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5 Best Load Balancers

Posted on 8.18.2014

Load Balancing has emerged as a critical function for today's online businesses.

As website traffic and application users grow over time, Load Balancing enables organizations to cost-effectively scale their operations, while ensuring high availability and an outstanding user experience. Load Balancing tools are used to distribute traffic among servers and data centers, perform health monitoring and support disaster recovery scenarios. As the Load Balancing market evolves, a wide range of options and technologies are available - from the more traditional appliances and DNS servers to 100% cloud-based solutions.

So what are some of the best Load Balancing solutions out there? Check out the list below!


Incapsula is a fresh new player shaking up a market that has been fairly static for quite some time. In terms of technology, it is at the leading edge, competing head-to-head with the big legacy appliance-based vendors.

Incapsula offers a cloud-based Load Balancing & Failover service that enables fast and cost-effective scalability without the need for any hardware or software installation. Activated by a simple DNS change, Incapsula is easy to set up and provides excellent value for money. This service can be used in physical, cloud and hybrid server deployments.

Based on a global CDN, Incapsula's Load Balancing service offers the built-in flexibility and functionality to support server load balancing, Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) and data center failover (for DR scenarios). By balancing traffic directly from the cloud, Incapsula enables near-instant GSLB and failover capabilities without requiring a local or virtual appliance.

Incapsula uses intelligent Layer 7 technology for all load balancing scenarios, including GSLB. Using sophisticated, session-persistent traffic distribution algorithms, it optimizes resource utilization and application performance.

>From the user's perspective, Incapsula provides real-time health monitoring, dashboards, sensitivity tuning and alerts to help you proactively identify and correct issues before they have an impact on your website.

Incapsula's Load Balancing solution is part of its complete, cloud-based Application Delivery service, including an enterprise-grade Web Application Firewall, DDoS Protection and a global high capacity CDN.


F5 Networks

For years considered the benchmark for load balancing, F5 is used by many of the world's biggest IT departments. Its appliance-based Load Balancers are designed to enhance application scalability and availability for enterprises that maintain their own physical servers and data centers.

F5 offers separate appliances for local and global server load balancing. The BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) supports Layer 7 load balancing among servers, while monitoring the health and performance of individual servers in real time.

Its BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) is a high-performance DNS server with global load balancing capabilities. Using Layer 3 GSLB methods and application monitoring, GTM lets you route traffic geographically across multiple data centers. If a data center goes down, GTM directs your users to the nearest or best-performing data center.


Citrix NetScaler is an advanced Application Delivery Controller appliance deployed in thousands of enterprise networks around the globe, including many of the world's largest websites. Similar to F5, Netscaler is more appropriate for enterprises with their own servers and data centers, as opposed to those using cloud or hybrid computing environments.

Netscaler's load balancing offers innovative features and options that many other appliances don't have. Advanced L4-L7 server load balancing make sure that application users access the right resource every time, while intelligent monitoring continuously checks the status of server resources to make sure they're ready to deliver applications on demand.

In addition, an optional GSLB feature enables organizations to deliver applications from multiple geographical locations, and transparently redirects users to a backup data center in the event of failure.


Founded in 2001, Dyn is best known for its managed DNS service. In 2007, leveraging its DNS expertise, Dyn launched a traffic management platform for enterprise-level clients. Dyn's Traffic Director offers advanced features, such as geolocation load balancing and integrated health monitoring, which minimize latency and ensure high availability of websites and applications.

As is common among DNS providers, Dyn balances traffic among servers and data centers using the Round Robin method, which randomly distributes requests across multiple web servers. This method achieves the best results on large sites, with many simultaneous requests. Dyn's DNS-based load balancing is best-suited to GSLB geo-targeting and other scenarios that are less sensitive to routing delays.

Another advantage of Dyn is that it offers a cloud-based managed service that does not required hardware purchases or software installation.

Amazon ELB

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) is a very convenient solution for companies with virtual servers on Amazon's EC2 cloud service. ELB is a virtual load balancer that distributes incoming application traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances in one or more Availability Zones.

ELB detects unhealthy Amazon EC2 instances and reroutes website/application traffic across the remaining healthy instances. A key advantage of ELB is its elasticity. As you add handling capacity to meet the demands of application traffic, ELB scales seamlessly to support new virtual servers.

ELB distributes traffic among instances using Layer 3 local load balancing. Amazon's Route 53 DNS service is required for GSLB or failover scenarios. Route 53 offers health checking and DNS failover features, which enables you to run applications in multiple AWS regions for enhanced availability.

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