How to install HAProxy with 1 click on your public Cloud

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All managers of commercial sites or applications aim to make their infrastructures secure and reliable. For this, the installation of a load balancer is essential. The best known is certainly HAProxy, a free and open source software capable of providing a high availability proxy server, for applications and commercial sites. Developed in 2001 by the Frenchman Willy Tarreau, this tool is appreciated for its speed and efficiency. Since its creation, HAProxy has been updated about ten times. We will take a closer look at its performance in this guide.

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HAProxy: A load balancer for improving your web infrastructure

HAProxy load balancer

A load balancer, is a software program that aims to distribute traffic to servers that can best meet the demand of client workstations. HAProxy was created in order to significantly improve the reliability of the infrastructures under its management. This tool aims to improve client satisfaction by avoiding bugs and breakdowns through locating healthy servers.

The reliability and efficiency of a merchant site or application can be compromised by many events: hardware failures, untimely restarts or updates, resulting in the unavailability of some servers and the inability to access the client's request.

While it is possible to install a random native load balancer, this solution does not provide an overview of servers in working order. On the other hand, this is the case with HAProxy, which is able to effectively detect servers in difficulty and distribute traffic to functional infrastructures.

Why use a load balancer?

Do you want to set up a website, or an application? In this case, whatever the precise situation, the installation of a load balancer such as HAProxy is strongly recommended. Why?

  • To direct traffic to healthy servers: as you will have understood, the objective of HAProxy is to ensure the correct state of the servers at all times. Also, it acts as a buffer between the client and the servers, in order to direct the request to functional hardware. HAProxy is able to perform tests on servers every second, using multiple methods.
  • The load balancer is less prone to failure: servers and other infrastructure components are regularly subjected to human manipulation or handling: updates, restarts, etc. There is also a high risk of breakdowns or malfunctions. While HAProxy is able to direct traffic to healthy servers, it is software that is rarely manipulated by humans. As a result, it is much less prone to breakdowns and manipulator errors.
  • A tool offering great reliability: this is what you get with HAProxy. Indeed, it is difficult to obtain good results with an "in-house" load balancer, or software that is not recommended or recognised. Moreover, it is good to know that the publishers never encourage their clients to test the new version of their software. Indeed, they know that new versions may contain bugs. Therefore, you will be using tried and tested equipment that has already proven its worth. This will help you avoid nasty surprises.
  • Fast troubleshooting: of course, a reliable and efficient load balancer, such as HAProxy, is not completely free of failures. This can happen, especially after any manipulation or handling. However, fixing bugs in a load balancer is relatively easy and fast, since it has most of the necessary information in its memory. These are not stored on the machine, so there is no need to consider migrating to another computer. All you need to do is make HAProxy redundant, a quick and easy method to resolve the failure.

HAProxy, reinforced security

Another reason why HAProxy is massively used on web infrastructures as well as on hosting providers is because of the security it is able to provide them:

  • Excellent protection for web servers: due to its proxy mode, HAProxy effectively protects web servers. It also protects them from protocol attacks. On the other hand, by setting up a HAProxy load balancer, the servers can be installed on a network that is inaccessible via the Internet. As a result, intrusions or resource thefts are unthinkable. It can therefore be said that the design of HAProxy itself already constitutes a barrier against attacks on web infrastructures.
  • Security enhancing features: in addition to its secure design, HAProxy includes essential and advanced features to effectively protect servers. The user will be able, in the event of abnormal activities on the latter, to program automatic decisions. Hosts are also able to program HAProxy, so that it can withstand attacks.
  • The balancer itself is protected against attacks: HAProxy is the first ever protection against DDoS attacks. Acting as a firewall and thanks to a well configured operating system, the software ensures increased resistance and prevents the collapse of the site concerned.

Do you need to install a load balancer to improving your web infrastructure?

As you are sure to have understood, the answer to this question is yes. Even if HAProxy is not a tool that can answer all your problems, it nevertheless ensures client satisfaction, thanks to the distribution of traffic on healthy servers that will access users' requests.

Reliable, the few breakdowns that may occur will be easily solved. On the other hand, HAProxy provides excellent protection against attacks, thanks to its construction and the various functionalities it holds.

The software is also very flexible, allowing you to provide the right answer for any situation. HAProxy offers you the opportunity to benefit from an overview of your servers and act accordingly in order to optimise your infrastructure.