The phrase “proxy” is a reference to a proxy or proxy server. It is an application that acts as a mediator between a client and server via the internet. Without the need for proxy servers, users could submit a request for the resource directly to a server, and then the server will provide the requested resource directly to the user. Although this method is easy to comprehend and implement using proxy servers, it could provide advantages in terms of improved performance and privacy, security and much more. As an additional layer of pass-through a proxy serves as a security safeguard for the internet, separating clients from servers.

In general, the combined mix of hardware for servers and proxy software is generally called proxy servers. This article will focus on proxies which are usually described as software, as well as when referring to web servers. This article will give an explanation of two main types: that is a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind of proxy has its own situation, and is frequently misunderstood due to the similar namesake convention.

This article will provide the basics of what subtypes and proxies can do and how they can accomplish in commonly used configurations. After reading this article, it will be able identify situations in which using proxies can be advantageous and select the best choice between forward and reverse proxy for any particular scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy sometimes known in the context of the open proxy is an agent used by the user trying to send an internet request to an source server. In this case the entire attempt to send requests initiated by the client will instead be sent via an forward proxy. The forward proxy, acting on behalf of the client will scrutinize the request. It first decides if clients are authorized to make requests via this particular forward proxy. It will then either reject requests or redirect them to the server that originally made the request. The client is not able to have direct access to the internet. It has access to only the information that forward proxy allows it to access.

The most popular reason for using forward proxy is the need for more privacy or security when surfing the web. Forward proxy connects to internet instead of the client. In this process, it uses an IP address different from the IP address that the user is using.

Based on how it has been set up the forward proxy can provide various functions based on the configuration and allows you to:

Forward proxies can also be used in systems that provide centralized security and access based on permissions like in workplaces. If all internet traffic is routed via an open forward proxy the administrator can restrict access only to a select group of clients accessing the internet, which is then filtered by a standard firewall. Instead of creating firewalls at this layer of clients that may comprise multiple computers that have different settings and users the firewall can be set up at the layer that forwards proxy traffic.

Be aware that forward proxies must be manually set up to use and reverse proxies can be ignored from the clients. Depending on the type IP address of the user, it is sent to the server that originated it by the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity can be granted or kept in the dark.

There are numerous options to consider when it comes to forward proxy choices:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy acts as acting as an agent on behalf of a server on the internet that handles requests from clients for. The web server could comprise a single server, or even multiple servers. It may also act as an application server such as Gunicorn. The request will be made via the internet in general. In the majority of cases, requests will then be transmitted directly to the server that hosts the information that the user is seeking. A reverse proxy serves as an intermediary and separates this webserver from direct interactions with the open internet.

From the perspective of the user, the experience of interacting with reverse proxy is not different from interacting with the webserver in direct contact. It’s basically the same however the client is unable to recognize the difference. The client sends a request for an item and receives it, with no additional configuration needed from the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

Although central security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy servers, reverse proxy services provide this benefit to only the server layer, not the layer that clients use. Instead of maintaining firewalls that are on the web server layer that may contain multiple servers with various configurations, the majority of firewall security is placed in the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, removing the burden of interacting with firewalls and responding to requests from customers who don’t have web servers allows them to focus on meeting the requirements of their customers.

If there are multiple servers operating within a reverse proxy the reverse proxy is responsible for the direction of which requests are directed to which servers. There may be several web servers providing the exact same service, but each offering different kinds of resources or a combination of both. They can utilize the HTTP protocol to function as a standard web server, however they may also be equipped with application server protocols like FastCGI. You can configure a reverse proxy to direct users to specific servers according to the requested resource, or to adhere to certain guidelines regarding the amount of traffic.

Reverse proxies also benefit from their location over web servers, by providing the ability to store information. Large static assets can be configured with caching rules to avoid from hitting web servers with each request. Certain solutions allow you to deliver static files directly, without having to connect to a web server in any way. Furthermore reverse proxy has the capability to compress these assets.

The popular Nginx web server can also function as a well-known reverse proxy solution. Although Apache has a reverse proxy option, it is not a reverse proxy solution. Apache web server comes with reverse proxy capabilities as an added option for Apache and Nginx was initially developed for and is focused on the reverse proxy feature.

Distinguishing the use of forward and reverse proxy Examples

Since “forward” and “reverse” are often associated with an impression of directionality, and false comparisons are made to “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic can be confusing because both kinds of proxies handle requests and responses. An alternative approach to distinguish between forward and reverse proxy is to look at the specifications of the application you’re developing.

A reverse proxy can be beneficial in the creation of a system to deliver web-based applications on the internet. They are your web servers whenever you use the web.

Forward proxy can be beneficial when placed before clients for personal use or in a work setting. Forward proxy is a representation of the client’s activity whenever you connect to the internet.

A case-based approach to distinction rather than focusing on common naming conventions can aid in avoidance of confusion.


The article delineated the meaning of a proxy by comparing the two primary types that are forward and reverse proxy. Practical examples of use and a discussion of most useful features were utilized to differentiate between forward and reverse proxy. If you’re interested to learn more about the use in proxy server, follow our guide on how to configure Nginx as an Internet server and reverse proxy for Apache on Ubuntu 20.04. Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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