An proxy or proxy server, is a software acting as an intermediary a client and server on the internet. Without the proxy, a user will send a request to resources directly to a server, and it would deliver the resource directly back to the user. This method is simple to understand and implement, but the addition of proxy servers can offer benefits including improved efficiency as well as privacy, security and more. In addition to providing pass-through the proxy functions as a guardian to the internet between servers and clients.

In general, the bundled system of server hardware and installed proxy software is also often referred to as proxy servers. This article will focus on the proxies that are usually described as software and in the context of web servers. There will be a discussion of the two major types of proxies, the other being forward proxy and the other being a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind of proxy has its own purpose and can be confusing due to the resemblance of namesake convention.

This article will provide you with an idea of the types of proxies and subtypes in terms of their benefits for setups that are common. If you’ve read in this post, you’ll be able understand the situations when the use of proxy servers is advantageous, and then choose the most appropriate option between forward proxy and reverse proxy based on the situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy, also referred to by the name of open proxy. An open proxy acts as the representative of a client who wishes to forward a request via the internet to the server that made it. In this scenario any attempts to send requests from the client’s end will instead be directed directly to the forward proxy. Forward proxy in place of the client will examine the request. First, it will determine if this client is authorized to receive requests from this particular forward proxy. Then, it will deny any request, or send it to the origin server. The client is not able to have an internet connection directly; it can only reach what forward proxy permits it to access.

The most popular reason to use forward proxies is the increased privacy or anonymity online. A forward proxy accesses the internet through clients and, in this manner it may make use of an IP address that is different from the IP address used by the client.

Depending on the way it’s configured the forward proxy will provide a variety of functions as well as the ability to:

Forward proxies are also used in systems that provide centralized security as well as access to users based on permissions, for instance in workplaces. If all internet traffic passes through a common forward proxy Administrators are in a position to grant only specific clients access to the internet using a common firewall. Instead of putting firewalls for the client layer, which may include multiple computers with varying settings and environment, a firewall can be put in an forward proxy layer.

It is crucial to keep in mind to set forward proxy preferences must be manually set up to permit the forward proxy to function in order to be used and reverse proxies are able to not be detected by users. Depending on whether the IP address of the user is passed on to the server from which it originated through the forward proxy, the privacy and security may be granted or not.

There are many alternatives to take into consideration when considering forward proxy choices:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy acts as an intermediary for web servers, and handles requests from clients on behalf of. The web server may serve as a single server or multiple servers. It could also serve as an application server, such as Gunicorn. In any case the request for an application comes through the internet. Typically, the request will go directly to the server that hosts the content that the client is looking for. Reverse proxy, however, serves as an intermediary to isolate your website server from communication to the open internet.

From a consumer’s point view, interacting with reverse proxy isn’t any different than interacting with the web server directly. It’s functionally the same but the client cannot tell the distinction. The client requests an item and receives it, without any extra configuration required from the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

While centralized security can be a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy, reverse proxy applications apply this function only for just the Web server layer, but not to the client layer. instead of the maintenance of firewalls for Web server layers which may include multiple servers with different configurations, the bulk protection of the firewall is aimed towards the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, removing the responsibility of connecting to firewalls and interfacing with requests from clients off web servers enables them to concentrate on serving the resources.

If there are more than one servers existing with a reverse-proxy, the reverse proxy is also accountable for deciding which requests are routed to the server. There may be several web servers running on the same server, all serving various kinds of resources, or a mixture of both. They could be using the HTTP protocol similar to a conventional web server. They may also use application server protocols like FastCGI. It is also possible to configure reverse proxy servers to direct clients to specific servers in accordance with the service being requested or to follow certain traffic load rules.

Reverse proxies are also able to take advantage of their placement on top of web servers by making use of caching. Large static assets can be configured with caching rules in order to avoid getting into web servers for every request, with some solutions even allowing the provision of static files in a direct manner without linking with the server. Additionally, reverse proxy is able to handle compression of these files.

The popular Nginx webserver is an extremely popular reverse proxy option. However, the Apache web server comes equipped with reverse proxy function as an additional feature that is available to Apache while Nginx was initially designed for and is specifically focused on the reverse proxy feature.

Differentiating Forward Proxy from Reverse Proxy Use Cases

Since “forward” in addition to “reverse” are both associated with a sense of directionality as well as misleading comparisons with “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic, these terms can be confusing since both types of proxy servers are able to respond to requests and responses. Another method of separating between reverse and forward proxy servers is to study the needs of the application you’re developing.

Reverse proxy is a useful tool when you are designing a solution to host applications that are on the web. They represent your web servers in any interaction with the Internet.

Forward proxy is a great tool to have facing clients to use for personal purposes or in a business environment. They represent your client traffic when you are on the internet.

A distinction based on use rather than using the standard name conventions can aid you in avoidance of confusion.


The article clarified what a proxy was as well as two types of them: the reverse proxy and forward proxy. Practical examples of its use and a discussion of the most beneficial features was used to distinguish forward proxies from reverse proxies. If you’re looking to learn how to implement proxies we suggest you go through our guide 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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