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JavaScript Build a Simple Dynamic Site with Node.js HTTP Methods and Headers Perfection Suggestions

Node.js vs Apache vs nginx

Having completed the basic Node.js courses, I am starting to see why it's so great. Node has obvious advantages when it comes to dynamic sites, but I'm wondering if Apache and nginx still have their place with static sites, or any other use cases. And what about PHP? Does it have much of a future?

I'd love to hear experiences, theory, and general thoughts on the relationships between these technologies, especially specific use cases people have run into where they had to choose Apache/nginx over Node.

The main difference as I see it is that Apache is thread and process based - i.e each request is handled by a separate thread or process, which means while it is processing input/output, the entire thread is blocked. Node JS has asynchronous, event driven input/output. Every nodejs instance runs in a single thread and due to its asynchronous nature, it can handle far more number of concurrent requests as compared to Apache. Node can do far more than just http web applications though, which makes it useful in a number of unique situations (ex: nodebots - robots programmed in node).

While you can do a lot of things with node, it is not the best fit for things like static sites, a CMS, a blog, or ecommerce websites. These sites don't benefit a great deal from node's asynchronous nature and it can end up being overkill. One of the best use-cases for node is for a chat room, a multiplayer real-time game, or multiple users simultaneously editing the same document (a la google docs).

Apache generally uses PHP as a scripting language, which has been around forever, is stable, and has a lot of support. If you're going to use a CMS like Wordpress, Drupal, or Joomla or really anything PHP-related, you're much better off going with Apache. Nginx is similar to apache, but it is supposed to be even faster at serving static files and its gaining in popularity.

These three are not mutually exclusive, however. Many websites have Apache an/or Nginx installed alongside node and use different servers to best serve the type of content requested. In fact, It is rare to find a website that relies solely on node to serve content in the wild.

Awesome! Thanks for that. I hadn't considered the different technologies might be used in concert.