Web server is used to store the website’s files and broadcast them to people accessing it, while load balancer is a software or hardware used to efficiently distributing incoming network traffic across a group of backend servers. The example of web server and load balancer is NGINX and Haproxy, for those who are still confuse whether they are the same or not, go ahead and read our article below.
In this article we are going to give you information about:
– What is Haproxy and NGINX
– What Haproxy and NGINX can offer to you
– Haproxy vs NGINX
According from Wikipedia, Haproxy is a free to use, open source software that is able to provide a high availability load balancer and proxy server for TCP and HTTP-based applications that spreads request across multiple servers at the same time. The load balancer was written in C, which is known to have a good reputation for being fast and high efficiency in the terms of memory and processor usage. Currently, Haproxy is being used by many high profiles websites, such as Reddit, Speedtest.net, Tumblr, GoDaddy, GitHub, Twitter, Tuenti, Bitbucket, and Stack Overflow. It also used by OpsWorks product from Amazon Web Services.
Haproxy people are stated by many people to be the best option for high traffic websites. Haproxy uses single process and event driven models to handle incoming connections to minimize resource utilization-sparing RAM and CPU consumption. Haproxy allows its users to choose select standby servers, by simply adding IPTable rules to redirect traffic, the standby servers can sub in when the primary server needs to reboot, so your website won’t be shut down and risking its reputation. Extra security is provided by Haproxy by redirecting HTTP traffic to HTTPS. With the “checkpoints”, Haproxy will scanned memory start from the checkpoint and not the beginning. Haproxy can be configured with several load balancing algorithms or configurations.
NGINX is an open source, free to use web server thaw was created or written by Igor Sysoev and released to public since 2004 and in 2011, a company with the same name was founded to provide support. NGINX ability is not limited to web serve only, but it also used as reverse proxy, load balancer, and HTTP cache. NGINX is released with BSD-like license, so it is available for everybody. NGINX is often used by a large fraction of web servers to be used as load balancer. Currently, NGINX is the second most popular web server used in the world across all “active” sites. This web servers is used by 27.83% top million busiest sites, according to Netcraft November 2016 Web Server Survey.
NGINX features were designed initially to provide a high amount of concurrent connections and consume less hardware resources, it also proven to be twice the speed of Apache, which is currently the world most famous open source web server. NGINX has built in some useful performance enhancing tools like native reverse proxy support, advanced caching techniques, which able to convert proxied dynamic content to static content for faster caching, and the best of them all is the user friendly built in load balancing. If you are interested on other web server, you can read our article on NGINX vs Apache here.
When comparing both of Haproxy and NGINX, deciding which one to choose is quite hard, since both of them have similar load balancing features. The main advantage of Haproxy is the simplicity and single purpose of load balancing traffic that will result on stability. However, Haproxy doesn’t have the web server capability, which is good and not good, depending whether you need a web server or not. There are also no rules, you can’t use Haproxy together with NGINX. When you use them together, even in the same host, you will get a benefit in case NGINX is down, HAproxy continues to proxy request from other host.
Haproxy vs NGINX
|- Is an open source load balancer||- Is an open source web server|
|- Doesn’t have the ability of web server||- Also have load balancing feature|
|- Perform better in load balancing than NGINX||- Perform less in load balancing than Haproxy|
In our opinion, choosing between both relied on your need, if the one you need is web server then you should opt for NGINX, but if you only need a load balancer Haproxy is a great option to pick.