API Gateway vs Load Balancer: which one is better and why?

A server that acts as a single point of entry for a group of microservices is called an API gateway. It gets requests from clients, sends them to the right microservice, and then sends back the response from the server to the client. A load balancer is a network device that sends incoming network traffic to multiple backend servers or services. This makes the system faster and more available. Now we have written this comparison API Gateway vs Load Balancer, here you can find which one is best for you.

The load balancer usually sits between the client and the server. It uses different algorithms to divide incoming requests among the available servers in a way that maximizes performance and makes sure that no single server is overloaded. This can make the system more reliable and responsive as a whole because the workload can be spread out more evenly and the system can handle more requests at once.

The goal of an API gateway is to send requests to the right microservice, while the goal of a load balancer is to spread requests out evenly across a group of backend servers. An API gateway and a load balancer are both types of infrastructure that can be used in a computer network to handle incoming requests and improve the performance of a system. But they do different things and have different goals.

An API gateway is a type of middleware that sits between a client and a group of microservices. Its main job is to send requests from clients to the right microservice and then send back the response from the microservice. An API gateway can also do things like authorize, limit the rate, and cache. A load balancer, on the other hand, is a piece of infrastructure that spreads incoming requests evenly across a group of backend servers to improve the performance and availability of a system.

API Gateway vs Load Balancer: Comparison Table

CriteriaAPI GatewayLoad Balancer
FunctionalityHandles API requests and responses, provides API management features like authentication, authorization, rate limiting, caching, and monitoringDistributes incoming traffic across multiple servers, ensures high availability, scalability, and performance of web applications
DeploymentDeployed in front of backend services and microservicesDeployed in front of servers and backend services
Use CasesManaging multiple APIs and microservices, aggregating APIs, rate limiting, caching, and monitoringScaling web applications horizontally, ensuring high availability, SSL termination, and load balancing incoming traffic
BenefitsSimplifies API management, improves security, provides scalability and fault tolerance, facilitates monitoring and debuggingImproves availability and performance, provides scalability and fault tolerance, enables SSL encryption and termination, provides different load balancing algorithms
ProtocolsSupports REST, GraphQL, and SOAPSupports HTTP, HTTPS, TCP, UDP
TypesCan be cloud-based or on-premisesCan be network-based or application-based
Official linkAPI GatewayLoad Balancer

API Gateway

API Gateway vs Load Balancer

An API Gateway is a service that gives APIs a single place to be accessed. It acts as a reverse proxy, which means that it handles all requests from clients, sends them to the right backend services, and sends the response back to the client. An API Gateway has features like authentication, authorization, rate limiting, caching, and monitoring that make it easier to manage multiple APIs and microservices.

Use cases:

  • Putting APIs on display for outside clients
  • Aggregating multiple APIs into a single endpoint
  • Taking care of API authentication and authorization
  • Putting limits on and slowing down incoming requests
  • Keeping copies of answers that people use often
  • Keeping track of API requests and responses and logging them

Benefits:

  • Makes API management easier and less complicated.
  • Centralizing authentication and authorization makes security better.
  • Offers scalability and fault tolerance by spreading traffic across multiple servers.
  • Improves performance by storing frequently used answers in a cache.
  • Makes it easier to track and fix API traffic

Load Balancer

API Gateway vs Load Balancer

A Load Balancer is a service that makes sure that no single server is overloaded by spreading incoming traffic across multiple servers. Load balancers are used to make web applications, services, and microservices more available, scalable, and fast. Depending on how they are set up and what they do, load balancers can be network-based or application-based.

Use cases:

  • Web applications that are scaled horizontally
  • ensuring high availability and the ability to handle problems
  • Spreading incoming traffic across multiple servers to even out the load
  • Setting up SSL encryption and termination
  • Keeping back-end servers from doing SSL work
  • Using different algorithms (like round-robin, least connections, and so on) to decide how to send traffic.

Benefits:

  • Makes web applications more available and run better.
  • Offers scalability and fault tolerance by spreading traffic across multiple servers.
  • Enables SSL encryption and termination
  • Removes SSL processing from back-end servers, which speeds things up.
  • Offers different load-balancing algorithms to make the best use of traffic.

API Gateway vs Load Balancer – Which one to use?

API Gateway vs Load Balancer

Together, API Gateway and Load Balancer can be used to make an architecture that is scalable and reliable. Most of the time, an API Gateway is put in front of a Load Balancer to manage APIs and handle authentication. The Load Balancer then sends traffic to different backend servers. But depending on the use case and requirements, one may choose to use either API Gateway or Load Balancer alone.

API Gateway is best for managing multiple APIs and microservices by providing authentication, authorization, rate limiting, and monitoring. It makes it easier to manage APIs and makes them safer by putting authentication and authorization in one place. Load Balancer, on the other hand, is best used to scale web applications, make sure they are always available, and spread incoming traffic across multiple servers. It provides scalability and fault tolerance by spreading out traffic and taking SSL processing off of backend servers.

API Gateway: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Makes API management easier and less complicated.
  • Centralizing authentication and authorization makes security better.
  • Improves performance by storing frequently used answers in a cache.

Cons

  • Can introduce an additional layer of complexity
  • If it’s not designed or set up right, it can be a single point of failure.

Load Balancer: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Makes web applications more available and run better.
  • Offers scalability and fault tolerance by spreading out traffic. Allows SSL encryption and termination.

Cons

  • Can add another layer of complexity
  • May make latency worse because of an extra network hop

Which one should you consider?

Modern cloud-based architectures need both the API Gateway and the Load Balancer. They are used for different things and can be put together to make a system that can grow and is reliable. To make cloud applications that are strong and safe, you need to know how they are different, what they can be used for, and what their benefits are.

FAQs

Do you need both load balancer and API gateway?

API gateways and load balancers are not the only tools an organization can use to handle network traffic. Both services can work at the same time, but they don’t need each other to do so.

Do all microservices need an API gateway?

If you don’t have API Gateways, the client apps will have to send requests directly to the microservices, which can cause problems like: Coupling: The client apps are tied to the internal microservices without the API Gateway pattern.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!

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