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Kong: An API Management Solution Powered by Nginx

Kong is the King Kong of the APIs. It is one of the greatest tools for developers who need to work with API management. Kong is open source, scalable, modular, and runs on any kind of infrastructure. Kong has been powering great dev projects like Mashape (the world largest API Marketplace) for years. Best of all, Kong is powered by the almighty Nginx.

Main features of Kong

  • Kong is Scalable: It can scale horizontally without problems by just adding more server instances, allowing you to support more traffic while keeping low levels of network latency.
  • Kong Runs Anywhere: It can be deployed on private or public clouds on single or multi-data-center environments. It also supports most popular OS, like Linux, Mac and Windows. Kong includes a lot of helpful how-to’s to get it installed and configured for most modern platforms.
  • Kong is Modular: It works with new plugins to extend basic functionality. Integrate your API with many different plugins to enhance Security, Analytics, Authentication, Logging and/or Monitoring. One of the best examples is the Nginx Plus plugin,, which provides live server monitoring to get metrics and stats about load and requests.
  • Open Source & Enterprise: While Kong is open source and available for free to everybody, you can also get the Enterprise version, which offers fast support via email, phone and chat, Initial setup, migrations from 3rd party API Management Tools, Emergency Patches, Hot fixes and more.
Kong Api Management Solution

Kong API Management Solution

How does it work?

Kong works with two different components:

  1. Nginx: Kong uses a modified version of the Nginx web server as a proxy server, which is the one that processes API requests.
  2. Apache Cassandra: This is used as a Datastore server to store data from Kong operations.

Who’s using it?

Mashape has been using Kong for a long time to power their API Marketplace. MaxCDN also uses Mashape with their Infinite Malware Scanner, used to detect malware on their CDN network.

How can you install Kong on Ubuntu and CentOS?

Kong runs anywhere, including the two most popular Linux distributions: Ubuntu and CentOS.

Ubuntu installation:

  1. Get package from:
  2. Update and install pre-requisites, then install Kong:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netcat lua5.1 openssl libpcre3 dnsmasq
sudo dpkg -i kong-0.5.2.*.deb

CentOS installation: 

  1. Get package from:
  2. Install pre-required EPEL repo and necessary packages:
sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install kong-0.5.2.*.noarch.rpm --nogpgcheck

Make sure to Install Apache Cassandra and update your file /etc/kong/kong.yml.

Start Kong:

kong start

Testing Kong:

Make sure Kong is running using curl:


Further reading

If you are a developer who uses API on your apps and you are interesting in learning more about Kong, see the links below:


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Esteban Borges

Linux Geek, Webperf Addict, Nginx Fan. CTO @Infranetworking