A proxy is also known as proxy server software which acts as a mediator between a client and server on the internet. Without a middleman the user would an attempt to request the resource directly to the server and the server would then serve the requested resource directly to the user. Although this procedure is easy to grasp and use using proxies, it can provide benefits such as more performance as well as security and privacy and a lot more. Apart from offering a security layer, proxies act as a security guardian of the internet between users and servers.

In general, the bundle of servers that have installed proxy software is usually referred to as proxy servers. However, this article will be focusing on the proxies that are typically referred to as software, but also in the context of web servers. This article will give a synopsis of the two primary kinds: one being one that is a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has a different usage, which may be confusing due to the similar name-based convention.

This article will equip you with the knowledge of the different types of proxy services, their subtypes, and the ways in which they can be beneficial in common configurations. In this article, you’ll in a position to recognize the scenarios in which you can benefit by a proxy, and select the correct solution in the case of forward or reverse proxy, in any circumstance.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy, also referred to by the name of an open proxy is the representative of a customer who wants to forward requests over the internet to a server that originated it. In this situation, it’s the scenario that all requests made by the client are instead forwarded directly into the forward proxy. This forward proxy acting in place of the client, will examine into the request. At first, it will determine if the client is authorized to send requests through this particular forward proxy. Then, it can either deny requests or redirect it to the server that originated it. The client will not be capable of having directly access to internet. it can only be allowed to access details that the forward proxy allows it to connect to.

A popular use for forward proxy is to provide greater security or privacy online. Forward proxy has the ability to connect to the internet using the client. In this manner, it utilizes another IP address, in contrast to the IP address of your client.

Depending on how it has been configured, based on the configuration, forward proxy may provide a variety of functions and the capability to:

Forward proxies also are utilized in systems of central security and access is based on permissions, such as at work. If all internet traffic goes via an open forward proxy an administrator could restrict access to only certain clients to the internet through the common firewall. Instead of establishing firewalls for the client layer that can comprise multiple computers with different configurations and users the firewall can be placed at the forward proxy layer.

Be aware that forward proxies need to be configured manually to utilize the reverse proxy, while forward proxies may not be noticed by the user. Depending on the kind of IP address a client is transferred to the origin server through forward proxy, privacy and anonymity might be granted or not.

There are numerous options to consider forward proxy options:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy functions acting as an intermediary for the web server. It manages any requests that come in from clients in its place. Web servers can function as a single server, or multiple servers. Additionally, it can function as an application server such as Gunicorn. In any of these situations the request will come from a user of the internet in general. Most of the time, the request would be directed directly to a web server which has all the resources the client seeking. However, a reverse proxy functions as an intermediary that shields this webserver from direct interaction with the open internet.

From the user’s point of view reverse proxy’s process reverse proxy is not any different than working with the Web server itself. It’s essentially the same thing, however the client is unable to tell the difference. The client sends a request for resources, which is then received without any additional configuration required from the client.

Reverse proxy proxies can provide options, such as:

While central security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy service, reverse proxies provide this benefit only to Web layer servers and not to the client layer. Instead of maintaining firewalls on Web server layers which could comprise multiple servers that have different configurations, the bulk of firewall security is focused at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, the absence to interface with a firewall and responding to requests from clients via web servers lets them focus on providing resources.

In the event of multiple servers working through a reverse proxy, it also manages how requests are routed to which server. Many web servers may be offering the same service, each serving different kinds of resources or a mix of both. They may employ an HTTP protocol to serve as a web server in the traditional sense, but can also include applications server protocols such as FastCGI. You can create reverse proxy servers to direct users to specific servers based on the resource requested or to follow specific rules regarding traffic load.

Reverse proxies also benefit from their positioning before web servers due to the power of caching. Large static assets can be configured using caching rules in order that they do not have to communicate with web servers for every request. There are solutions that offer the possibility of serving directly static assets, without needing to connect to the web server in any way. In addition, the reverse proxy can handle compressing these assets.

The popular Nginx web server can be described as an efficient reverse proxy option. Although you can utilize Nginx, Apache web server also includes reverse proxy capabilities as an additional function of Apache as opposed to Nginx was originally designed to and focuses on the reverse proxy function.

The difference between Forward and Reverse Proxy Use. The difference between Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Utilization

Because “forward” and “reverse” have connotations that refer to directionality, and false comparisons to “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic, the labels can be confusing as both kinds of proxy services can handle requests as well as respond. The best way to distinguish between reverse and forward proxy is to consider the requirements of the application you’re developing.

A reverse proxy is a good option in the development of solutions to run web-based applications via the internet. They serve as your web servers for any interaction on the web.

Forward proxy applications are beneficial when they are used to block the client for your private use, or in the workplace. They can be used to represent your client’s internet traffic, for any online interaction.

Utilizing case-based differentiation instead of focusing on the common naming conventions can aid in avoiding confusion.


The article clarified definition of a proxy and the two most common kinds of them being the forward proxy and the reverse proxy. Practical applications and a glance at the beneficial traits were used in defining forward proxy as well as reverse proxy. If you’re interested in learning more about implementation of proxies take a look at our tutorial on how to set up Nginx as an internet server and reverse proxy for Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

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