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HAProxy vs Traefik: What are the differences?

HAProxy and Traefik are both popular load balancers and reverse proxy servers used in modern web architectures. However, there are several key differences between the two:

  1. Configuration Options: HAProxy offers a flexible and highly customizable configuration file, allowing users to fine-tune load balancing algorithms, caching, and SSL termination. On the other hand, Traefik focuses on simplicity and ease of use by providing a declarative configuration using container labels and dynamic configuration through service discovery.

  2. Automatic Service Discovery: Traefik excels in its ability to automatically discover new services and dynamically update its configuration when containers are added or removed. This is particularly useful in dynamic container environments like Kubernetes or Docker Swarm. HAProxy, on the other hand, requires manual configuration updates when adding or removing backends.

  3. Container Orchestration Integration: Traefik is designed to seamlessly integrate with container orchestration platforms like Docker, Kubernetes, and Mesos. It automatically discovers services through these platforms and provides built-in support for dynamic routing based on container metadata. HAProxy can also be used with container orchestration platforms; however, it requires additional configuration and external tools for service discovery.

  4. Routing and Service Discovery Methods: HAProxy supports various advanced load balancing algorithms, including round-robin, least connection, source IP hashing, and more. It also provides a wide range of health check options and can handle HTTP, HTTPS, and TCP traffic. Traefik, on the other hand, focuses on HTTP and HTTPS traffic and provides advanced features like URL-based routing, path rewriting, circuit breakers, and rate limiting.

  5. Community and Documentation: HAProxy has been widely adopted and has a large and active community. It has extensive documentation, tutorials, and a rich ecosystem of third-party tools and integrations. Traefik also has a growing community and offers comprehensive documentation; however, it may not have the same level of maturity and third-party support as HAProxy.

  6. Performance and Scalability: HAProxy is known for its high-performance and scalability, often used in large-scale deployments handling millions of requests per second. It is optimized for low-latency and high-concurrency scenarios. While Traefik also performs well in most scenarios, it may not be as performant as HAProxy in extreme high-load situations.

In summary, HAProxy and Traefik have different strengths and are designed for different use cases. HAProxy offers more configuration flexibility and advanced load balancing features, making it suitable for complex environments. On the other hand, Traefik focuses on simplicity, automatic service discovery, and integration with container orchestration platforms, making it ideal for cloud-native architectures and containerized environments.

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Pros of HAProxy
Pros of Traefik
  • 131
    Load balancer
  • 102
    High performance
  • 69
    Very fast
  • 58
    Proxying for tcp and http
  • 55
    SSL termination
  • 31
    Open source
  • 27
  • 20
  • 18
  • 12
    Very popular
  • 7
    Runs health checks on backends
  • 7
    Suited for very high traffic web sites
  • 6
  • 5
    Ready to Docker
  • 4
    Powers many world's most visited sites
  • 3
  • 2
    Ssl offloading
  • 2
    Work with NTLM
  • 1
    Available as a plugin for OPNsense
  • 1
  • 20
    Kubernetes integration
  • 18
    Watch service discovery updates
  • 14
    Letsencrypt support
  • 13
    Swarm integration
  • 12
    Several backends
  • 6
    Ready-to-use dashboard
  • 4
    Easy setup
  • 4
    Rancher integration
  • 1
    Mesos integration
  • 1
    Mantl integration

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Cons of HAProxy
Cons of Traefik
  • 6
    Becomes your single point of failure
  • 7
    Not very performant (fast)
  • 7
    Complicated setup

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What is HAProxy?

HAProxy (High Availability Proxy) is a free, very fast and reliable solution offering high availability, load balancing, and proxying for TCP and HTTP-based applications.

What is Traefik?

A modern HTTP reverse proxy and load balancer that makes deploying microservices easy. Traefik integrates with your existing infrastructure components and configures itself automatically and dynamically.

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What companies use HAProxy?
What companies use Traefik?
See which teams inside your own company are using HAProxy or Traefik.
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What tools integrate with HAProxy?
What tools integrate with Traefik?

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What are some alternatives to HAProxy and Traefik?
nginx [engine x] is an HTTP and reverse proxy server, as well as a mail proxy server, written by Igor Sysoev. According to Netcraft nginx served or proxied 30.46% of the top million busiest sites in Jan 2018.
Originally built at Lyft, Envoy is a high performance C++ distributed proxy designed for single services and applications, as well as a communication bus and “universal data plane” designed for large microservice “service mesh” architectures.
Squid reduces bandwidth and improves response times by caching and reusing frequently-requested web pages. Squid has extensive access controls and makes a great server accelerator. It runs on most available operating systems, including Windows and is licensed under the GNU GPL.
Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 - 1000x, depending on your architecture.
Pound was developed to enable distributing the load among several Web-servers and to allow for a convenient SSL wrapper for those Web servers that do not offer it natively.
See all alternatives