Squid Proxy vs HAProxy – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

Squid Proxy vs HAProxy – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). In this article we’ll go over what Squid Proxy and HAProxy is. After that, the readers will be introduced to their pros and cons and the differences between them. Squid is a content accelerator of a website and HAProxy is mainly a load balancer, but is there more to it? Let’s find out.

Let’s start with Squid Proxy vs HAProxy – What’s the Difference ? 

What is a Squid Proxy server?

Image Source: squid-cache, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Squid is a proxy server used for caching Linux and Unix platforms. Imagine you are storing the desired Internet objects, such as data on a web server or FTP server on a computer. It sits closer to the requesting workstation than the server. Interestingly even the modes that are invisible to the end user, they can be configured in multiple tiers to ensure optimal response time and low bandwidth usage.

Firstly Squid is a caching proxy server. It directs its object requests from clients (in this case from different web browsers) to a given server. When your requested objects come from the server, we send them to the client and the client keeps a copy of them in the hard disk cache. It is interesting that the main advantage of caching is that several clients requesting the same object can be served from the hard disk cache. Because of this, customers get data much faster than from the Internet. This procedure also reduces network traffic, which is a great help.

With Squid it has extensive access controls and makes a great server accelerator.

How Does Squid Proxy work?

The primary working of the Squid is through tracking the object use over the network it is connected to.

In general terms how does Squid Proxy work? The client or user requires an internet object from the web server. Instead of a request directed primarily to the web server, it goes to a caching proxy server. So when the Internet object, which in fact will be a website, document, or other form of response to a request, is on the proxy server, it is sent immediately.

Importantly it acts as an intermediary and its main task is to forward the client’s request to the server. However, it stores a copy of the requested object during this process, so that if the same client or another client requests the same object in the near future, it can respond to the request directly. Remember from the time the Squid proxy forwards the request to the web server , which then responds to the web object and back to the proxy is zero! Therefore, the reaction time  is faster.

Benefits and Features Squid Proxy server

  • Defining strict access control lists for all clients accessing the proxy.
  • Generating statistics about frequently visited Web pages for the assessment of surfing habits.
  • Allowing or denying access to specific Web pages using other applications.
  • You can control the traffic for malicious content and if found, remove it.
  • Zero client configuration.
  • Better control.
  • Improves web access speed.
  • You can hide the real IP address of the client.

Pros of Squid Proxy server

  • Caches frequently accessed websites, cache files/media.
  • Load balancing with other Squid proxies.
  • Configured multiple capture ports with WCCPv2.
  • Highly Anonymous.
  • Worldwide servers with with fast speeds.
  • 24/7 Access to proxies.
  • Non Sequential IPs.

Cons of Squid proxy server

  • No live support.
  • Few features.
  • Only private / shared proxies in the data center.
  • The browser must trust the root proxy certificate used to decrypt and re encrypt HTTPS / SSL traffic.

What is a HAProxy?

HAProxy, short for High Available Proxy. Firstly it is a very popular open source TCP / HTTP proxy load balancing and proxy activity.  Runs on Linux, macOS and FreeBSD. Secondly it’s most common use case is to improve the performance and reliability of the server environment by spreading the load across multiple servers (e.g. web, applications, databases). Importantly also used in many other environments such as Instagram, Twitter.

You can configure HAProxy for load balanced HTTP requests. But the configuration can be customized for most load balancing scenarios. 

Especially suitable for high traffic sites and hosts many of the most visited sites in the world.

Since its inception, it has become the standard open source load balancer. While not advertised, it is widely used. Here is a basic diagram of what the setup looks like.

How Does HAProxy work?

It is a high availability proxy for TCP and HTTP apps. Generally, their main task is to direct users to the available application data servers. Great for high traffic web sites. It is well recognized load balancer and works well with Linux distributions, and often deployed by default in cloud platforms.

Benefits and Features of HAProxy server

1. Load Balancing

  • Fulfils Complex Routing Decisions.
  • Multiple Deployment Models.
  • Active/Passive (VRRP).

2. Security

3. Observability

  • End to end Request Timing.
  • Advanced Logging.
  • Open Tracing.

4. Kubernetes

5. Service Mesh

  • Bandwidth is infinite.
  • There is one administrator.
  • Reliable network.

Pros of HAProxy server

  • Highly available application.
  • Event driven architecture
  • Multi threading.
  • Continuous integration (CICD) system.
  • The proxy server is support for TCP and HTTP / HTTPS.
  • Load balancing.
  • IPV6.
  • LUA Scripting.
  • RDP access.
  • Uses virtual hosts and can work on layers 4 and 7 (works with multiple segments in the network).
  • Replaces various shortcomings that Nginx has, such as session retention support. At the same time, it can handle backend server state detection by getting specific URL.
  • HAProxy, on the other hand, has a much better load balancing.

Cons of HAProxy server

  • Configuration via text files only.
  • Establishing the criteria that define the load balancing system.
  • The ability to manage SSL certificates.
  • The reload configuration feature requires restarting the process. While this is also a soft reboot, reloading without Nginx is smoother and more user friendly.
  • Multi process mode support is not good enough.
  • No support SPDY protocol.
  • Does not support POP/SMTP protocol.

Differences between Squid Proxy vs HAProxy

Squid vs HaProxy

HAProxy general uses cases differences

  • In a HAProxy the client sends a request to the high availability proxy on the gateway and the request goes directly to one of the pods. The way I set it up is to run it on a server that needs access to a range of external services, such as a database server. Web server sends requests to localhost and those requests are sent elsewhere. So a client and several servers are behind a proxy.

Squid Proxy general uses cases differences

  • The Squid is a reverse proxy. It is closer to the server and aggregates and buffers incoming requests. External traffic from a large number of clients is routed to fewer servers.

Squid Proxy is a Server Accelerator

  • Extensive access control features of Squid makes it an excellent server accelerator. It runs on most of the available operating systems, including Windows server.
  • With Squid it can mostly be classified as a “network cache“.

HAProxy is a Load Balancer

HAProxy is Reverse Proxy

  • Important to add that Nginx and HAProxy are reverse proxies (work on the server side). But HAproxy is modern project.

Squid is a Forward Proxy

  • But the oldest and most powerful solution is Squid Proxy. You should be aware of high number of configuration options. The squid is used as a forward proxy via an internal proxy. But on the other hand squid could also act as a reverse proxy.

There is no real differences in open source solutions between these projects. On one had HaProxy is used in highest traffic applications and load balancing.

Much like NGINX, HAProxy uses an evented I/O model but on the other hand  Squid Proxy is the oldest and most powerful proxy solution. It has loads of configuration options.

Thank you for reading about Squid Proxy vs HAProxy – What’s the Difference ? 

Squid Proxy vs HAProxy - What's the Difference ? Conclusion

A Squid proxies is not only a proxy server, but also a reliable caching tool. There is no need to install separate servers to take advantage of a single Squid proxy.

To sum up HAProxy has a lot to offer mainly in terms of reliability, performance and flexibility. When it comes to load balancing, it is one of the best.

Now that you have been introduced  Squid proxy and HAProxy. You already know what are these servers used for. You have learned about the advantages and disadvantages of the two servers and their differences. In addition to the above information on operation and load balancing and how to use HAProxy and Squid proxy, you have a solid foundation to start improving the performance and reliability of your server environment.

I hope I helped with Squid Proxy vs HAProxy. Thanks for your attention.

Please don’t forget to look at our Squid Proxy content here

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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