Serving static files is the native behavior of nginx, and when we use
gateway for scripting, it needs more works by nginx. Thus, loading a php
file should take more time than loading an image file.
I compare the speed of loading an image file with serving via php by
Surprisingly (at least to me), the speed of loading the image via php
was 50 - 70% faster than loading the original image file directly. What
is the reason for this peculiar behavior?
I tested with Pingdom. The difference was in Receive step, which is
associated with downloading the data.
Posted at Nginx Forum: