Nginx vs Apache Performance – Which is Faster? (Speed Comparison)

Nginx vs Apache Performance – Which is Faster ? (Speed Comparison). In this post, we will discuss in detail the difference between Apache and NGINX server in term of speed.

First of all Apache and Nginx are the most common web servers today. They power almost 60 percent of the world’s websites. Moreover, they are similar in performance and features as well. However, what makes them different are their architecture, security, and performance.

Hence it is more difficult to select between the two. Therefore, we have created a comparison that will help you to determine the correct server for your web hosting requirements. So, let’s get straight into it without wasting much of your time.

Shall we start with Nginx vs Apache Performance – Which is Faster ? (Speed Comparison).

Nginx vs Apache Performance - Which is Faster? (Speed Comparison)

1. Connection Handling Architecture


First of all, Apache constitutes multiple modules, called MPMs. Hence, it helps users to control client requests. With the help of Apache, you can immediately cease the connection handling architecture. It includes:

  • mpm-Prefor – It has an unthreaded pre forking web server. Also, it allows every server process to respond to incoming requests. Also manages the size of the server pool using the parent process. Generally appropriate for the site that does not require threading to work with unprotected thread libraries. Famous server for isolating every request. This way, it ensures that the problem with one does not impact the other.
  • MPM-Event – With the help of this MPM, you can service multiple requests simultaneously by delegating specific processing to the listener threads. Basically it frees up the worker threads to serve new requests.
  • MPM-Worker – It is a hybrid multi process module that serves an incredible number of requests using a few system resources. Altogether it uses threads to deliver requests. If several processes are available, you acquire the tremendous stability of a process based server with several lines.

Additionally Apache’s flexible design allows you to select several connections and request handling algorithms. With the change in the Internet landscape, your chosen algorithm represents a primary product of the server’s evolution and increased demand for concurrency.


Although Nginx arrived at the scene after Apache, it came with a better understanding of concurrency issues that sites at a scale usually confront. So, with NGINX, it is constructed from the ground up with an asynchronous, non blocking, event driven connection processing algorithm to take advantage of this information.

Altogether NGINX spawns worker processes that can each handle thousands of connections. The worker process achieves this by developing a fast looping mechanism that regularly checks and processes events. When you decouple actual work from connections, every work can focus on the relationship during the occurrence of the latest event.

As a result, this connection is placed on the event loop with other connections. In this loop, events processed are asynchronous. This way, the work performed is in a non blocking manner. The link gets deleted from the loop upon its closure.

Therefore, Nginx is highly scalable and requires minimal resources. Since the server is single threaded and does not generate additional processes to handle every connection, memory and CPU use remains constant, even during intense pressure.

2. Static vs Dynamic Content


Here, Apache handles static content with the help of its standard file based mechanisms. Then, the MPMs mostly manage the performance of these procedures.

Moreover, Apache can process dynamic content using a language specific processor in each worker instance. As a result, you can include dynamic content without the help of external components in the web server. As a fact, you can use dynamically loadable modules to enable these dynamic processes.

Therefore, Apache helps you to handle dynamic content internally, and configuring dynamic processes becomes efficient. Further, if the content requirements change, you can swap the modules. Besides, it even excludes the need for communication coordination because of the additional piece of software.


On the other hand, Nginx does not have support for dynamic content processing. Well, it needs to pass PHP and other active content requests for this process. Then, it has to wait for the content to return. After this process, the clients get the information of the findings.

Another key point is that admins need to configure communication between Nginx and the processor using the protocol it understands. But, it is relatively complicated, especially during the estimation of connection numbers.

However, it provides few benefits. The overhead of the dynamic interpreter only presents active material as it is not included in the worker process. You can send static content seamlessly using an interpreter.

3. Distributed vs Centralized Configuration


When you analyze and interpret directives in hidden files within the content folders, Apache includes an additional option to allow configuration on a per directory basis called ‘.htaccess.’

These files are in the content folders. Basically Apache looks for these files in every component’s path to the requested files and applies the directives. Besides that is effective for decentralized web server setup, commonly used for URL rewrites, access limitations, authentication and authorization, and cache policies.

You acquire several other advantages from these files:

  • The evaluation of htaccess files while encountering along the request path. So, their implementation does not require the reloading of servers.
  • Also allows non privileged users to control some part of their web content without providing them with complete authority over the configuration files.

Web software, like Content Management Systems (CMS), effortlessly personalizes its environment without accessing the main configuration file. Shared hosting providers take care of the core setup while offering clients access to their specific directories.


Here with Nginx, it does not understand .htaccess files and has no way to evaluate directory configuration outside of the main configuration file. It is less valuable than the Apache method but has its advantages.

The most notable performance gain over the .htaccess approach is directory level settings. For each request, the server checks for these files in any parent directory leading to the requested file in a standard Hence, Apache setup allows .htaccess in any directory. If one or more htaccess files are found during this search, these files should be read and processed. Prohibiting directory rewrites allows Nginx to process requests faster by issuing a single directory query and reading the file for each request (assuming the file is found in the existing directory structure).

Another advantage is that it is safe. Distributing configuration access at the directory level also distributes security responsibilities among individual users, who may or may not be trusted to do so correctly. By ensuring that the administrator has complete control of the web server, you can avoid many security mistakes when granting access to others.

