DigitalOcean Load Balancer vs NGINX

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DigitalOcean Load Balancer vs nginx: What are the differences?


DigitalOcean Load Balancer and nginx are both popular tools used for load balancing in web applications. However, there are key differences between these two that make them suitable for different use cases. In this article, we will explore the main differences between DigitalOcean Load Balancer and nginx.

  1. Scalability: One key difference between DigitalOcean Load Balancer and nginx is their scalability. DigitalOcean Load Balancer is a managed service provided by DigitalOcean, which means that it is designed to automatically scale as the traffic to your application increases. On the other hand, nginx is a software that needs to be installed and configured on your own servers, so you will need to manually scale your infrastructure as needed.

  2. Ease of Use: When it comes to ease of use, DigitalOcean Load Balancer has an advantage over nginx. DigitalOcean Load Balancer is a fully managed service, which means that you don't need to worry about provisioning and configuring servers. All you need to do is create the load balancer, define your backend droplets, and DigitalOcean will take care of the rest. With nginx, you will need to manually set up and configure your servers, which can be more time-consuming and require more technical expertise.

  3. Features: DigitalOcean Load Balancer offers a range of features that are tailored specifically for load balancing, such as session persistence, SSL termination, and health checks. These features are built-in and can be easily configured through the DigitalOcean control panel. On the other hand, nginx is a versatile web server and reverse proxy that can also be used for load balancing. However, you will need to manually configure these features using nginx configuration files.

  4. Performance: Performance is another key difference between DigitalOcean Load Balancer and nginx. DigitalOcean Load Balancer is designed to be optimized for high-performance, with built-in load balancing algorithms and caching capabilities. It also uses SSD storage for faster I/O operations. Nginx, on the other hand, is known for its high-performance and efficiency in handling a large number of concurrent connections. It is highly configurable and optimized for performance, making it a popular choice for high-traffic websites.

  5. Cost: DigitalOcean Load Balancer is a paid service and the cost depends on the number of forwarding rules you create. The pricing starts at $10 per month. On the other hand, nginx is open-source software and free to use, which can be advantageous for smaller budgets or organizations with specific customization requirements.

  6. Flexibility: Lastly, flexibility is another important difference between DigitalOcean Load Balancer and nginx. DigitalOcean Load Balancer is a managed service with limited customization options. It provides a simple and easy-to-use interface, but it may not be suitable for complex configurations or specific use cases. On the other hand, nginx is a highly flexible tool that allows you to customize almost every aspect of its configuration. This makes it suitable for advanced load balancing configurations and more complex use cases.

In Summary, DigitalOcean Load Balancer is a managed service that offers scalability, ease of use, and built-in load balancing features, while nginx is a highly customizable software that excels in performance and flexibility. The choice between these two depends on the specific requirements of your application and your level of technical expertise.

Advice on DigitalOcean Load Balancer 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 · 659.8K views

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
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

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)

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

I use nginx because its more flexible and easy to configure

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Christian Cwienk
Software Developer at SAP · | 1 upvotes · 628.2K views
Apache HTTP ServerApache HTTP Server

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

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Pros of DigitalOcean Load Balancer
Pros of NGINX
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    • 1.4K
      High-performance http server
    • 893
    • 730
      Easy to configure
    • 607
      Open source
    • 530
      Load balancer
    • 288
    • 288
    • 225
      Web server
    • 175
    • 136
      Easy setup
    • 30
      Content caching
    • 21
      Web Accelerator
    • 15
    • 14
    • 12
    • 12
    • 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
      Reversy Proxy
    • 3
      Streaming media delivery
    • 3
      Streaming media
    • 3
      Embedded Lua scripting
    • 2
    • 2
    • 2
    • 2
      Fast and easy to set up
    • 2
    • 2
    • 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 DigitalOcean Load Balancer
    Cons of NGINX
    • 1
      No Let's Encrypt wildcard certificate support
    • 10
      Advanced features require subscription

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is DigitalOcean Load Balancer?

    Load Balancers are a highly available, fully-managed service that work right out of the box and can be deployed as fast as a Droplet. Load Balancers distribute incoming traffic across your infrastructure to increase your application's availability.

    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 companies use DigitalOcean Load Balancer?
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    What tools integrate with DigitalOcean Load Balancer?
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