NGINX reverse proxy as a video streaming engine

Post Written by
Jovan Damjanac

NGINX is open-source software designed as a web server in the first place to combine performance and stability. Many well-known companies are using NGINX due to its performance optimization for handling a large number of connections. The NGINX is the most reliable server with its event-driven, asynchronous architecture. It also works as a reverse proxy and loads balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP.

NGINX runs on 64bit Linux/Unix operating systems. Even though handling high traffic volume might be the main benefit of the NGINX server, it is not the only one.

Other benefits

Multiple back-end apps – traffic handling of applications is easier with the NGINX cluster. The server is used to proxy traffic for every HTTP endpoint and routing requests to proper service. Updating rules without any downtimes is also very useful.

Scalability and fault tolerance – the back-end infrastructure can be scaled enough so that removing or adding microservices will not have a negative impact on a user. If an instance failure does occur, the traffic will not be routed to that instance until it is completely recovered.

No downtime – NGINX is also known for reliability and stability. Updating or upgrading software will go smoothly without any interruption or application downtime.

Reverse proxy server

Before going any further, it is important to understand the basic difference between a proxy and a reverse proxy server. A proxy server(forward proxy) protects and "proxies" on behalf of clients. On the contrary, the reverse proxy server handles requests on behalf of servers.

The reverse proxy server is often used for load balancing to redirect the traffic if needed. Basically, other servers will handle the traffic if a server goes down. Another great thing about the reverse proxy server is the ability to speed up the traffic between clients and servers. That said, the compression of inbound and outbound data and caching content work perfectly to increase the speed. Additionally, the security improvement is noticeable against any type of attack.

Engine for video streaming

Video streaming refers to any media content delivered to devices through the internet to be played back in real-time. Both Twitch and OBS Studio provide great service for video streaming.

But what if you don't want to rely on these platforms?

NGINX is definitely worth considering. With an option to use NGINX Open Source and NGINX Plus, the video stream is stable and secure.

The RTMP (real-time messaging protocol) module is used to achieve the best quality of a stream. RTMP is a technology that enables live video streams. The main functionality is to deliver content from an encoder to an online video host. With the low-latency streaming, it works perfectly even for streaming major events.


The NGINX Plus is an advanced solution because an open-source solution is not enough for every user. NGINX Plus introduces new features like high availability, DNS system discovery, session persistence, and a REST API. It is easy to use and comes with the latest security controls and advanced monitoring.

Integrating your tools, optimizing resources, and lowering tool sprawl are guaranteed with NGINX Plus API.

NGINX vs Apache

Without any question, Apache was the best at handling web content requested by clients. Although NGINX used to be behind Apache, it is not the same today. As the web content constantly increases and requirements are growing, NGINX rose quickly with dynamic content, features, and flexibility.

The main reason for success is the developer's knowledge of Apache's most common web serving issues and technical limitations. NGINX can serve approximately 10 times requests per server with new and improved architecture. The Apache still works great as a back-end server for durability, but NGINX is the best for reverse proxy.

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