proxy, also known as proxy, also known as proxy or proxy server a server software that sits acting as an intermediary between a client and server over the internet. In the absence of an intermediary users would make a request for something direct to a server and servers would then serve the resource directly back to the user. Although this approach is simple to grasp and implement, proxies can provide advantages such as increased performance, privacy, security and many more. A pass-through layer proxy serves as a security barrier on the internet between servers and users.

In general generally speaking, the bundle of server hardware with installed proxy software is also often described as proxy servers. But, this article will concentrate on proxy servers which are usually referred to as software, and those that are used together with web servers. We will present a summary of the two types, namely a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own unique application scenario, and it is often misunderstood because of the similar terminology.

This article will provide you with an understanding of types of proxy services and what their subtypes are, as as how they are useful in typical configurations. Through this article, you will be able to identify the scenarios where you could benefit from a proxy and determine the most appropriate choice between reverse and forward proxy options in any given scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy also known as an open proxy is an agent used by a user who wishes to transmit a request over the internet to the server which originated the request. In this case, it’s the scenario that all requests sent by the client would rather be sent straight at the forward proxy. Forward proxy in the place of the client, will look over the request. In the beginning, it will determine whether the client is able to handle requests from this specific forward proxy. It then decides whether to refuse requests or redirect it to the source server. The client is not able to have an internet connection directly but it is able to access what the forward proxy gives to access.

The most popular reason to use forward proxies is to improve privacy or security online. Forward proxy allows you to browse the internet in place of clients, and in the process, it will use a different IP address than the IP address originally that the client uses.

Based on how it has been configured in accordance with the way it was configured forward proxy can offer you a range of functions as well as the ability to:

Forward proxies are also employed in systems to provide central security and access based on permissions, such as in a workplace. In the event that all traffic on the internet is routed by an open forward proxy, an administrator is able to grant access only to specific individuals to access the web. This is filtered by a common firewall. Instead of putting firewalls in place for the client layer, which can comprise a range of computers that have different users and environment A firewall can be set up in the intermediate layer.

Be aware that forward proxies need to be manually set up before they can be used to use them and reverse proxies are able to not be detected by the user. Based on the fact that the IP address of a user is transmitted to the server that generated it through the forward proxy privacy and anonymity may be granted or left transparent.

There are a variety of alternatives to think about for forward proxies:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary for a web server that handles the incoming requests of clients on behalf. Web servers can represent one or more servers. Additionally, it can represent an application servers, such as Gunicorn. In all of these scenarios, the request for an application comes by a user who is on the internet at large. In most cases, the request will go directly to the web server that hosts the data the user is looking for. However, a reverse proxy functions as an intermediary to isolate Web server from any direct interactions with the internet’s open.

From a perspective of the user’s viewpoint, interfacing using reverse proxy is any different from working with Web server in direct communication. It works similar to the web server, and the client is unable tell the distinction. The client can request the resource, and receive it, without any additional configuration needed on the part of the user.

Reverse proxy proxies provide features such as:

While centralized security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxy services, reverse proxies apply this for the web server layer not the client layer. In lieu of maintaining firewalls in the web server layer that can include multiple servers that are configured differently The majority of firewall security is focused on the reverse proxy layer. Also, the removal of the obligation to interface with firewalls and communicating with requests from clients from web servers enables them to focus solely on delivering the needs of their customers.

In the event of multiple servers operating through reverse proxy, the reverse proxy could be also responsible for the direction of the requests that are directed to which server. There could be multiple web servers hosting identical resources, but each of them offering a different kind of resources or a combination of both. These servers may be running an HTTP protocol to operate as a standard internet server, but they can incorporate protocols for applications such as FastCGI. It is possible to configure reverse proxy servers redirecting visitors to a particular server based on the type of resource they’re looking for, or to adhere to certain guidelines regarding traffic load.

Reverse proxies also can benefit from their positioning before web servers through the capability of caching. Large static assets are able to be configured using caching rules that prevent them from getting into web servers with every request. There are options that offer the option of providing static files directly without connecting to the web server in any way. Furthermore, the reverse proxy will manage the compression of these assets.

The renowned Nginx website server also an extremely well-known reverse proxy choice. While Apache has a reverse proxy solution it is not the only one. Apache web server also comes equipped with reverse proxy feature, which is an additional characteristic that is part of Apache However, Nginx was designed originally for and focused on the reverse proxy function.

The difference is between Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Cases

Because “forward” and “reverse” have connotations of directionality, they can also lead to inaccurate comparisons to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic and could be confusing since both kinds of proxies are able to respond to requests as well as responses. Better yet, the best method of separating reverse and forward proxies is by analyzing the requirements of the app that you are building.

Reverse proxy is beneficial when creating a solution to deliver web-based applications on the internet. They act as your servers when you interact using the internet.

Forward proxy can be useful when it is put before the client for your personal use, or in a workplace setting. They are your client’s proxy when you use the internet.

Distinguishing by use case in lieu of looking at the same naming conventions will make sure that you do not get confused.


This article explains what a proxy is along with two types of proxy, namely the forward proxy and reverse proxy. Practical applications and an examination of useful features were utilized to distinguish between reverse and forward proxies. If you’re looking to learn more about the implementation of proxies, you should read our tutorial on how to configure Nginx as a web service and reverse proxy within Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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