of IP addresses to find specific devices.

Not to forget, Zabbix uses these three discovery modes to provide a comprehensive view of your network and its devices, allowing you to monitor its health and performance and identify potential problems.

Features of Zabbix

This network monitoring software provides various features to monitor and manage networks and devices. Some of the key features of Zabbix include:


Designed to work on large networks with thousands of devices and is scalable to fit the needs of an organization. In addition, it also includes features such as Distributed Monitoring, which allows multiple locations to be monitored from a central location.


Includes security features such as encryption and authentication to help protect your network and its data from unauthorized access. It also provides tools to identify and fix security vulnerabilities.


Basically, it monitors various network metrics including device availability, performance, and security. Alerts are sent when certain conditions are met, such as when a device goes offline or when a security breach is detected.


Integrates with many other tools and systems including databases, applications and cloud services. In turn, this allows you to collect and analyse data from multiple sources and view it in a single dashboard.

Network discovery

Uses a variety of methods including low level discovery, network wide discovery, and active discovery to identify devices on the network and collect related information.

Pros and cons of Zabbix


  • Detects problems before the customer does and before it actually happens using the predictive functions in Zabbix.
  • Extra features added, such as noise cancelling and facial recognition, which is great.
  • Download it for free and modify it to fit your organization’s needs. Also, this significant benefits the organizations looking to customize their network monitoring solution.
  • Creation of new alerts either fault based or performance based.
  • Several options for monitoring, from agent to SNMP and so on.


  • Zabbix is ​​free to use, but can be expensive to install and maintain due to the resources and experience required. Some users may find that the cost outweighs the benefits.
  • Installation and configuration are difficult, at times, especially for users new to monitoring systems. This requires a good understanding of network infrastructure and system architecture.
  • Compared to other monitoring tools, it has a limited number of third party integrations.
  • Doesn’t have an official support.

We have reached the main part of our article Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? 

Nagios vs Zabbix - Key differences

Both, Nagios and Zabbix are open source network and infrastructure monitoring tools that help organizations monitor the availability and performance of their IT systems, devices and applications. Hence, both tools offer a wide range of features including alerts, reports and visualizations and are used to monitor a variety of devices and metrics.

Here are examples of how the two tools differ:

Cost and installation steps

In detail, Zabbix tool is much cheaper, easier to install on the user’s system and requires no additional installation steps. In contrast to Nagios, which is also has the free version but this has very limited functionality. The premium version is better. Nagios is expensive and requires additional assistance to install.


In Zabbix tools, data are visualized in various forms such as screens, charts, overviews, and maps. This tool monitors your server, providing up to date statistics and performance information. But with Nagios data analysis and system monitoring are problematic because the tools lack data visualization capabilities.


Here, Nagios is known for its high level of customization that allows users to create their own plugins and scripts to monitor specific devices or metrics. Oppositely, Zabbix also offers a high degree of customization, but may not be as flexible as Nagios in this respect.

High availability and Automatically Fixing Issues

High availability with Nagios  maintains system security and system high availability for other business operations. In essence, Nagios tools automatically troubleshoot whenever any situation arises. In contrast, Zabbix tools do not automatically fix problems. You will need technical support. 

Database and Monitoring the system

Subsequently, with Zabbix tools, one centralized administrative web interface is used to manage data in the database and monitor the system. But Nagios, there does not have centralized system monitoring systems and data. All in all, Nagios tools use GUIs that use CGI to display web pages. Web pages contain graphics, buttons, and sounds that alert you to alerts. If more than one warning occurs, an immediate hard alarm is raised to notify the maintenance team.

Sending Alerts and Alarms upon any raised issue

In that case, Nagios tools send alerts immediately when unusual behaviour is observed on your system. You are able to take appropriate action on alerts. In the other hand Zabbix tools do not have the ability to send alerts and notify the technical team.

Monitoring Services

Lastly, Nagios tools provide various network monitoring services including HTTP, SNMP, POP, SMTP, SSH, FTP. Thus, Zabbix tool tracks thousands of metrics collected from various virtual and physical machines.

That is it. Thank you for reading Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Let’s conclude the article now. 

Nagios vs Zabbix – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

Finally, Zabbix is generally considered to be more scalable and feature-rich than Nagios, and it offers a more modern and intuitive user interface. However, let us remember Nagios is known for its high level of customization and a larger user base and community, which may make it a better choice for some organizations.

Ultimately, the choice between Nagios and Zabbix depends on the specific needs and resources of an organization. Both tools are widely used and have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to carefully consider the requirements of an organization when deciding which tool to use.

Thank you for your time.  Why don’t you explore our monitoring section in our blog by navigating here. 

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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