4. File vs URI Based Interpretation


Certainly, Apache interprets a result as a physical filesystem resource or a URI destination with more abstract destination requirements. For the former, it generally uses or blocks and blocks for more abstract resources.

Its development as a web server automatically enables it to interpret requests for filesystem resources. If it wants to find an actual file, it begins with the document roots and attaches this piece of request to the host or the port number.

Moreover, Apache offers several options for unmatched requests. It usually prefers using filesystem techniques even if it can work on the underlying filesystem and the webspace.


The creation of Nginx enables you to work as a web server and proxy server. In collaboration with URIs, if needed, the architecture required for these two jobs got translated into a file system. This can be seen in the way NGINX builds and processes configuration files in some cases. With Nginx there is no way to determine the configuration of filesystem directories. So parse the URI.

In addition, Nginx contains the two most crucial configuration blocks, server and location blocks. While the server blocks interpret the requested hosts, the location block matches the portion of the URI following host and port. Hence, the request processed is in URI instead of a filesystem location.

Eventually, all the requests for static files are mapped on the disc. Nginx selects the server and location blocks for processing the request and then combines the document root with the URI, modifying it according to the setting.

It may sound similar, but interpreting requests as huge URIs instead of file system locations makes it easier for Nginx to work as a web, email, and proxy server. Nginx began defining the way to respond to specific request patterns. Consequently Nginx doesn’t check the file system until it’s ready to deliver a request, which is why it does not support .htaccess files.

5. Modulus


Apache’s modulus system enables you to load and unload modules according to your needs while the server runs. Although the Apache Core is present, the modules enabled or disabled is done by adding or deleting functionality and connecting to the central server.

As shown, Apache uses these features for multiple tasks. Being a mature platform, it provides an extensive library of modules. Moreover, modules do not just handle dynamic content. They can also be used for rewriting URLs, hardening the server, compressing, encrypting data, authenticating clients, logs, cache, and many more. They offer enhanced functionality without adding a lot of work.


Like Apache, Nginx also has a module system. However, both differ from each other. In Nginx, modules do not load dynamically. So, it should be chosen and compiled into the core software.

It makes it less adaptable for users who are hesitant to build their software outside their distribution standard packaging schemes. However, its module is still valuable as it helps the users specify what they want from the server. Users believe it to be more secure since it connects arbitrary components to the server.

Moreover, Nginx contains features similar to Apache modules. It includes proxy support, rate restriction, compression, and geolocation.

6. Support, Compatibility, Ecosystem, and documentation


Well, Apache has been in the market for several years. It provides the tool with a lot of support. The core server and task based situations connect Apache with other software constituting multiple libraries and third party documentation.

It also contains tools and web projects to bootstrap themselves with an Apache environment. Due to its market size and extended availability, Apache will get more support from other services in general.


Nginx is gaining tremendous popularity because of its high performance. However, it has some areas that need improvement. Since every documentation and development was in Russian, it was arduous to locate substantial English language documentation.

As interest in the project grew, the documentation took shape, and many managed resources are now available through the Nginx site and third parties.

As support and documentation for third party apps become more widely available, package managers are starting to offer options to auto configure Apache and Nginx in certain situations. Configuring Nginx to run with other software is usually straightforward, even without support, as long as the project’s requirements are documented (permissions, headers, etc.).

Up next with article Nginx vs Apache Performance, we are trying to find out whether sometimes Apache is better over Nginx.

When to use Apache vs Nginx?

As discussed above, Apache and Nginx seem powerful, adaptable, and all around good web servers. While Apache is appropriate for delivering dynamic material to a high traffic website, Nginx is suitable for providing static content or media streams.

Therefore, you can use Apache on a shared hosting platform. Its helpful community provides a multitude of resources, making the process straightforward.

On the other hand, you can use Nginx on a VPS or dedicated server. It also becomes relevant for a popular website with a lot of static content. It helps you manage incoming traffic by distributing it to slower upstream servers.

Apache vs Nginx - Which is Better?

Summing up, Apache is a good choice if you host a server requiring constant setup or when you want to give users configuration options. On the contrary, Nginx is appropriate for supper fast performance, rock solid security, and the ability to manage configuration.

Apache’s fundamental architecture takes up more RAM for performance. And since Nginx can help websites with high traffic and static content, it is an ideal choice for you. However, it is essential to remember that it can affect the performance due to the proxy your server utilizes.

Thank you for reading Nginx vs Apache Performance – Which is Faster ? (Speed Comparison). We shall conclude.

Nginx vs Apache Performance - Which is Faster ? Conclusion

Although both the software is powerful, adaptable, and capable, assessing your needs and testing the patterns you expect are the primary criteria for selecting the appropriate measures. However, they differ regarding raw performance, capabilities, and the time required to implement them. Lastly, no such things suit your web server entirely, so choose what your web server actually needs.

Please take a look at our blog content regarding Nginx and Apache

Avatar for Hitesh Jethva
Hitesh Jethva

I am a fan of open source technology and have more than 10 years of experience working with Linux and Open Source technologies. I am one of the Linux technical writers for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

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