What is Load Balancing?

"Too much traffic? Learn how to distribute the load among various servers with load balancing."

Any website or service provider cannot function with a single system or component. In the current era, every website receives an enormous number of requests and inquiries from users, customers, and clients. It is impossible to manage everything on your own.

This is where load balancing is of major help. So basically load balancing is nothing but the practice of sharing and distributing network traffic or workload to two or more components.

Not just sharing, you can also resolve any issues that the server is experiencing by implementing load balancing in your workspace. The most significant aspect of load balancing is that even if one component fails to work it will be resolved by other components.

What is a Load Balancer?

The servers or components that are used for load balancing are known as load balancers. Their load balancers do the work of dividing the workload and sharing it among the rest of the servers present.

It is a necessity to implement load balancers in order to distribute work evenly across various applications and prevent interruptions. Load balancers handle requests, optimize the work of the application, and offer an effective workflow.

How does Load Balancing work?

There isn't any specific device or component to implement load balancing. The tools used for load balancing can be hardware, software, or a virtual machine, but all devices do the same work of separating the data evenly.

When a user opens a browser or a website, the request is passed on to the load balancers. On receiving the signal, the request is transformed and gets distributed to various locations and servers.

Another major work of the load balancers is to also check the functioning of the servers when requests are passed to the components. Occasionally, the servers cannot handle all requests. In these cases, the load balancer should forward them to other servers to ensure that the server is able to function properly.

Types of Load Balancing

Based on the type of load balancing application, you can have two types,

  1. Software load balancing: To distribute requests and traffic, load balancers use different characteristics such as IP addresses, HTTP headers, and so on.

    A software load balancer integrates the speed of the servers and workloads in such a way that no server is overloaded. Hence, the system will never fail and will function smoothly throughout the whole process.

  2. Hardware load balancing: This type of load balancing uses hardware devices that use special operating systems and servers to distribute the load of the components. All basic load balancing components are included in this category.

    Hardware load balancers are commonly used in global server load balancing, where the load balancers are located at multiple locations for faster and more efficient active performance.

What are the benefits of Load Balancing?

Load balancing is primarily concerned with separating and distributing the workload of the systems. By doing so, the traffic gets reduced and you can expect a more organized workflow in your organization. Load balancing application offers benefits like,

  • Reduce traffic: The main problem most websites experience is traffic. When multiple users enter the website and send requests there are possibilities for the website to crash. Load balancing will help in distributing the requests to multiple servers and thus helps in reducing the traffic.

  • Store data effectively: These load balancing applications also help in the storage of the information and data. At times load balancers can also act as distributed systems by storing the data that is received.

  • Highly flexible: Distributing the incoming traffic to multiple locations, reduces the chaos that is present in a single system. When the work is evenly distributed, you can have a more flexible and smooth workspace.

  • Reduced downtime: When the system or server is flooded with requests and traffic, the system starts to function slowly. During the time the server is down, users will not be able to use it for a period of time. When the work is distributed, there won't be any issue with the system and the downtime will be reduced.

Load Balancing Algorithms

Load balancing applications function on certain algorithms and have a few criteria for effective functioning. To mention a few algorithms we employ:

  1. Round Robin: This is the default and basic form of load balancing algorithm. It is a method of rotating requests between servers as its name suggests. The requests are sent in a rotator fashion and this makes sure that every server resolves the equal number of requests.

  2. IP hash: This method uses the IP address of the user when they enter the website. Based on the IP address of the client and the server a unique hash key is created, which is utilized to direct the information to various servers.

  3. Least Connections: The objective of load balancers is to equally distribute the workload and this least connection algorithm does that right. When a server is seen with the least number of requests, then the algorithm navigates the other requests to that particular server.

  4. Least Response time: This algorithm distributes the requests in such a way that each server gets the least number of requests and experiences a low response time to complete the request.


The organization and distribution of workloads are essential for the effective functioning of systems, and load balancers and their applications are a huge help to accomplish this.

As mentioned in this article, these servers help in distributing the workload so that there isn't any pile-up at the end. Business and web designers are constantly dealing with a huge number of requests and a high amount of traffic.

To efficiently organize this mess, you can implement load balancing and get your work distributed to multiple servers in an effective manner.

Further Reading

  1. What are the most common web application issues that you might face day-to-day in your application?
  2. What is an Apdex score?
  3. OSI Model: Layers and its functions

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