Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Firstly Nginx and Node.js servers are mainly used for load balancing. So the Nginx is a web server, but it also works as a load balancer and plays an important role in improving performance. What Node.js brings is event driven programming to web servers. That leads to rapid development of web servers in JavaScript programs.

We will start this article blog by explaining what these servers are with their advantages. In addition, I will present their pros and cons and what makes them different.

Follow this post below to learn Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons).

What is Nginx?

The open source software of Nginx targets web proxy services, media streaming, buffering as well as load balancing. Moreover originally web server was designed with maximum efficiency and stability in mind.

Generally Nginx can run at high speed under heavy load. The reverse proxy feature allows a website to present aggregated news sources as if they were all from one website. Its load balancer helps in distributing the load between different resources, such as servers.

Proxy server that is Nginx also works for email and also as a load balancer for TCP and HTTP servers.

Companies that use Nginx include Facebook, GitLab, T-Mobile, Google, Adobe and many others.

How does Nginx work?

Before learning more about the meaning of NGINX, it is best to understand how a web server works. When you send a request to open a web page, the browser contacts the site’s server. The server then finds the file on the web page that the user requested and sends it to the browser. This flow above shows how the server handles queries or simple queries.

Basically Web servers usually create one thread per request, but NGINX does not. As mentioned above, Nginx server runs an asynchronous event driven architecture. This indicates that identical or similar threads are running under a single worker process, each made up of smaller units called worker connections. This entire entity is responsible for handling thread requests. Worker connection sends a request to the worker process, which is also sent to the master process. Main operation then displays the results of the query.

Features of Nginx

  • Cached reverse proxy.
  • Load Balancing.
  • Fast CGI support with caching.
  • Manages static files, index files, and automatic indexing.
  • URL rewriting and redirection.
  • IPV6.
  • Web Sockets support.
  • Handles 10,000 simultaneous connections.
  • OCSP stapling support.
  • Single entry point for users.
  • Standard HTTP log formats are supported.
  • Health check function.

Pros of using Nginx

  • Superior at handling static content.
  • Lighter and requires less resources/memory.
  • Better scalability.
  • Recommended for sites running on a VPS.
  • Capable of handling 10,000 simultaneous connections with a small memory footprint.
  • Configuring several virtual hosts.
  • Simple installation and configuration features.
  • Internet servers use less memory and resources.
  • Helps the site to run faster.
  • With NGINX, you can handle multiple connections without overhead because it supports context switching.

Cons of using Nginx

  • Less community support and documentation than Apache. But probably more than enough depending on your expertise and use case.
  • Little amount of extensions available.
  • Smaller list of modules.
  • Not used as often as alternatives so may not be as well checked throughout.

Follow this article Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ? to learn about Nodejs

What is Node.js?

The second tool is a single threaded, open source and cross platform platform for building fast, scalable networks and server side applications. It runs on the V8 JavaScript runtime and uses an event driven, non blocking I/O architecture. By doing so it is efficient and suitable for real time applications.

When Node.js performs an I/O operation, such as reading from the network or accessing a database or file system, instead of blocking threads and wasting suspended CPU cycles, Node.js resumes operations when the response returns.

Additionally, Node.js has a unique advantage. Because the millions of programmers who write JavaScript for the browser.  So the ability to write server side code in addition to client side code without having to learn a completely different language is a big advantage.

How does Node.js work?

Node.js works differently. Let’s see each step you follow:

  • Maintaining a thread pool and is limited to serving requests.
  • Whenever a request comes, Node.js places it into a queue.
  • The main component comes which is the single threaded “event loop”. This event loop waits indefinitely for requests.
  • Request arrives, the loop retrieves it from the queue and checks to see if it needs to block I/O operations. If not, process the request and send a response.
  • If the request has a blocking operation that needs to be executed, the event loop chooses a thread from internal thread pool to process the request. Internal themes that are available are limited. This group of auxiliary drivers is called a working group.
  • So the Event loop tracks blocking requests and places them in the queue once the blocking task is processed. This is how it maintains its non blocking nature.

