proxy, also referred to as proxy, also referred to as proxy or proxy server a server software that acts in the middle between client and server on the internet. In the absence of an intermediary a user would make a request to purchase something direct to a server and servers would then serve the resource directly back to the user. Although this method is easy to understand and use, adding proxies offers benefits like improved security, performance, privacy and many more. As a pass-through layer proxy serves as a security barrier on the internet between servers and clients.

Generally speaking it is the bundled set of server hardware and proxy software is described as a proxy server. But, this article will concentrate on proxy servers that are usually referred to as software, and those that are used to complement web servers. This article will give a synopsis of the two types, namely forward and reverse proxy. forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each has its own usage scenario, which can be misinterpreted due to the identical terms.

This article will give you an idea of the types of proxy services and what their subtypes are as well in how they work in typical configurations. Through this article, you will be able to identify the situations where you can benefit from proxy services and determine the most appropriate alternative between forward and reverse proxy options in any given scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy also called open proxy, also known as open proxy is an agent used by a user who wishes to transmit a request over the internet to the server that made it. In this situation, it’s the situation that all requests made by the client would rather be sent directly to the forward proxy. The forward proxy, in position of the customer, will examine the request. In the beginning, it will decide whether this client is able to accept requests via this particular forward proxy. Then, it will either reject requests or redirect it to the server that originated it. The client is not able to have an internet connection directly but it is able to access the information that the forward proxy gives to access.

The primary reason for people to use forward proxies is to increase security or privacy online. A forward proxy can be used to access the internet on behalf of clients, and in the process, it’ll use an IP address that is different from the IP address that was originally used by the client.

Based on how it has been configured according to the way it was configured forward proxy may offer you a range of functions in addition to the capability to:

Forward proxies are also used in systems to provide central security, as well as permission-based access, like at work. If all traffic on the internet is routed via an open forward proxy an administrator is able to allow access only to a few individuals to access the web. This is filtered by a common firewall. Instead of having firewalls installed for the client layer which may comprise several machines that have different user and environmental settings, a firewall may be installed in the front proxy layer.

Be aware that forward proxies need to be set up manually before they can be used to use them and reverse proxy’s are able to be seen by users. Based on the fact that an IP address for the user is transmitted to the server that originated it via the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity can be granted or made transparent.

There are a variety of possibilities to consider for forward proxies

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy acts as an agent for a web server that handles any requests that come in from clients on behalf of. The web server could represent a single or multiple servers. It could also serve as an application server, such as Gunicorn. In all of these scenarios, the request for an application comes by a user who is on the internet in general. In most cases, the request will go directly to the server that hosts the data the user wants. However, a reverse proxy functions as an intermediary to isolate Web server from any direct contact with the open internet.

From a perspective of the user that is a user’s viewpoint, interfacing with reverse proxy is not anything different than working with a Web server in direct communication. It functions the same as the web server and the client is unable discern the difference. Clients can make a request for the resource and it receive the resource without any additional configuration by the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features such as:

Although centralized security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxy, reverse proxies provide this for the web server layer not to the client layer. Instead of focusing on maintaining firewalls within the web server layer, which can contain several servers that are configured differently the majority of the firewall security is aimed at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, the elimination of the responsibility to interact with a firewall and connecting with requests from customers from web servers enables them to concentrate entirely on satisfying the requirements of their customers.

If there are multiple servers that are running via reverse proxy the reverse proxy may also be responsible for the direction in which requests are directed through which server. There may be several web servers that are serving identical resources, but each one offering a different type of services or a mixture of both. These servers can be using an HTTP protocol to operate as a standard internet server, however they could also incorporate protocols for applications such as FastCGI. It is possible to configure a reverse proxy to direct visitors to a specific server based on the type of resource they are looking for, or to follow certain guidelines regarding traffic load.

Reverse proxies can also make use of their position prior to web servers, by providing the capability of caching. Large static assets are capable of being configured with caching rules to prevent the web server from being hit on every request. There are solutions that provide the option of providing static files in a direct manner without connecting directly to the website server. In addition, reverse proxy is able to manage compression of these files.

The well-known Nginx webserver is an extremely popular reverse proxy option. Even though Apache can also be regarded as a reverse proxy solution, the Apache web server also comes equipped with a reverse proxy function, it is a different option that is part of Apache however Nginx was initially designed and geared towards the reverse proxy feature.

The distinction is between Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Examples

Since “forward” as well as “reverse” are associated with directionality, they also create false comparisons with “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic, they could be confusing since both types of proxies can respond to requests as well as responses. Better yet, the best method of separating those proxies that are forward or reverse is to examine the needs of the application you’re creating.

A reverse proxy can be beneficial when creating an approach to connect web applications to the internet. They serve as your servers when you interact using the internet.

Forward proxy is helpful when placed before the user for private use, or in a work setting. They act as your client’s proxy whenever you interact on the internet.

Distinguishing by use case instead of focusing on similar naming conventions will make sure that you aren’t confused.


This article clarified the definition of a proxy along with two types, namely the forward proxy and the reverse proxy. Practical applications and an examination of beneficial features were used to differentiate between forward and reverse proxies. If you’re interested in knowing more about the use of proxies, you should go through our guide on how to set up Nginx as web server and reverse proxy within Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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