Can’t afford Nginx? You have options!

Alternative Nginx SolutionsSome background info: Last month, I had a hectic schedule (that’s why no posts last month) and worked on multiple websites at the same time. A few of them were on a shared hosting environment. As you know nothing can be installed on a shared host. Rest of them were being hosted in a managed webhost. A managed host doesn’t support third party tools including Nginx & Varnish. Additionally a managed web hosting provider hardly allows an outsider to install these too. Moreover, setting up php-fpm on a managed hosting is an easy way to mess up things.

Almost all those sites had more static content than dynamic content. Basically, Nginx is known for serving static files faster than Apache (there are other advantages with Nginx too, but that’s for another day). As only Apache was available in those managed webhosts and in those shared webhosts, basically, I put forward three options to my clients to get Nginx in an affordable way …

  1. Switch to an un-managed hosting!
  2. MaxCDN
  3. CloudFlare

Un-managed Hosting

Un-managed hosting is, as the name implies, not managed by the webhosts. You buy the server, hire a sysadmin (like me) and install whatever the applications and tools you wish, such as Varnish, Nginx, php-fpm, customized MySQL server, etc. If you can afford $25 per month for your dream website, this is the easiest way to speed up your site considerably. If you can’t afford this much, you still have two more choices (actually, there are more choices, but I’d like to mention the two services that I have worked with and I’m impressed with).

MaxCDN

I have talked about it earlier. MaxCDN runs all their servers in Nginx too. Additionally you get the load balancing capability (that can’t be affordable in an un-managed hosting) for all the static files that go through MaxCDN’s content delivery network. If you can afford approximately $6 per month (or 70 per year), I’d say stop reading this now and go for it.

CloudFlare

Still here? Let me give you an overview of CloudFlare that basically runs on Nginx too. Again, it has its own CDN, a few security features, and of course some minor issues. I highly recommend CloudFlare, if your webhost is one of the certified CloudFlare hosting partners. Most importantly, it has a free plan too.

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