Since Node.js uses fewer threads, it consumes less resources/memory, which makes tasks run faster. Therefore this single threaded architecture is equivalent to a multi threaded architecture. When dealing with data intensive tasks, it makes sense to use a multi threaded language like Java. But for real time applications, Node.js is the obvious choice.

Features of Node.js

  • Scalable solution.
  • Quick execution of code.
  • Single threaded by nature.
  • Asynchronous and event driven.
  • Cross platform compatibility.
  • Uses JavaScript.
  • No buffering.
  • Over 600,000 free open source packages on NPM.
  • Sockets and two way data binding.
  • The convenience of using one coding language.
  • Facilitates quick deployment and microservice development.
  • Fast data streaming.

Pros of using Node.js

  • Support of large and active community.
  • FullStack JavaScript.
  • Highly extensible.
  • Memory efficient.
  • Lessen time to market of your applications.
  • Helps in building cross functional teams.
  • Easy to learn and quick to adapt.
  • Cost effective with full stack JS.
  • Scalability for modern applications.
  • Keeping things simple.

Cons of using Node.js

  • API is not stable and keeps changing for Node Js.
  • Does not have a strong library support system.
  • Code for large applications is complex due to the asynchronous nature of Node Js.
  • Application programming interface is not stable.
  • Reduces performance when handling heavy computing tasks.

Nginx vs Node.js - Key Differences

Well with Node.js it brings event driven programming to web servers, enabling rapid development in JavaScript programs. Explicitly Nginx is a robust, wireless and even powered programming architecture that works well if configured correctly. But Nginx outperforms the Apache web server, which was the primary target during development. So what are the differences between Nginx vs Node.js?

The differences of Nginx and Node.js

Vertical scaling – to explain what is vertical scaling is increasing the single machine performances. It is not supported in Node.js. In Nginx, on the other hand, with a very small memory capacity of about 2.5 MB, it can handle a large number of requests.

Package manager – with Node.js there is ways to use various packages hosted on npm sites for use by importing application projects. Opposed to Nginx that handles static files, auto indexing, file indexing and reverse proxy with cache memory.

Architecture model – here the Node.js uses the single event loop architecture that deals with multiple concurrent clients. Additionally there is no need to create multiple threads. Whereas Nginx uses powerful web server and is non threaded and event driven architecture rather than threads to handle multiple requests.

The server runtime environment – First of all Node.js it can be used with browsers that support another JSON database, while Nginx supports load balancing. Also it includes health check and virtual servers based on names and IP addresses.

Performance – Accordingly with  Node.js, there is a problem with concurrent users, that is, with a heavy load or concurrent user requests. Response rate is low. But with Nginx is to exceed the performance of even Apache web server especially  behaves good with a heavy load.  Large number of concurrent user requirements.

CPU storage –Displaying the contents of a file on a web page consumes more CPU memory than the file itself in Nginx. In Nginx, the CPU memory consumption is low because NGINX is event based it doesn’t need to start new processes or threads for each request. So Node.js clearly shows the memory savings. Significantly Node.js isn’t right for CPU-intense tasks due to it’s single threaded nature. CPU intensive tasks will block all requests from completing  until the task is completed.

Design – Certainly Node.js is a single threaded design and allows a single thread to handle requests and makes concurrent new tasks impossible. Otherwise Nginx main point in design is a high-performance load balancer used on many of the websites busiest in the world.

Thank you for your time in reading Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ?

Nginx vs Node.js – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

Summing up Node.js is the JS runtime and is also an HTTP server with some event dependent features. Remember it has many disadvantages in terms of concurrency and high overhead or handling user requests from ‘a large number of users at the same time. But bear in mind that Nginx performs best in this case, it provides the best performance, ideal for high traffic load. Evidently Nginx is a fast web server that supports routing, static content  and objectively provides a better user experience in faster terms.

If you want to read more Nginx content click here and Node.js here.

Thanks for stopping by!

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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