Apache vs. NGINX Raspberry PI: Which Web Server is Better?

About Apache vs. NGINX Raspberry PI. Every computer has a web server for accessing internet content, and the Raspberry PI is no different. But choosing one for your PI board is challenging and requires shifting through multiple options.

And it’s hard to choose one of the popular options because of the comparison: Apache vs. NGINX Raspberry PI.

In truth, Apache and NGINX feature immense benefits you may find tricky to choose. But that’s why we’re here.

This article will dissect the properties of these web servers and reveal the better option. We’ll also explore if you can combine both to reap all the advantages.

Table of Contents

What is an Apache HTTP Server?

Raspberry PI connected to display

Raspberry PI connected to display

First, Apache is an open-source, cross-platform HTTP web server on Raspberry PI that you can also call “httpd.” In 1994, Tim Berners Lee developed it, and the web server became popular afterward.

The Apache Software Foundation runs and regularly maintains the web server to ensure it stays optimal. Further, an open community of developers under APS is responsible for the maintenance and update process.

In addition, the server primarily operates on Linux, and it powers about 46% of the global websites on the internet. Also, it’s a vital section of the Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP (LAMP) stack.

What is an NGINX Web Server?

Man working on raspberry pi

Man working on raspberry pi

Although NGINX is not as old as Apache (released in 2004), Igor Sysoev had more in mind than “just a web server” when he developed this web server.

In truth, NGINX is more popular than its predecessor for several reasons. First off, most programmers use the web server as an Apache supplement.

Also, NGINX has evolved from helping serve static files to becoming an entire web server that handles a full spectrum of server tasks.

In addition, most people use it as a reverse proxy, HTTP cache, mail proxy, and load balancer.

Apache vs. NGINX: The Differences

Although Apache and NGINX share many similarities, they have many differences. In short, each one shows extreme prowess in its specific applications and scenarios.

Nevertheless, let’s explore the differences and determine the best overall.

Basic Architecture

The primary difference between Apache and NGINX is their design architecture. As a result, they handle connections and traffic & respond to various conditions differently.

You’ll experience a multi-threaded (process-driven) approach with Apache, providing various processing modules. Further, the pre-modules comprise three types of request-handling algorithms, each for individual service needs.

In addition, these multi-processing modules offer flexible architectures for selecting various connections and algorithms. Apache’s three primary MPM include pre-fork (process), worker, and event.

Note: Apache always creates a new thread to handle individual connection requests. Unfortunately, its basic architecture requires heavy resource consumption, leading to slow server speeds.

On the other hand, NGINX uses an event-driven architecture, dealing with all requests asynchronously.

And the design revolves around event-driven connection handling algorithms, allowing the server to process thousands of connections in a single processing thread.

NGINX’s unique connection also allows it to work quickly with limited resources.

The best part is the web server works on low-power systems and variants that perform under heavy loads. Hence, NGINX is a better option regarding architecture.


Regarding performance, both web servers handle static and dynamic content differently. So let’s take a closer look.

Static Content

Apache utilizes a file-based method to serve static content. But NGINX’s design architecture makes it 2.5x faster than its predecessor.

Why? NGINX has better features helping to handle the load, making the server faster for serving static content.

While Apache handles all its request via PHP, NGINX skips the process, making it more effective and less demanding on system resources.

Dynamic Content

Apache doesn’t need external components to process dynamic content. Instead, it can do it within the web server.

However, the process is different for NGINX. It can’t process dynamic content within the web server. So, it passes it out to external processes for execution, like PHP-FPM, and delivers the final content to the client.

Alternatively, NGINX can serve dynamic content with FastCGI modules and SCGI handlers.

OS Support

Apache offers support for all Unix-like operating systems, like BSD and Linux. And it fully supports Microsoft Windows.

Contrarily, NGINX doesn’t support all Unix-like OS, but it can run on most modern variants. Unfortunately, it also offers partial Windows support. Therefore, NGINX won’t provide a strong Windows performance.


With Apache, you can easily customize your web server through dynamic modules. And all apache models support this feature.

However, most NGINX models don’t offer enough flexibility to support dynamic loading and modules. Although the web server supported dynamic module loading in early 2016, the update is yet to reflect across all variants.


Apache provides incredible security, ensuring all websites you run on its server stay protected from hackers and dangerous malware. In addition, the web server offers DDoS attack handling and a mod_evasive module for hacking situations.

On the other hand, NGINX offers even better security. However, it comes with a smaller codebase. Also, the web server provides a compilation of any recent security advisories.


Apache offers commercial support through various third-party companies, like OpenLogic. The Apache Foundation maintains no official list but still provides incredible server support.

NGINX provides community support via mailing lists, forums, and Stack Overflows. Also, the company managing the server offers NGINX plus, a commercial product with support for extra features.

Further, these additional features are handy for load-balancing, media streaming, and monitoring.

Which One is the Best?

Well, it’s hard to pinpoint which web server offers the best service. NGINX is great but falls short in areas like flexibility and OS support. So, if that doesn’t bother you, NGINX is your go-to server for Raspberry PI.

But, if you’re keen on OS support and flexibility, you should work with Apache. In short, it all depends on your preferences.

Can you Use Apache and NGINX Together?

Yes! You can merge both web servers and enjoy each one’s strengths while eliminating the weaknesses. This combination would use NGINX for fast processing speed and Apache for powerful modules.

One way to utilize both software is by placing NGINX as a reverse proxy before Apache because it can handle hundreds of concurrent connections.

In addition, using this common practice will allow NGINX to handle all client requests.

For instance, if a client requests static content, NGINX will serve the files directly. But in the case of dynamic content, NGINX will forward it to Apache for processing before transferring the final results.

Lastly, using both Apache and NGINX can prevent some blocking, helping to boost server performance. Usually, it happens when an Apache thread remains occupied for extended periods.

When to Choose Apache over NGINX?

Certain situations can help you determine the best web server for your Raspberry PI. For example, if you plan on working with .htaccess, you should opt for Apache.

NGINX doesn’t support Apache’s .htaccess file, and using Apache will give non-privileged users control over critical segments of the website.

However, be rest assured that users won’t have permission to edit the main configuration.

So, if you don’t fancy NGINX’s functionality limitations, go for Apache instead.

When to Choose NGINX over Apache?

NGINX is your best pick if you’re looking for fast static content processing. And it’s because the web server can handle serving static files from a specific directory better than Apache.

Also, most developers prefer NGINX because it’s lightweight and perfect for managing server resources.

In Summary

Apache and NGINX are excellent web servers for Raspberry PI. But Apache is your best option if you need a wide range of modules. Also, if scalability and speed are a priority, you can’t go wrong with NGINX.

Further, you can combine NGINX and Apache if you want both benefits. 

Do you have more questions? Feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.