Modern high-traffic websites must handle hundreds of thousands, if not millions of the concurrent user or client requests when returning accurate text, images, video, or device data in a timely and consistent manner. As a result of this amount of requests, such websites might lag and eventually crash. The use of load balancers can prevent such events from occurring.
A load balancer is a system that distributes network or application traffic through several servers by acting as a reverse proxy. With a load balancer,
- User requests or network load are distributed through many servers in an optimal manner.
- Allows you to add or remove servers as needed, depending on demand.
- Sends requests to only online repositories, ensuring high availability and reliability.
So, what is Load balancing?
Load balancing is the process of evenly spreading incoming network traffic among a collection of backend servers, often referred to as a server farm or server pool. As the name implies, it is a process of balancing the load on a server, and load in this context refers to requests.
Some several techniques or algorithms can be utilized depending on their use. Some of them are:
Least connection: This approach takes the actual server load into account. The latest request is forwarded to the site that has the fewest pending requests at any given time.
Hash: Requests are distributed based on a key you choose, such as the client's IP address or the file URL.
IP Hash: The client's IP address is used to decide which server will receive the message.
Why is load balancing important?
- Load balancing improves service availability and helps prevent downtimes.
- To maximize the use of resources and reduce the response time.
- A load balancer prevents the entire network from failing if a server from a server cluster fails.
- A load balancer helps to manage traffic flow on a website.
- Add flexibility to the network. For example, a site can be upgraded without downtime while using load balancers.
- It improves scalability.
- Load balancers improve the capacity of existing servers.
In conclusion, it is good practice to use and advisable to use load balancers if you plan on having a high-traffic website or application.