Nginx Commercial Web Server LaunchedOpen source Web server provider Nginx has become the second most popular Web server in the world, and now it's launching a commercial version called Nginx Plus.

Mobile Usage Driving Nginx Growth

Nginx has steadily grown since 2008 to over 100 million websites, and as the above image shows, it's now the second most popular Web server in the world next to Apache. All of that growth has been with its open source product, and now Nginx Plus, the company's commercial version that includes professional services is about to launch.

One of the reasons for Nginx's rise in popularity is that it is uniquely architected to support mobile applications, Ted Schadler wrote on his Forrester blog back in June. Mobile apps don't interface with Web servers in the same way as a regular website. They use API's that have to send multiple signals back and forth to the server for connections, and that means much higher activity levels that with websites.

Web servers often use a three tier architecture, but mobile requires a four tier structure, and Nginx lives inside that four tier structure, Schadler wrote.

"Nginx is a symbol of a massive pivot in technology platforms from three tier Web to four tier engagement," Schadler wrote.

The four tier architecture Forrester has outlined consists of service, aggregation, delivery and client, and Nginx is part of the delivery portion. Forrester refers to this as an engagement platform, and under this model, the delivery portion is separate from aggregation. The reason for that is for improved delivery of decent performance over slow carrier networks, dealing with multiple operating systems and those busy REST APIs, Schadler noted.

Nginx Plus for HTTP Proxy, Load Balancing

So Nginx is already scaling the mountain of mobile data, but with Nginx Plus, the company will include configuration and performance tuning, performance optimization and technical account management via commercial subscriptions. Those are the advanced features, and standard features include application health checking, commercial grade activity monitoring, advanced load balancing, high availability, adaptive media streaming and more.

It's a unified HTTP proxy, edge cache and origin server in a software only package, and it runs on 35% of the 10,000 busiest sites.