A proxy, also known as a proxy is also referred to for its role as a proxy, is software that functions in the role of intermediaries between client and server via the internet. If there was no proxy in place, the user could send a request for anything directly to the server and servers would serve the requested resource directly to the user. This is a simple method to grasp and use however the addition of proxy servers may provide benefits such as more performance, privacy and security, and so on. As an additional layer of security proxy servers act as a gatekeeper for the internet between clients and servers.
There is a general consensus that the system of hardware for servers, paired with proxy software is commonly referred as proxy servers. However, this article will focus on proxy servers that are typically categorized as software, and specifically with respect to servers on the internet. We will present a summary of the two major types of proxy services that are a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind has a distinct usage, which can be confusing because of the same name convention.
This article will provide you with an idea of different types of proxy and subtypes, and their value in common configurations. After reading this article, you’ll be able to recognize the situations where you could benefit by a proxy and make the right alternative between reverse proxy or forward proxy in any given situation.
Understanding Forward Proxies
Forward proxy, also known as an open proxy acts as an agent for a user who wants to make a request over the internet to an source server. In this instance, any attempt to send requests made by the client will rather be directed via the forward proxy. A forward proxy in the instead of the user will review the request. It will first determine whether the client is allowed to accept requests via this specific forward proxy. Then, it can either deny requests or send it back to server from which it originated. The client is not able to have direct access to the internet; it will only be able to access the information that the forward proxy allows its access.
One of the most common uses for forward proxies is to provide greater security or privacy on the internet. A forward proxy is able to access the internet in lieu of an individual client, and in the process, it can use another IP address, in contrast to the original IP address of the client.
Based on the way it’s configured, based on the way it’s set up forward proxy could provide many features that allow you to:
Avoid tracking ads.
Determine restrictions based on your location.
Forward proxies are also used in systems to offer central security and permission based access, such as in workplaces. In the event that all internet traffic is routed through an open forward proxy layer, administrator can restrict access to only certain clients to the internet. This is blocked by a common firewall. Instead of keeping firewalls for the client layer which may include multiple machines with different configurations and users, a firewall could be placed at the proxy layer that is in front.
Keep in mind that forward proxy servers must be manually configured for be used, while reverse proxies can be disregarded in the eyes of the user. Based on the kind of IP address a client is sent to the server that originated it through the forward proxy, privacy and security can either be provided or rendered more transparent.
There are a myriad of choices to be considered in determining forward proxy:
Apache is a well-known open-source web server that offers forward proxy capability.
Nginx is another popular open-source webserver, which comes with forward proxy functionality.
Squid: An open forward proxy open source that uses an HTTP protocol. This option doesn’t include the entire web server. You can refer to our article about the best way for installing Squid proxy to enable private connections on Ubuntu 20.04.
Dante is a forward proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP this allows it to be more suitable for scenarios such as peer-to-peer communication. You can also check out how to configure an Dante proxy to allow connection to private networks in Ubuntu 20.04
Understanding Reverse Proxies
Reverse proxy is the web server that handles the requests of customers on its behalf. This server can serve as a single server or a number of servers. It could also contain an application server such as Gunicorn. In any of these situations the request will be made via the web in general. Most of the time the request will be sent directly to the server, along with the resources the client in need of. A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary and separates your server from communications with the internet’s public.
From the point of the client’s point of reverse proxy is not different from connecting directly to an internet server. It’s basically the same, but clients aren’t aware of the distinction. The client asks for the resource, and it receives it without any additional configuration required from the client.
Reverse proxies provide features such as:
A central layer of security to protect the server.
Controlling traffic inbound based on rules that you can set up.
A new feature to cache has been added.
Central security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxy service, reverse proxies provide this benefit only to the server layer, not the client layer. instead of the maintenance of firewalls on the server level which could include multiple servers and different configurations, the majority of firewall security is directed at the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, taking the burden of communicating with firewalls and responding to requests from clients not connected to web servers permits them to focus solely on meeting the needs of their customers.
In the case of multiple servers hosted by a reverse proxy it also is responsible for routing requests to the server that is hosting them. Multiple servers may be operating on the same server, or serving different types of resources or a combination of the two. They may utilize the HTTP protocol for functioning as a standard web server, but they can additionally include application server protocols such as FastCGI. You can create a reverse proxy to route clients to specific servers according to the requested service, or follow specific rules regarding traffic load.
Reverse proxies also can utilize their position before web servers, by providing caching capabilities. Large static files can be set with caching rules that prevent from reaching web servers with each time a request is made. There are solutions offering the option of serving static content without needing to communicate with the webserver in any way. Additionally, reverse proxy can manage compressing these files.
The renowned Nginx web server has become a wildly popular reverse proxy choice. Although the Apache web server does have a reverse proxy capabilities as an additional feature that is available to Apache however Nginx was initially designed and is focused on reverse proxy functionality.
Differentiating Forward Proxy and reverse Proxy Examples
Because “forward” as well as “reverse” are associated with a sense of directionality and inaccurate comparisons to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic. They can be confusing since both kinds of proxy servers process requests and response. The best way to distinguish between reverse and forward proxy servers would be to analyze the needs of the application you’re creating.
Reverse proxy is a crucial element in the creation of a system to support websites on the internet. They function as your servers when you interact with the Internet.
Forward proxy can be helpful to display customers’ information for your own use, or for use in a working environment. They represent the client’s information when you connect to the internet.
A distinction based on use case rather than focusing only on naming conventions that are similar will make it easier to avoid confusion.
The article clarified meaning of a proxy, with two types of them being the reverse and forward proxy. Practical applications and an exploration of the beneficial attributes were utilized to identify forward proxies and reverse proxy. If you’re interested in exploring the role in proxy server, you can read our guide on how to set up Nginx as an internet server as well as reverse proxy on Apache in Ubuntu 20.04 Server. Ubuntu 20.04 server.
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