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The Internet has become the universal support for computer applications. This increases the need for solutions that provide dependability and QoS for web applications. The replication of web servers on geographically distributed data centers allows the service provider to tolerate disastrous failures and to improve the response times perceived by clients. A key issue for good performance of worldwide distributed web services is the efficiency of the load balancing mechanism used to distribute client requests among the replicated servers. Load balancing can reduce the need for over-provision of resources, and help tolerate abrupt load peaks and/or partial failures through load conditioning. In this paper, we propose a new load balancing solution that reduces service response times by redirecting requests to the closest remote servers without overloading them. We also describe a middle ware that implements this protocol and present the results of a set of simulations that show its usefulness.