Each service in a computer network may have a connection rate limit. The number of new connections per time period may be limited by using a series of rules. In a specific embodiment of the present invention, a counter is increased each time a server is selected to handle a connection request. For each service, connections coming in are tracked. Therefore, the source of connection-request packets need not be examined. Only the destination service is important. This saves significant time in the examination of the incoming requests. Each service may have its own set of rules to best handle the new traffic for its particular situation. For server load balancing, a reset may be sent to the source address of the new connection request. For transparent cache switching, the connection request may be forwarded to the Internet.