“proxy” is a term used to describe a server “proxy” refers to the fact that a proxy or proxy server is a software that sits acting as a mediator between client and a server on the internet. Without a proxy, a user would send a request for any resource directly to the server and it would then serve the requested resource directly back for the client. It is easy to understand and implement, the addition of proxies offers advantages in the form of increased efficiency, privacy, security as well as many other benefits. As a pass-through layer, proxy servers serve as a security barrier on the internet between servers and clients.

In general, the combination of server hardware and proxy software installed is commonly referred to as proxy servers. But, this article will focus on proxy servers that are generally described as software, as well as ones that work in conjunction with web servers. The article will offer a description of the two major kinds that are available, which include the forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own specific usage that could be confusing due to the use of overlapping terms.

This article will provide an understanding of proxy types and their subtypes are and also their importance in typical settings. If you read this article, you will be able to identify scenarios in which an effective proxy is beneficial, and determine the best option for you between forward and reverse proxy for any situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Also forward proxy, also known as open proxy open proxy is an agent for a user who is trying to send requests online to a source server. In this situation every request made by the client will rather be directed by this forward proxy. In this scenario the forward proxy, acting in the client’s stead will examine the request. At the beginning it will decide if it is allowed to make requests via this particular forward proxy. It will then either refuse requests or redirect them to their source server. The client is not able to have direct access to the internet; it has access to only what the forward proxy permits it to connect to.

The most common reason to use forward proxies is more privacy or protection on the internet. Forward proxy accesses the internet for an individual client and when it does this it could utilize an IP address distinct from the IP address used by the client.

Depending on the method by which it’s set up depending on the way it’s set up, forward proxy could offer a range of functions as well as the capability to:

Forward proxies can also be used in systems to provide central security as well as access based on permissions, such as in the workplace. When all internet traffic goes through a common forward proxy, the administrator are able to restrict only a small number of users access to the internet which is filtered by an common firewall. Instead of maintaining firewalls for the client layer, which could be used by multiple computers with various configurations and users and environments, a firewall can be added to this forward proxy layer.

Keep in mind that forward proxy servers need to be manually configured before they are able to be used while reverse proxies could be disregarded by clients. Based on whether or not the IP address of the client is transmitted to the origin server by the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity can be granted or hidden from view.

There are a myriad of choices to consider for forward proxies.

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy serves as an agent for a server that manages requests received from clients on behalf of the server. The web server may function as a single server or a number of servers. In addition, it could contain an application server such as Gunicorn. In either case, a request could come from a user on the internet in general. In most cases, the request will be directly sent to the web server that has the information the client is asking for. Contrarily, a reverse proxy is a intermediary, isolating the web server from direct contact with the open internet.

From the viewpoint of the client, interacting using reverse proxy isn’t any different from interacting with an internet server direct. It’s exactly the same, but clients aren’t able to tell the difference. The client requests the resource, and is then provided with it, without any extra configuration required from the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

Central security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxies, reverse proxies provide this feature to that layer on the webserver rather than the client layer. In lieu of maintaining firewalls at the server level which may include multiple servers with various configurations, the bulk of firewall security could be focused at the reverse proxy layer. In addition, removing the burden of interacting with firewalls and coordinating requests from clients away from web servers enables the firewall to focus on supplying resources.

In the case of multiple servers operating through a reverse proxy the reverse proxy may be also in charge of directing which requests are directed to which servers. Multiple web servers might be running from the same host, serving different kinds of services or a mix of both. The servers employ an HTTP protocol to function as a normal web server. They can also be equipped with application server protocols such as FastCGI. You can create reverse proxy that directs clients to specific servers based on the resource requested or to follow certain guidelines regarding the traffic load.

Reverse proxies can also be able to take advantage of their position before web servers through caching functions. Massive static resources can be set up with caching policy to prevent hitting web servers every request, with certain solutions allowing you to serve static content directly, without having to connect to a web server in any way. Furthermore reverse proxy can be capable of handling compression of these assets.

The well-known Nginx web server also functions as a powerful reverse proxy option. Even though Apache is a reverse proxy service and it is not the only one. Apache website server additionally comes with reverse proxy functionality, it can be a second option for Apache and Nginx was designed initially for and specifically focuses on reverse proxy capabilities.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Examples

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” are both associated with a sense of directionality, and false comparisons with “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic the labels can be confusing as both types of proxies can manage requests as well as respond. Better yet, the best method to distinguish between both forward and reverse proxy services is to consider the needs of the application that you’re developing.

A reverse proxy could be useful when you are creating a solution to serve web-based applications via the internet. They act as your web server for any interaction on the Internet.

A forward proxy is useful when used in front of customers for your own usage or even in a professional setting. They represent your clients for any interaction on the internet.

The use case-based differentiation instead of focusing on the similar naming conventions can assist you in avoidance of confusion.


This article explains what is a “proxy” is, with two major types of proxies being the forward proxy and reverse proxy. Practical scenarios for use as well as an examination of the beneficial characteristics were used to define different types of proxy that are reverse and forward. If you’re looking for ways to implement proxies you can look up our guide on how to configure Nginx as a web server and reverse proxy for Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

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