Engine of disruption

Nginx interview: Going enterprise and launching Nginx Plus r4

Coman Hamilton

CEO Gus Robertson talks about the company’s growing user base and what it is that’s made Nginx the most popular web server

The lightweight web server and reverse proxy Nginx has
expanded its offering on Nginx Plus to include Amazon Web Services
with both hourly and yearly pricing. The open-source web server has
also launched a new product specifically for sites streaming

The new release is also said to ease the deployment of
application components across clouds. Meanwhile, the enterprise
edition of Nginx, which integrates seamlessly with AWS services, is
adding improved performance and advanced features like WebSocket
proxying, SSL and SPDY termination.

Nginx CEO Gus Robertson told us that Nginx isn’t
stopping with AWS. “We are already in discussions with a number of
cloud providers and would expect to see similar offerings available
by the end of the calendar year.”

The web server has already drawn in a number of
prominent Silicon Valley clients like Dropbox and Facebook. What
about more traditional enterprises like banks?

“We see particularly high adoption with e-retailers,
media and entertainment, software as a service, and government

And although it has established itself as a favourite
among newer and dynamic websites (Netflix, Dropbox and Facebook to
mention a few), Robertson says Nginx has started to see a number of
financial institutions and government agencies using their service
in order to modernise and increase performance.

An engine of disruption

“The modern world is being disrupted by new companies
that are changing the user experience. For example, think of what
Uber has done to the taxi industry. Existing enterprises can’t be
complacent and expect their customers to be satisfied with a
sub-optimal user experience. They need to innovate to maintain
their competitive advantage.”

Nginx’s open-source web server was originally designed
to compensate for areas where Apache’s web server was lacking. The
latter will often slow down when faced with a heavy load, while it
can lead multiple threads to compete for memory and CPU, whereas
Nginx handles its threads differently to Apache, and does not
create a new process for each web request.

Nginx vs Apache

While Apache’s experience in the field goes a long
way, Nginx’s web server has received much acclaim for its superior
speed and easy configuration. Indeed, while Apache’s numbers are
slowly sinking, Nginx has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity.

Robertson told us that more a third of all sites on
AWS are now running Nginx – putting it ahead of Apache (27%) and
Microsoft IIS (14%). That makes it the most popular web server on
AWS. But it’s not only on AWS that Nginx is doing well. Of the
world’s 10,000 busiest sites, 40% are using their server.


Why Nginx is outmaneuvering Apache

Nginx’s open-source approach also has proved a success to the
company, says Robertson. “The one major advantage is that we have
over 140 million websites using the technology, which means Nginx
has been fully tested in the field for over ten years with a huge
variety of different sites in a multitude of use cases. There is no
better R&D than that.”

Coman Hamilton
Before becoming Editor of JAXenter.com (S&S Media Group), Coman completed an M.A. in Cultural Studies and wrote for numerous websites and magazines, as well as several ad agencies. // Want to submit a story? Get me at coman[AT]jaxenter.com or linkedin.com/in/comanhamilton
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