HAProxy Overview

HAProxy is the #7 ranked solution in our list of top Application Delivery Controllers. It is most often compared to F5 BIG-IP: HAProxy vs F5 BIG-IP

What is HAProxy?

HAProxy is the most widely used software load balancer and application delivery controller in the world. The core HAProxy application delivery engine is an open source project chiefly maintained by HAProxy Technologies and assisted by a thriving open source community. HAProxy Community Edition is available for free at haproxy.org. HAProxy Enterprise Edition is packaged with additional enterprise class features, services and premium support from HAProxy Technologies.

HAProxy is also known as HAProxy Community Edition, HAProxy Enterprise Edition, HAPEE.

Buyer's Guide

Download the Application Delivery Controllers Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

HAProxy Customers
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Unix System Administrator at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A containerized solution for TCP load balancing

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use for this solution is to mount service for Redis.

Pros and Cons

  • "It solves a problem for me where I can build files, not based on the health of the check, but rather the speed of the check."
  • "The logging functionality could use improvement, as it is a little cryptic."

What other advice do I have?

Once the container is set up, the time it takes to deploy is typically under a minute. That is a full-blown solution with all the plugins and images that I'm planning on using. I'm pretty happy with it. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
DevOps-Infrastructure Team Leader at a tech company with 201-500 employees
Real User
The seamless reload feature was much needed and very helpful

What is our primary use case?

HAProxy is used both as an external (customer facing) and internal (between service APIs) solution. We use it for SSL offload, domain and path based ACLs, request header manipulations, and much more.

How has it helped my organization?

Layer 7 health checks improved stability. Logs and metrics are very rich and easy to export which makes it easier for us to pinpoint once something is not working as we expect.

What is most valuable?

With each new release, I find very useful features and love each addition. Recently, the seamless reload feature was much needed and very helpful.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a two (or more) native cluster support without third parties or DNS manipulations.

For how long have I used the solution?

More…
Find out what your peers are saying about HAProxy, F5, Citrix and others in Application Delivery Controllers. Updated: June 2021.
509,641 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Senior Vice President of TechOps at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Performance in load balancing, SSL termination, means more stability for our clients

What is our primary use case?

Load balancing and SSL termination.

What other advice do I have?

HAProxy is a very powerful solution with great performance, but it needs to be evaluated carefully according to the specific environment and requirements.
Deployment Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Consultant
Advanced traffic rules, including stick tables and ACLs, allow me to shape traffic

What is our primary use case?

I'm using HAProxy in two use cases. The first is as an internal load balancer for OpenStack services, in private cloud solutions. So HAProxy is used in front of Galera (MySQL cluster), Nova API, and also in front of exposed docker services. The second use case is as a load balancer for a Web hosting solution. HAProxy is load balancing external traffic. Configuration of HAProxy includes brute force sandboxing (including stick tables and hardcoded ACL for defined paths), splitting traffic by dynamic and static content to redirect it to the proper back-end, SSL, and HTTP headers management.

Pros and Cons

  • "I can simplify configurations of many internal services (e.g. Web server configs) by moving some elements (like SSL) to HAProxy. I can also disable additional applications, like Varnish, by moving traffic shaping configurations to HAProxy."
  • "Advanced traffic rules, including stick tables and ACLs, which allow me to shape traffic while it's load balanced."
  • "Performance configuration options with threads, processes, and core stickiness are very valuable."
  • "There are three main areas to improve: 1) Make remote management more modern by adding API. 2) Propose a general HA ​solution for HAProxy (no I'm using keepalived for this). 3) Thread option should be a bit more stable."

What other advice do I have?

During the implementation, you have to plan ACLs and back-ends first. That allows you to prepare a cleaner config. I rate HAProxy a 10 out of 10. It is fast, flexible, and rock solid.
DevOps Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
MSP
Provides us with an easy way to handle a lot of containers

How has it helped my organization?

With an OpenShift environment, HAProxy gives us an easy way to handle a lot of containers.

What is most valuable?

The ability to handle a sequence of front- and back-ends gives the user the opportunity to send traffic through different services.

What needs improvement?

HAProxy needs to improve its ability to handle a lot of connections, to be more like NGINX.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't had any issues with scalability but, as I mentioned above, some reviewers have said that NGINX is able to handle more connections than HAProxy.

How was the initial setup?

It…
Consultor at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
We were able to centralize connections with multiple carriers in a HA environment

What is our primary use case?

In my previous company, we had a lot of connections with carriers and we had this communication centralized with HAProxy. We had a high-availavility environment with HAProxy, and Keepalived too for database connections.

How has it helped my organization?

We were able to use HAProxy for round robin with our databases, or for a centralized TCP connection in one host.

What is most valuable?

Round robin and monitoring.

What needs improvement?

From my point of view, the configuration should be more friendly, perhaps with a Web interface. For example, I work with the ClusterControl product for Severalnines, and we have a Web interface to deploy the HAProxy load-balancer.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.
Senior Operations Engineer
Real User
Reduced the load on our main load balancers

What is our primary use case?

