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Nginx 1.6 now ready for download

HTTP and reverse proxy server used by over 15% of all sites undergoes a series of SSL updates, as well as a few network protocol tweaks.

Version 1.6 of HTTP and reverse proxy server Nginx is now fully cooked and ready for download. The new release has a series of SSL improvements, as well as new additions to support the network protocol SPDY 3.1.

Nginx (pronounced “engine X”) operates under a BSD-like license and is used, among other things by WordPress and Netflix.  Streaming billions of hours of video every month, sites like Netflix are dependant on the scalability and high performance of Nginx to feed the appetites of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer binging masses.

The open-source Apache replacement, created by Igor Sysoev in 2002, now runs on around 15% of all sites, favoured by many for its ability to handle large amounts of traffic. Around 40% of the 12 million sites using Amazon cloud computing  also rely on Nginx. It’s already used as a load balancer by WordPress and Instagram, overtaking Microsoft IIS as the second-most used server in the world in recent years.

Other notable users include GitHub, Facebook, Groupon and Dropbox. In addition to the open-source version, there’s also a commercial version of Nginx available – Nginx Plus. Within this premium offering, key selling points include the ability to make changes to a live server’s configuration, JSON-formatted performance metrics and New Relic-integrated “health checks” to uncover any performance issues.

Performance metrics can be exported elsewhere or to a custom HTML/JS page, although Nginx comes with a built-in monitoring dashboard, too. In addition, an automatic health check watches for unexpected changes in page size and other abnormalities.

Nginx is frequently used as a load balancer, and the promotional material claims that the addition of “advanced load balancing” allows for a “fully converged HTTP proxy solution with request routing, load balancing, SSL termination and edge caching”.

Work is already underway on version 1.7 of the software. More information, as well as download links to the latest offering, can be found here on the project page.

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