The term “proxy” refers to a proxy is also known as a proxy server. It is program acting as an intermediary client and server via the internet. Without proxy servers, a user will send a request to resources directly to the server and it would deliver the resource directly back towards the customer. This method is simple to understand and implement, but the addition of proxy servers can offer benefits including improved speed as well as privacy, security and more. In addition to providing passing through, the proxy acts as a security guardian of the internet between clients and servers.

The combination of server hardware that is paired with installed proxy software is also commonly described as proxy servers. This article will focus on proxy servers that are typically considered to be software, and specifically in relation to web servers. The article will provide a detailed discussion of two kinds of proxies. One being one that is a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind has its own specific application, and is frequently confused due to the resemblance of namesake convention.

This article will give you an idea of the different subtypes and proxies and their benefits for setups that are common. After reading this article, you’ll understand the situations when the use of proxy servers is beneficial, and you can then select the most appropriate option between forward proxy and reverse proxy based on the situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy, also known by the name of open proxy. An open proxy acts as the representative of a customer who wants to make an internet-based request to the server that made it. In this situation every attempt to make requests through the client’s side will be sent to forward proxy. Forward proxy in place of the client, will look into the request. It will first determine if this client is allowed to receive requests from this specific forward proxy. Then, it will deny any request or forward it to its origin server. The client is not able to have direct access to the internet It can only access what the forward proxy allows it to access.

The most popular reason for using forward proxy servers is to increase privacy or security online. Forward proxy’s access to the internet as clients and as such, it could make use of an IP address that is different from the IP address of the user.

Based on the way it’s set up, the forward proxy can provide a variety of functions in addition to the ability to:

Forward proxies are also employed in systems that offer centralized security as well as permission-based access, like in a workplace. If all internet traffic passes through a common forward proxy, an administrator is capable of allowing only certain clients to access the internet via a common firewall. Instead of putting firewalls installed for the client layer, which may include multiple computers that have different settings and users and environments the firewall is installed in an forward proxy layer.

It is essential to note to set forward proxy preferences must be set up manually to permit the forward proxy to function for use, while reverse proxies are able to not be detected by users. Based on your IP address the user is transmitted to the server that originated it through the forward proxy, the privacy and security may be granted or left transparent.

There are a variety of alternatives to take into consideration when considering forward proxy alternatives:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy acts as an intermediary between web servers and takes care of requests from clients on behalf of. Web servers can function as a single server or multiple servers. In addition, it could be an application server, such as Gunicorn. In any case the request for an application comes from a user via the internet in general. Typically, the request will be sent directly to the web server which hosts the content that the client is searching for. A reverse proxy acts as an intermediary to isolate your server from interaction to the open internet.

From the perspective of a user’s the consumer’s perspective, working with reverse proxy isn’t any different than interacting with Web server in direct contact. It is functionally similar, however the client cannot tell the difference. The client requests an item and is given it, without requiring any additional configuration from the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

While central security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy, reverse proxies do this feature only to the web server layer and not to the client layer. instead of the maintenance of security firewalls in Web server layers that may comprise multiple servers that have different configurations, the majority of firewall security is directed towards the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, taking the burden of interacting with firewalls and responding to requests from clients off of web servers lets them concentrate on serving the resources.

If there are multiple servers existing with a reverse-proxy, the reverse proxy is also accountable for deciding what requests go at the server. There may be several web servers operating from the same host, each offering different kinds of resources or a mixture of the two. These servers could use the HTTP protocol similar to a conventional web server. They may also use protocols for application servers like FastCGI. You can also configure reverse proxy settings to redirect the clients towards specific servers based on the service they require, or to observe certain traffic load rules.

Reverse proxies can also benefit from their position on top of web servers through the capability of caching. The large static files can be set up using caching rules to prevent getting into web servers for every request, with some options even allowing the provision of static files in a direct manner without linking directly to the website server. Additionally, reverse proxy is able to handle compression of these assets.

The popular Nginx web server has become an extremely popular reverse proxy service. Although it is a reverse proxy solution, the Apache web server is also available equipped with reverse proxy option as an additional feature which is accessible for Apache while Nginx was designed initially for and is specifically designed for the reverse proxy function.

Distinguishing Forward Proxy from Reverse Proxy Use Cases

Because “forward” in addition to “reverse” are both associated with an impression of directionality, as well as misleading comparisons with “incoming” in addition to “outgoing” traffic These terms can be confusing because both types of proxies are able to handle requests as well as responses. Another method of separating between forward and reverse proxy servers would be to analyze the requirements of the application that you are developing.

Reverse proxy is a useful tool to use when designing a solution to host websites on the internet. They represent your web servers in any interaction with the Internet.

A forward proxy is useful to have working with clients in front for personal usage or even in a business environment. They represent your client traffic whenever you connect to the internet.

A distinction based on use cases instead of using the standard names can help in avoidance of confusion.


The article explained what a proxy is and the two kinds of proxy being the forward proxy and reverse proxy. Practical examples of its use and a discussion of most effective features were utilized to differentiate forward proxies from reverse proxies. If you’re interested in learning the ways to use proxies, we recommend you read our guide on how to set up Nginx as an reverse proxy and internet server for Apache running an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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