We are using HAProxy for our internal load balancers between the front-end and back-end services. HAProxies are configured either manually (LVS redundancy included) or automatically (ambassador pattern by using a Consul & Consul-Template).

Pros and Cons

  • "It reduced the load on our main load balancers."
  • "We did not need technical support because the documentation is good."
  • "We need to handle new connections by dropping, or queuing them while the HAProxy restarts, and because HAProxy does not handle split config files."

What other advice do I have?

Use a split front-end and back-end instead of using the "listen" directive. Therefore, you are clear what you are setting up. Be aware of connections dropping during restarts, etc.
Senior Systems Architect at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
Real User
Multiple algorithms load-balance HTTP and TCP requests

What is our primary use case?

We have the following use-cases for HAProxy: * To load-balance dozens of Apache 2.4 Servers mod_proxy. (Internal load-balance Tomcat, Jetty, JBoss app containers, using TCP load-balancing). * To load-balance hundreds of MySQL and PostgreSQL databases using TCP load-balancing. We manage inventory of these through Ansible automation. * To provide a layer of security (username/passwd) authentication for legacy back-end Web apps that may not have username/passwd implemented yet. Some financial Web apps were created over 15 years ago and focused on reports, files, logs, and market share stats and… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "The most important features would be the load-balancing of HTTP and TCP requests, according to multiple LB-algorithms (busyness, weighted-busyness, round robin, traffic, etc). Another important feature that we cannot live without is the username/passwd authentication for legacy systems that had none."
  • "The web stats UI, which provides the status of the health and numbers, could greatly benefit from having a RESTful interface to control the load-balanced nodes. Although there is a hack around the UI (by issuing a POST request to HAProxy with parameters), a RESTful interface would greatly improve the automation process (through Chef and Ansible)."

What other advice do I have?

I have used it for over 10 years. I started using it as a Web application (Tomcat, Apache, JBoss) load-balancer when it had a few stable releases. When I first start using it, HAProxy was primarily used to load-balance HTTP requests. Since we are a B2B company that deals primarily with hotel inventory, IP authentication was a must. Therefore, our customers had single end-points to send and receive RESTful requests. To make this viable, we had to use a central server as a proxy to tunnel out the requests. We will continue to use HAProxy as our entry-point and exit-point of the system.
Deputy Manager and Lead - IT Managed Services at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Helpful in replicating production environment architecture in a development/testing environment

What is our primary use case?

Primary use case of this solution is during PoC, demos, and in development environments. I have found HAProxy very helpful in replicating production environment architecture in a development and testing environment.

Pros and Cons

  • "I have found HAProxy very helpful in replicating production environment architecture in a development and testing environment."
  • "I would like to evaluate load-balancing algorithms other than round robin and SSL offloading. Also, it would be helpful if I could logically divide the HAProxy load-balancing into multiple entities so that I would install one HA Proxy LB application which could be used for different Web servers for different applications. I am not sure if these features are available."
Sr. System Administrator Linux & AWS at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Provides us with reliable load balancing, we have never had any downtime

What is our primary use case?

I am using HAProxy on a live production Web Server (Apache load balancing). It's a very good open-source solution.

Pros and Cons

    • "They should introduce one feature that I know many people, including me, are waiting for: HAProxy should have provide hot-swipe for back-end servers. Also, they need a more detailed GUI for monitoring and configuration."

    What other advice do I have?

    I will always give HAProxy a 10 out of 10. We never have any downtime with it. The HAProxy team regularly updates the product. I would definitely recommend HAProxy. You must go with this product.
    Senior Software Engineer at a tech services company
    Real User
    Allowed us to evenly distribute the load across a number of servers

    What is our primary use case?

    Proxying the requests for our API to a number of back-ends. We are using it in Linux with Keepalived to ensure high availability.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It has allowed us to evenly distribute the load across a number of servers, and check their health and automatically react to errors. It also allows us to do graceful reloads, so not a single request is lost.

    What is most valuable?

    Performance Stability Security Active health checks of back-end servers A lot of configuration options which let you deeply customize it.

    What needs improvement?

    It needs proper HTTP/2 support.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    More than five years.
    Software engineer
    User
    Improves our scalability and responsiveness services

    What is our primary use case?

    It serves as a fast front-end solution to our services. Also, it uses the mobile detection module that I developed and maintain.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It improves our scalability and responsiveness services to meet our demanding customer requirements. We now have much better metrics regarding clients types.

    What is most valuable?

    The Lua module to reach an increasing user base. HTTP/2 support Multi-thread support

    What needs improvement?

    Maybe HAProxy could be more modular. 

    For how long have I used the solution?

    One to three years.

    What other advice do I have?

    The SSL termination was a nice, useful addition.
    Expert Engineer at a tech services company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Makes hosting on multiple platforms / datacenters easy, without having to worry about HA

    What is our primary use case?

