2014: Ringing it in by migrating from Apache to Nginx

Happy new year everybody. 2013 was brutal, but I think 2014 will be much better.

I’ve spent the past week moving this website from a provider based in the UK to one based in the US of A. Moving from a fully-managed provider to a self-managed system was not as easy as I thought, but the process is almost complete. The core (the website) has been moved, but moving the email system is still a work in progress.

Until yesterday, this website was running on a Enterprise Red Hat based distribution using the Apache Web server. Today, it’s brought to you on the Nginx Web server. For me, what that means is a faster and more responsive website, and one that’s not as expensive to maintain.

Like most people in this space, I’ve long known about Nginx, but until last week, I’ve never used or even installed it on any of my test servers. I’ve read about how Nginx is like the Xfce desktop of Web servers – in terms of resource usage, but until I actually saw it in action, what I knew about it was second-hand knowledge.

Now I know. When it comes to resource usage, Nginx is stingy – in a positive sense. And when it comes to loading Web pages fast, it beats Apache by a mile. And I am still tuning it.

The experience of migrating from Apache to Nginx is worth at least three articles, and I will post a step-by-step tutorial of how to do it, for the benefit of those who might want to do the same thing. For the record, this website and another one, is running on a DigitalOcean Droplet that’s using less than 512 MB of RAM. What’s more impressive is that php5-fpm has not been optimized, so it’s using up more CPU and RAM than it’s supposed to.

So there you have it, I celebrated the last day of 2013 by migrating from Apache to Nginx. If you must do the same, consider an account at DigitalOcean. For $5 a month, you get a VPS server with 512 MB of RAM and 20 GB of SSD storage. And if you sign up with this referral link, you help to keep the website afloat.
DigitalOcean SSD droplet

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2 Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing your howtos. I’ve been testing nginx on my dev server before rolling it out for my prod web sites.

    Sadly, I’m having issues fixing the rewrites and things for wordpress. I’d like to see how you did it all.

    Thanks!

    -Matt

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