Varnish Caching vs. NGINX Caching
With speed of the website becoming an important requirement for a good user experience and SEO, many site owners deploy various tools and techniques to improve the page load speeds of the websites. While keeping a clean site code, image optimization, and integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN) are some of the ways to help improve the speed, caching software can make a marked difference in speeds. In this article, we are going to look at two major caching solutions – Varnish Cache and NGINX Caching.
What is Varnish Cache?
Varnish Cache is a caching HTTP reverse proxy or a front-end web accelerator which allows site owners to offer 33-1000 times faster page load speeds. It allows caching content between the user and the server, of both static and dynamic types. Varnish Cache also enables developers to set rules and policies through its flexible programming language – Varnish Configuration Language or VCL. This gives developers a great amount of control over how and what gets cached. It is used by websites like Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, etc.
What is NGINX Caching?
First released in 2004, NGINX is an open-source web server which can be used as a:
- Reverse proxy
- Mail proxy
- HTTP Cache
- Load Balancer
It is known for improving the speed and overall performance of the website especially when it comes to handling multiple applications. This has made it popular with some of the most famous websites.
Varnish Cache vs. NGINX Cache
While there are many similarities between Varnish and NGINX, let’s look at the features that make them different:
|Features||Varnish Cache||NGINX Caching|
|Edge Side Includes or ESI Support||Yes||No|
|Native Secure Sockets Layer or SSL Support||No||Yes|
|Flexibility||Varnish Cache allows developers to create a complex and tailored caching structure.||NGINX does not offer the same amount of flexibility as Vanish Cache.|
|Purging Content||It has a built-in mechanism allowing you to purge content when needed.||NGINX Operation Support System (OSS) does not have this feature. However, NGINX Plus allows you to purge content.|
|Static Content Management||Varnish is not as efficient as NGINX since it might require the addition of new technologies for the same.||NGINX is known to manage static content more efficiently especially when the static files are stored on the same server as NGINX.|
Overall, Varnish Cache is primarily a web cache offering more advanced cache-specific features than NGINX. On the other hand, NGINX works as a true cache server when placed between the user and the web server.
We didn’t compare the speeds of these two caching solutions because the output is in the same range. Remember, there is no perfect caching solution for all websites. Every site is different and you need to find the solution that works best for you. Many Cloud Hosting providers integrate cache servers as a part of their hosting plans. You might want to check with your provider if he offers Varnish or NGINX Caching and give it a try. A lot depends on the speed of your website – choose carefully. Good Luck!