Traefik – a great ingress controller

Traefik – a great ingress controller

In the dynamic world of web traffic management, two major players that have garnered significant attention are Traefik and NGINX. Both tools are powerful proxies and load balancers for handling web traffic but offer different approaches and features. This blog post aims to explore both Traefik and NGINX, highlighting their key features and differences and using cases to help you determine which might be best suited for your needs.

TLDR – I chose Traefik.

Introducing Traefik

Traefik is a modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes working with microservices easier. It’s known for its simplicity and automatic service discovery, often favoured in containerized environments like Docker.

Key Features of Traefik:

  1. Dynamic Configuration: Automatically detects changes in your service configuration.
  2. Simplified Service Discovery: Integrates seamlessly with popular orchestrators like Kubernetes, Docker, and Mesos.
  3. Built-In Let’s Encrypt Support: Automatically issues and renews SSL certificates.
  4. User-Friendly Dashboard: Provides a straightforward and informative interface for managing services.

Introducing NGINX

NGINX is a highly popular, open-source software for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, and more. It is known for its high performance, stability, and low resource consumption.

Key Features of NGINX:

  1. High Performance and Efficiency: Handles a large number of simultaneous connections efficiently.
  2. Flexibility: Highly customizable through configuration files.
  3. Load Balancing: Offers several load balancing methods to distribute traffic.
  4. Strong Community and Support: Extensive community support and resources.

Traefik vs NGINX: A Comparison

Ease of Configuration

  • Traefik: Excels in environments where services are frequently updated or deployed. Its dynamic configuration capability is a major strength.
  • NGINX: Requires manual configuration changes and reloads, which can be more labour-intensive, especially in dynamic environments.


  • Traefik: Offers robust performance, particularly in containerized setups.
  • NGINX: Renowned for its high performance and ability to handle many connections with minimal resource usage.


  • Traefik: Its automatic service discovery makes it an excellent choice for scalable microservices architecture.
  • NGINX: While highly scalable, it may require additional configuration management in dynamic scaling situations.

SSL/TLS Management

  • Traefik: Provides automatic SSL/TLS certificate issuance and renewal with Let’s Encrypt integration.
  • NGINX: Manages SSL/TLS but requires manual certificate setup and renewal processes.

Dashboard and Monitoring

  • Traefik: Comes with a user-friendly dashboard for real-time monitoring and management.
  • NGINX: Doesn’t include a built-in dashboard in its open-source version; monitoring requires third-party tools or the commercial NGINX Plus.

Use Cases

  • Traefik: Ideal for microservices architecture, containerized environments like Docker and Kubernetes, and scenarios where dynamic configuration is vital.
  • NGINX: Best suited for high-traffic websites, as a static web server, and in environments where custom configuration and stability are key.

I choose Traefik

Choosing between Traefik and NGINX largely depends on your specific needs and environment.

Traefik shines in dynamic, containerized environments with its ease of configuration and automatic service discovery. On the other hand, NGINX stands out for its performance, stability, and flexibility in high-traffic and complex web serving scenarios.

Both tools have unique strengths and can even be used together in complementary roles within an infrastructure. The decision comes down to aligning the tool’s capabilities with your project’s requirements.

After looking at both options, I decided to use Traefik because it is designed from the ground up to work in a container-based environment and allows for simple configuration and automatic service discovery.

Installing Traefik on Kubernetes

I have a great post on installing Traefik on Kubernetes, and it includes using cert-manager to provide valid SSL certificates, too. You can find that here: – Installing & Configuring Traefik with SSL certs


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.