NGNIX's slogan should borrow Avis's iconic tagline, "When you're number two, you try harder." While Apache is far more popular, 50.7 percent to NGINX's 14.4 percent - by Netcraft's web server count -- NGINX is trying hard with its latest update, NGINX Plus Release 6 (R6), to challenge Apache for the top spot.
Indeed, NGINX claims, based on Web Technology Surveys data that its eponymous web server "now powers nearly half of the top 10,000 sites and applications in the world." In addition, NGINX powers Netflix, Pinterest, Airbnb, and many other high-volume sites.
The open-source NGINX has been so successful because it's very fast. It also uses far fewer resources than Apache or Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). How? NGINX is event-based: It doesn't spawn new processes or threads for each Web page request. Consequently, as web server load increases, memory use remains predictable.
With this new version, NGINX introduces numerous enhancements. These include:
When you look at all these changes, it's clear that NGINX is more than just a web server. It incorporates high-availability, load-balancing, and mail server support to provide companies with a fast Internet services software stack.
As Owen Garrett, head of products at NGINX, said in a statement, "NGINX Plus R6 represents a significant technical leap in features and functionality that extend developers' capabilities and improve overall application performance. We've worked closely with customers and the community to pinpoint and address some of the most common challenges that businesses face with web application delivery, and we see the innovation behind R6 as a critical response to those challenges and emerging market needs."
At the same time, NGINX is introducing its Innovators Program. This puts the commercial version of NIGNX in the hands of developers for free, if their startup makes less than $2 million in annual revenue and less than $10 million in fund raising.
The latest open-source version, NGINX 1.7.12, is also available. It was last updated on April 7, 2015.