Safeguarding Your Symfony Web Apps and APIs: A Comprehensive Guide to Rate Limiting with Symfony, Apache, and NGINX

David Garcia
6 min readNov 20

In the ever-evolving landscape of web development, protecting your Symfony web applications and APIs from overloading is paramount. Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) attacks and excessive requests can jeopardize the availability and performance of your services.

This article will explore robust methods to fortify your Symfony applications against such threats, utilizing Symfony's Rate Limiter component, Apache settings, and NGINX settings.

Symfony offers a built-in Rate Limiter component that allows developers to control the number of requests to specific parts of their applications. While it's a powerful tool, there are scenarios where more than relying solely on Symfony's Rate Limiter may be required.


  • Integration with Symfony's ecosystem.
  • Fine-grained control over rate limiting in your application.


  • It may introduce overhead due to being part of the application stack.
  • Limited protection against network-level attacks.

Configuration Example:

# config/packages/rate_limiter.yaml

# Define the different types of Rate Limiters the Symfony App will need
# to handle by setting different names and criteria to each one.

# Fixed Window Rate Limiter
# Sets limits for given intervals (e.g. 5k req/hour or 3 req 15 min).

# Sliding Window Rate Limiter
# The same as the fixed window, but that slides over the timeline.

# Token Bucket Rate Limiter
# Defines continuously updating the budget of resource usage.



policy: 'fixed_window'
limit: 100
interval: '60 minutes'

policy: 'token_bucket'
limit: 5000
rate: { interval: '15 minutes', amount: 500 }

Once defined, you can inject your Rate Limiters in any Service or Controller and call the consume() method to use them (using a Request's Event Listener is a very effective technique for cases like this):

David Garcia

Senior Software Engineer, Backend, NodeJS & Symfony developer, workaholic, passionate for new technologies and OSS contributor.