    Load-balancing between hosting sites, using Level 4 and Level 7 (with proxy-protocol, depending on the requirements).

    Pros and Cons

    • "The anti-DDOS PacketShield filtering solution (embedded in the physical appliances) as well as the BGP route injection are great features and heavily used."
    • "The basic clustering is not usable in our very specific setup. The clustering is mainly a configuration replication and is great in a case of active-passive usage. In the case of an active-active (or with more than two nodes) where the configuration is not fully identical, it cannot be used as-is."

    What other advice do I have?

    Play a lot with the VM version. The product is powerful but some features are a bit hidden (read the HAProxy docs).
    TH
    Software Engineering Lead at a tech company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Software defined load balancing allows us to dynamically adjust/codify routing decisions

    What is our primary use case?

    E2E load balancing of Layer 7 and Layer 4 applications.

    Pros and Cons

    • "Software defined load balancing allows us to dynamically adjust and codify routing decisions. This speeds up development."
    • "The support for all major Linux distros makes running and testing a breeze."
    • "Tech support is super-quick to respond, and always on target with answers specific to the current issue."
    • "Dynamic update API. More things should be possible to be configured during runtime."
    • "We would like to see dynamic ACL and port update support. Our infrastructure relies on randomly allocated ports and this feature would allow us to update without restarting the process."

    What other advice do I have?

    Use it for some small, non-critical systems first, get comfy with the stats, and then scale out. Codify your configuration and keep it as simple as the requirements allow.
    DevOps Engineer at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    VRRP redundancy is a mission-critical feature that works seamlessly for us

    What is our primary use case?

    Our primary use case for this solution is to perform Layer 7 load balancing/reverse proxying of both our internal and external web applications. We also use it for SSL offloading, and are beginning to utilize the basic Web Application Firewall functionality of it. HAProxy also performs VRRP, for redundancy, in case one of the servers were to go down.

    Pros and Cons

    • "I estimate that this product has saved our company hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in possible downtime from previous load balancers. We make a lot of our money from online sales, so it is critical to have 99.9% uptime."
    • "The ease of use of the configuration, and great documentation, are the most valuable features for us."
    • "The VRRP redundancy is also a mission-critical feature that works seamlessly. I can bring down a server live with minimal downtime because of this."
    • "HAProxy Enterprise Edition has been rock solid. We have essentially had no downtime caused by our load balancers in the last 10 months, because they’ve worked so well. Previously, our load balancers caused us multiple hours per year in downtime."
    • "The only area that I can see needing improvement is the management interface, since it is pretty much all through the CLI or configuration. A GUI/web interface could be helpful for users who are not as experienced in the Linux shell. However, HAProxy does have another product that we evaluated called ALOHA, which has a web front-end, but we found it did not meet our needs."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate this product a nine out of 10. I only took off one point because of the lack of a GUI, although in this case I would say that I prefer the CLI and configuration, which is primarily how we manage it. A GUI/web interface could be helpful for users who are not as experienced in the Linux shell. Be sure you are familiar with the Linux command line and have networking knowledge. Specifically, VRRP is helpful to understand the high-availability aspect of it. The documentation is very helpful, so be sure to follow their given best practices and configuration tips.
    DevOps Tech Lead at a marketing services firm with 51-200 employees
    Vendor
    Top 20
    We are handling millions of requests per minute in a high-availability ​cluster

    Pros and Cons

    • "​​Reliability. HAProxy is the most reliable product I have ever used."
    • "It is stable. Period. Will not fail unless you do something wrong."
    • "If nbproc = 2, you will have two processes of HAProxy running. However, the stats of HAProxy will not be aggregated, meaning you don't really know the collective status in a single point of view."

    What other advice do I have?

    * Use the best hardware you can (CPU and memory). * Don't log files locally, if possible. * Use multi process only if you have to, and don't utilize the first core.
    ICT Manager at a non-profit with 51-200 employees
    Real User
    Provides High Availability Through VRRP And Configuration Synchronisation
    System Administrator at a retailer with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Vendor
    Assists with bringing legacy systems in compliance with third party security requirements
    User
    Real User
    Cluster Solution Prevents Interruption of Service Caused By Inundation

    What other advice do I have?

    The product is very simple and fast. It's a microchannel. Try it and if you like it, you buy it.
    Production Engineering at a financial services firm with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    We have been able to achieve high performance load balancing in a short amount of time

    What other advice do I have?

    Go for it. These systems are exceptional.
    Information Technology / Software Development with 501-1,000 employees
    Vendor
    Reliability and transparency are the most valuable features

    What other advice do I have?

    It’s a reliable product with good technical support.
    Engineering Systems Manager and Data Scientist at a marketing services firm with 201-500 employees
    Vendor
    Others should try it out, for sure. It’s a great solution backed by a very smart set of technical folks.​

    What other advice do I have?

    Others should try it out for sure. It’s a great solution backed by a very smart set of technical folks.