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Caddy vs nginx: What are the differences?

Caddy and nginx are both popular web servers that offer various features and capabilities. Here are the key differences that set them apart.

  1. Easy Configuration: Caddy focuses on simplicity and ease of use, providing a user-friendly approach to configuration. It automatically generates SSL certificates and supports HTTPS by default. On the other hand, nginx requires manual configuration for SSL certificates and HTTPS setup.

  2. Automatic HTTPS: Caddy has built-in support for automatic HTTPS through its ACME-based integration. This means that it can automatically obtain and renew SSL certificates without any extra configuration. In contrast, nginx requires additional plugins or modules to enable automatic HTTPS.

  3. Web Server vs. Reverse Proxy: Caddy is primarily designed as a full-featured web server, capable of handling static content, dynamic content, and reverse proxying. It can serve and proxy HTTP and HTTPS requests. Nginx, on the other hand, is primarily known as a high-performance reverse proxy server. It excels at forwarding and load balancing requests to backend servers.

  4. Configuration Languages: Caddy uses a simple, human-readable configuration format inspired by the Caddyfile, which makes it easier for users to understand and modify. In contrast, nginx uses a more complex configuration language that requires a steeper learning curve for beginners.

  5. Extensibility: Nginx has been around for a longer time and has a vast ecosystem of modules and plugins developed by the community. It offers more flexibility and extensibility options, allowing advanced customization and integration with other systems. Caddy, although it supports plugins, has a more limited selection compared to nginx.

  6. Resource Usage: Caddy is aimed at being resource-friendly, designed to use fewer system resources such as CPU and memory compared to nginx. This can be advantageous in scenarios where efficiency and performance are crucial, particularly in low-resource environments.

In summary, Caddy emphasizes simplicity, automatic HTTPS, and ease of configuration, while nginx offers a more comprehensive set of features, extensibility options, and is well-suited for reverse proxying.

Advice on Caddy and NGINX

I am diving into web development, both front and back end. I feel comfortable with administration, scripting and moderate coding in bash, Python and C++, but I am also a Windows fan (i love inner conflict). What are the votes on web servers? IIS is expensive and restrictive (has Windows adoption of open source changed this?) Apache has the history but seems to be at the root of most of my Infosec issues, and I know nothing about nginx (is it too new to rely on?). And no, I don't know what I want to do on the web explicitly, but hosting and data storage (both cloud and tape) are possibilities. Ready, aim fire!

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Replies (1)
Simon Aronsson
Developer Advocate at k6 / Load Impact · | 4 upvotes · 667.2K views
Recommends
on
NGINXNGINX

I would pick nginx over both IIS and Apace HTTP Server any day. Combine it with docker, and as you grow maybe even traefik, and you'll have a really flexible solution for serving http content where you can take sites and projects up and down without effort, easily move it between systems and dont have to handle any dependencies on your actual local machine.

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Needs advice
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server
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NGINXNGINX

From a StackShare Community member: "We are a LAMP shop currently focused on improving web performance for our customers. We have made many front-end optimizations and now we are considering replacing Apache with nginx. I was wondering if others saw a noticeable performance gain or any other benefits by switching."

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Replies (3)
Recommends
on
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I use nginx because it is very light weight. Where Apache tries to include everything in the web server, nginx opts to have external programs/facilities take care of that so the web server can focus on efficiently serving web pages. While this can seem inefficient, it limits the number of new bugs found in the web server, which is the element that faces the client most directly.

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Leandro Barral
Recommends
on
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I use nginx because its more flexible and easy to configure

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Christian Cwienk
Software Developer at SAP · | 1 upvotes · 635.4K views
Recommends
on
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

I use Apache HTTP Server because it's intuitive, comprehensive, well-documented, and just works

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Decisions about Caddy and NGINX
Grant Steuart
  • Server rendered HTML output from PHP is being migrated to the client as Vue.js components, future plans to provide additional content, and other new miscellaneous features all result in a substantial increase of static files needing to be served from the server. NGINX has better performance than Apache for serving static content.
  • The change to NGINX will require switching from PHP to PHP-FPM resulting in a distributed architecture with a higher complexity configuration, but this is outweighed by PHP-FPM being faster than PHP for processing requests.
  • The NGINX + PHP-FPM setup now allows for horizontally scaling of resources rather vertically scaling the previously combined Apache + PHP resources.
  • PHP shell tasks can now efficiently be decoupled from the application reducing main application footprint and allow for scaling of tasks on an individual basis.
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Pros of Caddy
Pros of NGINX
  • 6
    Easy HTTP/2 Server Push
  • 6
    Sane config file syntax
  • 4
    Builtin HTTPS
  • 2
    Letsencrypt support
  • 2
    Runtime config API
  • 1.4K
    High-performance http server
  • 893
    Performance
  • 730
    Easy to configure
  • 607
    Open source
  • 530
    Load balancer
  • 289
    Free
  • 288
    Scalability
  • 226
    Web server
  • 175
    Simplicity
  • 136
    Easy setup
  • 30
    Content caching
  • 21
    Web Accelerator
  • 15
    Capability
  • 14
    Fast
  • 12
    High-latency
  • 12
    Predictability
  • 8
    Reverse Proxy
  • 7
    The best of them
  • 7
    Supports http/2
  • 5
    Great Community
  • 5
    Lots of Modules
  • 5
    Enterprise version
  • 4
    High perfomance proxy server
  • 3
    Embedded Lua scripting
  • 3
    Streaming media delivery
  • 3
    Streaming media
  • 3
    Reversy Proxy
  • 2
    Blash
  • 2
    GRPC-Web
  • 2
    Lightweight
  • 2
    Fast and easy to set up
  • 2
    Slim
  • 2
    saltstack
  • 1
    Virtual hosting
  • 1
    Narrow focus. Easy to configure. Fast
  • 1
    Along with Redis Cache its the Most superior
  • 1
    Ingress controller

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Cons of Caddy
Cons of NGINX
  • 3
    New kid
  • 10
    Advanced features require subscription

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What is Caddy?

Caddy 2 is a powerful, enterprise-ready, open source web server with automatic HTTPS written in Go.

What is NGINX?

nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 30.46% of the top million busiest sites in Jan 2018.

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What are some alternatives to Caddy and NGINX?
Traefik
A modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes deploying microservices easy. Traefik integrates with your existing infrastructure components and configures itself automatically and dynamically.
HAProxy
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Envoy
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Git
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
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