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Elton Stoneman
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Hot on the heels of my .NET caching course, I’ve had my first “fundamentals” course released on Pluralsight: Nginx and PHP Fundamentals.

It’s a practical look at two of the biggest technologies on the web – Nginx, which is the fastest growing HTTP server around (currently hosting 100+ million sites), and PHP, which powers more websites than any other server-side framework (currently 240+ million sites).

The two technologies work well together, both are open-source and cross-platform and both are lightweight and easy to get started with - you just need to download and unzip the runtimes, and with a text editor you can create and host dynamic websites.

I’ve used PHP as a second (sometimes third) language since 2005 when I was brought cold into an established codebase to help improve performance, and Nginx to host tier 2 apps for the last couple of years. As with any training course, you learn new things as you produce it, and it was good to focus on a different stack from my commercial .NET world.

In the course I start with a website in two parts – one which is just static content, and one which processes a user registration form using ASP.NET MVC, both running in IIS. Over four modules I migrate the app to Nginx and PHP:

  • Hosting Static Content in Nginx – how to deploy and configure Nginx for a basic website;
  • PHP Part 1: Basic Web Forms – installing PHP and an IDE, and building a simple form with server-side validation;
  • PHP Part 2: Packages and Integration – using PECL and Composer for packages to connect to Azure, AWS, Mongo and reCAPTCHA;
  • Hosting PHP in Nginx – configuring Nginx to host our PHP site.

Along the way I run some performance stats with JMeter, and the headlines are that Nginx running on Linux outperforms IIS on Windows for static content,by 800 requests per second over 1000 concurrent requests; and Linux+Ngnix+PHP outperforms Windows+IIS+ASP.NET MVC by 700 request per second with the same load. Of course, the headline stats don’t tell the whole story, and when you add OpCode caching for PHP and the ASP.NET Output Cache, the results are very different.

As Web architecture moves away from heavy server-side processing, to Single Page Apps with client-side frameworks like AngularJS and Knockout, I think there’s an increasing need for high-performance, low-cost server technologies, and the combination of Nginx and PHP makes a compelling case.

Posted on Thursday, August 1, 2013 7:29 AM Pluralsight , Nginx , PHP | Back to top

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