While nginx capitalizes on the demand for its high performance, recently overtaking Microsoft with its install base, its own name has also had a tendency to be capitalized. Originally called nginx, the server is today used by several commercial products that have rebranded it as NGINX. This has led to much confusion over how the name of this server should be stylised.
nginx is consistently written in lowercase on the nginx.org website – even when it is used to start a sentence, like in this paragraph. The original author of nginx, Igor Sysoev, also writes the server’s name in lowercase on his own website; but most notably, the name also appears in lowercase in the HTTP Server headers of the 447 million sites that run nginx today:
HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: nginx/1.13.7 Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:45:38 GMT Content-Type: text/html;charset=utf-8 Content-Length: 287521 Connection: keep-alive Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Language: utf-8 Last-Modified: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:45:38 GMT
Conversely, NGINX Inc. – which provides commercial support for nginx – stylizes the name of the open source server as NGINX. To add an earlier alternative into the mix, the company previously clarified that its own name was Nginx and that the server was NGINX; but it has since adopted the NGINX stylization for the name of its company, too.
The fully-capitalized NGINX name could become a more prominent term as time goes by, especially with the new NGINX Unit product being announced on nginx.org. Similarly-branded products supported by NGINX Inc. are NGINX Plus (a software load balancer, web server and content cache built on top of the open source nginx server), the NGINX Controller monitoring and management platform, the NGINX Amplify SaaS-based monitoring tool, and the NGINX WAF (web application firewall).
nginx has also been referred to as nginx, Nginx and NGINX by Cloudflare, which uses a modified version to optimize the delivery of its customers’ websites; but notably, the most recent articles on the Cloudflare blog have trended towards using the fully-capitalised name. Cloudflare also ditched the lowercase nginx from its server name recently, renaming it from cloudflare-nginx to just cloudflare, although this change was merely intended to reflect the lesser role that nginx now plays in Cloudflare’s software stack.
Also bear in mind that the fully-capitalised NGINX Inc. was co-founded in 2011 by nginx’s original author, who currently serves as its CTO. This could be viewed as tacit approval of the uppercase variant, but the lowercase nginx name remains far more visible today: Wix, WordPress, Groupon, Zendesk, Adobe, OpenDNS and Buzzfeed are among those listed as NGINX customers, but all of their NGINX-powered sites exhibit the lowercase
nginx in Server headers.
NGINX Inc. further dilutes its branding by calling its annual NGINX user conference nginx.conf, mimicking the name of nginx’s main configuration file. These lowercase legacies of nginx are likely to manifest themselves for some time yet.
With no canonical naming conventions apparent, Netcraft will continue to use the lowercase nginx to refer to the open source nginx server, as well as the group of products closely based on it (including NGINX Plus and, until recently, cloudflare-nginx). The uppercase NGINX will be used to describe products and services that are exclusively provided by NGINX Inc.