Nginx Plus Moves Open-Source Web Server Forward

The new commercial Web server product bundles high availability and enterprise features on top of an open-source core.

Nginx, the commercial vendor behind the open-source Nginx Web server, is growing its solution portfolio this week with the release of the Nginx Plus Web server. Nginx Plus provides a bundled package that delivers additional enterprise capabilities to organizations, including application health checking, load balancing and high availability.

The open-source Nginx Web server has emerged as one of the most popular technologies on the Web today, gaining share in a market that is still dominated by Apache. Nginx has been offering commercial support options for the open-source Nginx Web server since at least 2012.

Gus Robertson, CEO of Nginx, explained to eWEEK that the new capabilities in Nginx Plus were developed with his company's in-house engineering team. "They are additions to what is already available in the open-source product and community today," Robertson said.

Among the features in Nginx Plus are high availability and load balancing capabilities. Many users today will deploy the open-source Varnish caching technology and/or the HAProxy open-source load balancer along with Nginx.

Andrew Alexeev, co-founder of Nginx, told eWEEK that the additional features in Nginx Plus go beyond what do-it-yourself solutions for Nginx deployment might offer. "There is no question that you can do a lot yourself. You can combine Varnish and HA-proxy with Nginx, that's totally fine," Alexeev said. "But there are customers that don't want to do it themselves and want to reduce the complexity."

Basically anything that can be done with Nginx Plus, Alexeev said, users could potentially build themselves with either third-party community modules or custom code. The goal with Nginx Plus is to provide an all-in-one bundle and an optimized solution that is easier to deploy and operate.


One thing that Nginx Plus is not adding with its initial release is any additional security capabilities.

"Currently, the security is exactly the same as the security features in Nginx open source," Alexeev said. "Nothing has been removed, and nothing has been added."

Looking ahead, Alexeev said his company plans to expand the security footprint of Nginx Plus. Future capabilities might include the inclusion of a Web Application Firewall (WAF) as well as potentially some form of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation.

Open Source

While the Nginx Plus offering is a commercial product, Robertson stressed that his company is committed to open source and won't be leaving it behind.

"The fact is we are an open-source software company and we continue to build and innovate the Nginx open-source project and product," Robertson said. "In parallel, we will bring value-added modules to Nginx for our commercial customers that want those advanced features for their production environments."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.