It is a proxy often referred to as a proxy server is software that acts as an intermediary between the client and server on the internet. Without proxy, a user could send a request for a resource directly to a server, and it would serve direct to users. It’s not hard to comprehend and apply the use of proxy servers can offer benefits such as greater performance and privacy, security and many more. As an additional layer of pass-through, proxies serve as a security barrier on the internet between clients and servers.

In general, the collection of server hardware as well as the software to install proxy servers is usually referred to by the name proxy servers. This article will concentrate on proxies traditionally understood as software, and in relation to web servers. The article will provide an explanation of the two major types of proxies, which are forward proxy and reverse proxy. forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each has a distinct use case, often confused because of the similar the namesake convention.

This article will provide you with an overview of types of proxies, their subtypes, and how they work in the normal configurations. Through this guide, you’ll know what situations where using proxies can be beneficial and how to choose the correct solution in between forward and reverse proxy for each situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

In the same way a forward proxy, also called an open proxy is a representative of a customer who wants to send requests over the internet to an original server. In this situation the client’s attempts to send requests made by the client will be forwarded via the forward proxy. In this case, the forward proxy in the place of the client will examine the request. First, it must determine if the client is authorised to receive requests from this particular forward proxy. It will then either deny the request or forward it to its original server. The client doesn’t have a an internet connection directly but it is able to access what forward proxy allows it to connect to.

The most popular reason to use forward proxies is to improve privacy or security online. A forward proxy uses the internet in place of a client, and may use a different IP address to the client’s initial IP address.

Based on the way it’s configured, and based on the way it’s set up forward proxy could provide various features and also the capability to:

Forward proxies are also used in systems that offer centralized security and access based on user permissions, for example, in a workplace. If all internet traffic is routed through an open forward proxy layer, administrators could allow access only to specific users to the internet filtered through an ordinary firewall. Instead of putting firewalls for the client layer which could include various devices with different settings, users, and environments A firewall could be set up at the forward proxy layer.

Be aware that forward proxy servers need to be manually configured for use to be utilized, whereas reverse proxy servers can be disregarded by clients. Based on whether or not an IP address from the user is transferred to the server that originated it through the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity can get granted, or even made more transparent.

There are a myriad of options to explore to find forward proxy options

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy functions as an agent for web servers, which handles any requests that come in from customers on behalf of the server. Web servers can consist of a single server or multiple servers. Additionally, it can be used for application servers, such as Gunicorn. In either scenario the request may originate from a user on the web in general. In most cases, the request is sent directly to the web server that has the resources the client requires. Instead, a reverse proxy acts as an intermediary to isolate your server from interaction with the open internet.

From a customer’s point of view, the experience of using reverse proxy is the same as connecting directly to your webserver. It is functionally identical and users cannot tell the distinction. The client requests a resource, and then receives it, with no additional configuration needed from the user.

Reverse proxy providers offer options like:

While centralized security is a benefit of both forward and reverse proxy platforms, reverse proxy offers this service only to the server layer, and not to the client layer. In lieu of maintaining firewalls for servers on the internet which could contain multiple servers with different configurations, the bulk of firewall security can be concentrated to the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, removing the responsibility of interacting with firewalls as well as dealing with requests from clients far from web servers permits them to concentrate on serving the needs of their customers.

In the event of multiple servers behind a reverse proxy, the reverse proxy is also accountable for deciding which requests go on which server. There could be multiple web servers offering the identical service, with different kinds of resources or a mix of both. They can utilize the HTTP protocol like a traditional web server, but can also be equipped with protocols for application servers like FastCGI. A reverse proxy is used to connect clients to specific servers depending on the type of resource they’re seeking, or to adhere to specific rules for traffic load.

Reverse proxies can benefit from their location on top of web servers by offering the capability to store information. Large static files can be configured using caching policies to stop hitting web servers on each request. Certain solutions allow you to serve static content directly, without having to connect to the web server at all. Furthermore reverse proxy is capable of compressing these assets.

The well-known Nginx webserver is an effective reverse proxy service. Although it is factual that Apache web server also comes with a reverse proxy, however it’s a distinct feature of Apache however Nginx was originally designed to focus on reverse proxy functions.

Differentiating Forward Proxy from Reverse Proxy Use. Differentiating Forward and Reverse Proxy Use

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” have connotations of directionality, and can lead to misleading comparisons with “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic. These labels are confusing because both types of proxies can handle requests and also respond. Instead, a better way to differentiate between reverse as well as forward proxies would be to look at the specifications of the application that you’re developing.

Reverse proxy is an essential element to consider when designing a system that can provide web-based applications via the internet. They serve as your servers whenever you connect to the internet.

Forward proxy can be useful when presented to people for personal use, or in a corporate setting. They represent your clients when you are on the internet.

The use case-based differentiation instead of focusing solely on similar names can help avoid confusion.


The article explained what a proxy is along with the two types of them: reverse and forward proxy. Application scenarios that can be used in practical situations as well as an examination of the most useful features were used to differentiate between reverse and forward proxies. If you’re keen to learn more about the possibilities of proxies then you can read our tutorial on how to configure Nginx as an reverse proxy and internet server for Apache on the Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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