“proxy” refers to a software “proxy” refers to the notion of a proxy frequently referred to as proxy server software that serves to act as an intermediary for a server and a client on the internet. Without the use of a proxy, users can send a request for an online server, and the server will serve the requested resource directly to the user. While this is a simple method to grasp and implement, adding proxies provides advantages such as more performance and security, privacy, and so on. As a pass-through layer, the proxy functions as a guardian to the internet between users and servers.

It is generally accepted that the system of server hardware that is paired with the software for proxy installation is often referred to as proxy servers. This article will concentrate on proxy servers which are typically classified as software, specifically, in relation to web servers. We will provide a brief overview of the two primary types of proxies, which is forward proxy and reverse proxy. forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type comes with its own application scenario, which is often misinterpreted due to the similar terms.

This article will give you an idea of what proxies as well as their subtypes and ways that they can prove useful in a variety of configurations. If you go through this article, you’ll learn to identify instances where the use of proxies is beneficial, and then determine the most appropriate option between forward proxy and reverse proxy for any particular situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

A forward proxy, also known by the name of an open proxy serves as the client’s representative who is trying to relay an internet request to an source server. In this situation, any attempt to send a request by the user will be handled by the forward proxy. Forward proxy taking place of the user will review the request. Then, it will decide whether the client is permitted to send requests via this particular forward proxy. Then, it will orally reject a request and send it back to its server that originated the request. The client is unable to have direct connection with the Internet. It is only able to connect to what the forward proxy permits the client to access.

The most popular reason for using forward proxy services is to gain greater security or privacy when surfing the internet. A forward proxy can be used to access the internet rather than a client, and in this way, it utilizes an alternative IP address to the IP address that was originally used by the client.

Depending on how it’s setup, and based on the way it’s configured, forward proxy may offer a range of functions that allow you to:

Forward proxies are also used to secure systems which are centralized and accessible based on permissions, like at work. If all internet traffic goes through a common forward proxy layer an administrator could limit access for only a limited number of users to the internet, which is filtered by the common firewall. Instead of establishing security firewalls on the layer that is used by clients which could be used by a number of computers that have different environments and types of users you can set up an firewall that is located in the front proxy layer.

Be aware that forward proxy servers must be manually configured for use before they can be used, whereas reverse proxies are able to be obfuscated by clients. Based on the fact that an IP address belonging to a user is relayed to the server of origin through the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity are granted or not.

There are a variety of options to consider for forward proxies.

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy serves to act as a proxy for web server, which handles requests from customers on behalf of. It could represent either a single or multiple servers. Also, it could represent an application server such as Gunicorn. In either case, a request would come via the internet in general. Typically, the request is sent directly to the server that hosts the resources that the client requires of. A reverse proxy is a intermediary and isolates Web servers from any direct interaction with the internet’s public.

From the viewpoint from the client’s viewpoint, the process of using reverse proxy is not different from interacting with the server in its own way. It’s exactly the same however the client cannot discern the distinction. Client makes a request for the resource and is then supplied with it, without any additional configuration needed by the client.

Reverse proxies provide features like:

While central security is an advantage of both reverse and forward proxy servers. However, reverse proxies provide this feature only to the server layer and not the client layer. Instead of focusing on maintaining firewalls at the server layer that could include multiple servers, each with different configurations, the majority of firewall security is centered at the reverse proxy level. Furthermore, taking the responsibility of communicating with a firewall and connecting to requests from clients away from web servers allows the firewall to concentrate on providing the requirements of their customers.

In the event that there’s multiple servers located within a reverse proxy this reverse proxy will be accountable for the way requests are routed to the server that is hosting them. Multiple web servers could be offering the same service, offering different types of resource or a mix of the two. The servers could use their HTTP protocol to function as an ordinary web server however they can also use application server protocols such as FastCGI. It is also possible to set up a reverse proxy to direct users to specific servers depending on the resource being requested, or to adhere to certain rules for traffic load.

Reverse proxies also gain from their placement prior to web servers by offering the ability to cache. Large static assets may be configured by caching rules to prevent hitting web servers with every request. There are options that allow users to serve static assets without connecting with the server on any manner. Additionally, reverse proxy can manage compressing these assets.

The well-known Nginx web server functions as an effective reverse proxy solution. Even though Apache is also a reverse proxy service however, the Apache web server comes outfitted with reverse proxy feature which is an additional option that is accessible to Apache However, Nginx was initially designed to specifically focus on reverse proxy features.

The distinction in Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Situations

Since “forward” as well as “reverse” are associated with the notion of directionality and misleading distinctions between “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic These labels could be confusing since both types of proxy servers handle requests and responses. A better approach to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy is to look at the requirements of the application you’re developing.

A reverse proxy is useful in the development of a method to connect web-based applications on the internet. They act as your web servers whenever you use the internet.

Forward proxy can be useful when used before customers for your own usage or in a professional setting. They act as your client’s proxy when you are on the internet.

Distinguishing by use case instead of solely focusing on the common naming conventions will aid in avoiding confusion.


This article explains the meaning of a proxy with two types: forward proxy and reverse proxy. Examples of how to use it as well as a look at the useful features were used to distinguish forward proxies from reverse proxies. If you’re interested to learn more about the use of proxy servers, read our guide on how you can configure Nginx as reverse proxy with Apache on one Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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