node.js itself or nginx frontend for serving static files?


Is there any benchmark or comparison which is faster: place nginx in front of node and let it serve static files directly or use just node and serve static files using it?

nginx solution seems to be more manageable for me, any thoughts?

4/1/2012 8:09:14 PM

Accepted Answer

I'll have to disagree with the answers here. While Node will do fine, nginx will most definitely be faster when configured correctly. nginx is implemented efficiently in C following a similar pattern (returning to a connection only when needed) with a tiny memory footprint. Moreover, it supports the sendfile syscall to serve those files which is as fast as you can possibly get at serving files, since it's the OS kernel itself that's doing the job.

By now nginx has become the de facto standard as the frontend server. You can use it for its performance in serving static files, gzip, SSL, and even load-balancing later on.

P.S.: This assumes that files are really "static" as in at rest on disk at the time of the request.

4/2/2012 9:58:07 PM

I did a quick ab -n 10000 -c 100 for serving a static 1406 byte favicon.ico, comparing nginx, Express.js (static middleware) and clustered Express.js. Hope this helps:

enter image description here

Unfortunately I can't test 1000 or even 10000 concurrent requests as nginx, on my machine, will start throwing errors.

EDIT: as suggested by artvolk, here are the results of cluster + static middleware (slower):

enter image description here

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