Firstly, it’s essential to understand the primary roles of NGINX and FRP (Fast Reverse Proxy):

  1. NGINX: It’s a popular open-source web server that can also be used as a reverse proxy, load balancer, HTTP cache, and media server. It’s known for its high performance, stability, rich feature set, simple configuration, and low resource consumption.
  2. FRP (Fast Reverse Proxy): It’s a high-performance, extensible reverse proxy application that helps internet applications such as websites, games, databases, and voice services access servers in a private network directly. FRP mainly helps expose local servers to the public network.

Comparison of NGINX and FRP:

  1. Features and Functionality:
    • NGINX: It supports HTTP/2, IPv6, WebSockets, gRPC, and HTTP/3 (with the NGINX QUIC transport module). NGINX can serve static files, support SSL, and includes modules for transforming responses. It is also extensible through third-party modules.
    • FRP: It supports TCP, UDP, HTTP, HTTPS, and WebSocket. FRP has a rich plugin system and supports full cone NAT, p2p connections, session persistence, health checking, and hot reload without dropping connections.
  2. Ease of Use:
    • NGINX: It has a straightforward configuration syntax and a large community that provides plenty of documentation and examples. However, complex tasks may require significant technical expertise.
    • FRP: It is relatively easy to set up and manage, especially when exposing internal servers to the internet, even without extensive networking knowledge.

Pros and Cons when used as a Reverse Proxy or Load Balancer:

  1. NGINX:
    • Pros: High-performance load balancing (HTTP, TCP, and UDP), SSL termination, session persistence, health checks, and server name indication (SNI). It also provides fault tolerance and live activity monitoring.
    • Cons: The advanced load-balancing features are only available in the paid NGINX Plus version. Its configuration can get complex for advanced use cases.
  2. FRP:
    • Pros: Can expose any HTTP and HTTPS service behind a NAT or firewall to the internet, session persistence, and health checks. It also supports traffic multiplexing when telling multiple services on the same port.
    • Cons: Less sophisticated load balancing functionality compared to NGINX.

Usage for different protocols:

  1. HTTP & HTTPS:
    • NGINX: Excels with HTTP and HTTPS, providing a wide range of options for routing, rewriting, redirecting, and load-balancing traffic. It also offers advanced features like caching and rate limiting.
    • FRP: It can handle HTTP/HTTPS traffic without the advanced options NGINX provides.
  2. SSH:
    • NGINX: Not designed for SSH traffic.
    • FRP: It can forward SSH traffic from the public to a private network, which can help manage servers behind a NAT or firewall.
  3. WebSockets:
    • NGINX has robust WebSocket support, offering proxying and load balancing.
    • FRP: It supports WebSocket but lacks NGINX’s advanced load balancing and routing features.

Use in Cluster Environments and Scalability:

  1. NGINX: Often used in containerized environments like Kubernetes for Ingress control, an API object that manages external access to services in a cluster. NGINX is highly scalable and can handle thousands of simultaneous connections on a single instance.
  2. FRP: It can be helpful in a cluster environment when you need to expose specific internal services to the internet, but it doesn’t offer the same level of control and scalability as NGINX.


Overall, NGINX is a robust, feature-rich solution that excels in high-performance environments, complex load-balancing scenarios, and service mesh architectures. It’s ideal when advanced features like rate limiting, caching, or routing are needed.

FRP, on the other hand, shines when you need to expose internal services to the internet quickly and easily, such as a web server behind a NAT or an SSH server for remote management. It’s best suited for more straightforward scenarios where the advanced features of NGINX aren’t required.