The term “proxy” refers to a proxy is also known as a proxy server software that acts as an intermediary between server and client on the internet. With no proxy in place, a user could make a request an online source directly through a server and the server would then serve the requested resource directly back for the client. Although this method is easy to understand and implement but adding proxies offers benefits like improved performance, privacy, security, and many more. As an additional pass-through layer the proxy functions as a guardian for the internet between clients and servers.

Generally speaking, the combined combination of server hardware and installed proxy software is often called proxy servers. This article will concentrate on proxies that are traditionally classified as software in the context of web servers. This article will give the full description of two types: forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind has its own unique usage scenario, which is often confused due to the same terms.

This article will give you information about the different types of proxy services, what their subtypes, as well as how they work in a variety of configurations. After reading this article, you will be able identify situations in which using proxy services is advantageous and pick the right solution between forward and reverse proxy for any particular scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy also referred to the open proxy is a proxy for a client who wants to send a request via the internet to an the server which originated it. In this case, the entire effort to send requests by the user is instead transmitted via the forward proxy. A forward proxy acting instead of the client will take a look at the request. Then, it determines whether the client is authorized to send requests using this specific forward proxy. It will then decide whether to deny any request or forward it to the source server. The client is not able to have direct connection to the internet. It is able to access only what the forward proxy allows it access to.

One of the most popular uses for forward proxies is greater privacy or security while using the internet. Forward proxy allows access to the internet on behalf of a client. in this way it can make use of an alternative IP address to the IP address used by the client.

Depending on how it has been configured and how it’s configured forward proxy can grant you various features depending the way it’s configured and enables you to:

Forward proxies can also be used for security systems which are centralized as well as access that is permission-based in workplaces. If all traffic on the internet passes through an open forward proxy the administrator is able to grant only a small number of clients access to the internet filtered through the common firewall. Instead of setting up firewalls for the client layer which could comprise a range of computers with diverse environments and users A firewall can be installed at this forward proxy layer.

It is important to remember that forward proxies must be manually configured in order to be used, whereas reverse proxies can be hidden from the user. Depending on the type of IP address of a user is transferred to the origin server via the forward proxy Privacy and anonymity can be granted or not.

There are numerous possibilities to think about when it comes to forward proxies.

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy acts as an intermediary for the web server which manages any requests that come in from clients on behalf of. The web server may include servers, or even multiple servers. Also, it could become an application-server like Gunicorn. In any of these scenarios, the request will originate from the internet at large. In most cases your request is transmitted directly to a web server with the resources that the user is looking for. A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary, separating the webserver from direct communications with the internet.

From the perspective of a user, the experience of using reverse proxy isn’t different than connecting to an internet server direct. It’s essentially the same but the client can’t discern the difference. The client asks for an item and receives it, without any further configuration needed by the client.

Reverse proxies offer features like:

While centralized security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy servers. However, reverse proxy providers provide this service only to the layer that is the webserver and not clients. instead of the maintenance of firewalls in the layer of web servers which could contain multiple servers with different configurations, the majority in firewall protection is aimed at the reverse proxy layer. In addition, getting rid of the responsibility of interacting with a firewall and connecting with requests from customers off of web servers enables them to concentrate on serving the needs of their customers.

In the event of multiple servers operating with a reverse-proxy the reverse proxy is also responsible for the direction that requests are directed towards which servers. Multiple web servers could be operating from the same host, offering different kinds of resources, or a combination of the two. They may use the HTTP protocol just like a conventional web server, however they can also be equipped with protocols for application servers like FastCGI. You can set up a reverse proxy that directs users to a particular servers based on the services requested, or to adhere to specific rules pertaining to the load of traffic.

Reverse proxies can also benefit from their placement over web servers, as they provide caching capabilities. The large static resources can be created using caching rules to prevent having to contact web servers every time. Certain solutions allow you to directly serve static files without having to interact with the webserver at all. Additionally reverse proxy solutions are able to handle the compression of these files.

The renowned Nginx web server also functions as a well-known reverse proxy service. Even though Apache is an alternative to reverse proxy however, the Apache web server does have reverse proxy features however, it’s an additional feature that is available to Apache in contrast to Nginx was initially designed for focus specifically on reverse proxy features.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and reverse Proxy Use

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” are ascribed to an impression of directionality and misleading comparisons with “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic the names could be confusing because both types of proxy services handle requests and responses. The most effective way to distinguish between reverse and forward proxy services is to look at the needs of the application that you are developing.

A reverse proxy is useful when building a solution to provide web-based applications over the internet. They serve as your web servers during any interaction on the web.

Forward proxy can be beneficial when they are they are displayed in front of users for personal use, or in a workplace setting. They are a representation of your client’s traffic when you use the internet.

The practice of segregating by use case instead of using only standard naming conventions can help ensure that you don’t get confused.


This article provides the definition of a proxy, focusing on the two major kinds, namely reverse proxy and forward proxy. Examples of practical use and an overview of advantageous features were used to differentiate forward proxies and reverse proxies. If you’re interested to learn more about the possibilities of proxies, you can read our guide on how to set up Nginx as a reverse and web server proxy in Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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