I love this server and use it a lot. Its performance and resource usage is much better than that of Apache, which I also still use but plan migrating to nginx.
- Very good tunable performance. Rich functionality. Portability.
- Module API is not documented and seems to be very verbose. See this nginx hello world moduleas example.
- Nginx does not use threads but uses multiple processes. This makes writing modules harder, need to learn nginx API for shared memory, etc.
- All server’s code is in single mongoose.c file (about 130K), no dependencies. This is good.
- One thread per connection, so if you need concurrency you’ve got to configure lots of threads, ie. high RAM usage. Not too good.
- Performance is good, although not exceptional.
- API is simple but you have to compose all response HTTP headers yourself, ie. learn HTTP protocol in detail.
- Official GNU project.
- Verbose API, seems awkward to me, although much more simple than writing nginx modules.
- Good performance in keep-alive mode (link to my benchmarks below), not so good without keep-alive.
Libevent library has built-in web server called evhttp.
- It is event based, uses libevent for that.
- Easy API. Constructs HTTP headers automatically.
- Officially single-threaded. This is major disadvantage. I’ve found a hack, which makes several instances of evhttp run simultaneously accepting connections from the same socket. Not sure if it is all safe and robust.
- Performance of single-threaded evhttp is surprisingly poor. Multi-threaded hack works better, but still not good.
G-WAN project is not open source, but I’d like to say a few words about it.
- Very good performance, low memory usage, 150 KB executable.
- Very convenient ‘servlet’ deployment: just copy .c file into csp directory, and running server automatically compiles it. Code modifications also compiled on the fly.
- Simple API. Although constrained in some ways. Rich functionality (json, key-value store, etc.).
- Unstable. I had segfaults on static files. Hangs on some sample scripts. (Experienced on clean install. Never mixed files of different versions).
- Only 32-bit binary (not anymore).
So as you can see, none of existing alternatives have fully satisfied me. So I have developed my own server, which is …
- Very good performance; see benchmarks on project page
- Can serve tens of thousands concurrent requests
- Small memory footprint
- Multi-threaded model designed to scale
- Exceptionally light code base
- Simple API
- Decent HTTP protocol handling
- Keep-alive connections
- SSL support (via GNUTLS)
- HTTP proxy (with keep-alive connection pooling)
- Non-blocking sendfile support (with configurable small file memory cache; gzip pre-encoded file serving)
- Modular design for developers
- Can be run as daemon; relaunches itself on error
- Open source
- Depends on libev library (not anymore)
- Only tested on Linux