It’s an proxy, also called a proxy server, is a software that serves in the role of a intermediary between client and server over the internet. Without a proxy, a client could send requests for or resource to the server directly and then the server would serve the resource directly back at the request of the customer. While this is a simple method to understand and implement, the addition of proxy servers can provide advantages in the form of enhanced performance and privacy, security and many more. As a pass-through layer a proxy serves as a security guardian of the internet between servers and clients.

There is a general consensus that the combination of server hardware and software used to set up proxy installations is usually referred to by the name of proxy servers. This article will concentrate on proxy servers that are typically considered to be software, and also within the context of web servers. The article will provide a detailed discussion of the two primary types of proxy servers, which include a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Every one has its unique usage scenario that is frequently misunderstood because of the similar terms.

This article will give you some knowledge about what proxies are and what subtypes they are and how they function in the common configurations. After reading this article, you’ll be able to identify the scenarios where you could benefit from a proxy and then select the most appropriate forward and reverse proxy for every scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy also known as the open proxy is the agent of a customer who wants to send a request via the internet to a source server. In this case the entire request sent by the user will instead be transferred to the forward proxy. This forward proxy acting in the client’s stead, will scrutinize the request. The first step is to determine whether the client is able to accept requests via this specific forward proxy. Then, it decides to decline a request and forward it to its original server. The client isn’t capable of having directly access to internet. It can access only what forward proxy allows it to connect to.

A common use of forward proxies is to gain more privacy or protection when surfing the web. Forward proxy can be used to access the internet in place of a client and as such it can make use of a different IP address than the client’s original IP address.

Depending on how it’s been configured, the forward proxy can provide different functions, based on how it is configured and allows you to:

Forward proxies are also utilized for security systems that are centralized and based on permission access such as in a workplace. All internet traffic can pass by an open forward proxy, administrators can allow only a few clients connection to internet via an common firewall. Instead of creating firewalls for the client layer, which could comprise a range of machines that have different settings and users A firewall can be placed at an front proxy layer.

It is vital to note that forward proxy servers must be set up manually for use, however reverse proxy servers will remain undetected by clients. Based on the fact that the IP address of a user is transferred to the server that originated it from the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity may be granted, or if it is left unnoticed.

There are many possibilities to explore forward proxy options

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy is the web server, which takes care of requests from clients on its behalf. The web server may serve as a single server, or as a set of servers. In addition, it could function in the role of an application server such as Gunicorn. In either of these scenarios the request will come from a user via the internet. The request is typically sent directly to the web server, which contains the resources the user needs. A reverse proxy acts as an intermediary, shielding it from any direct interaction with the internet’s open.

From the perspective of the client, interfacing with reverse proxy is not different from connecting to your webserver directly. It’s functionally the same and the user cannot discern the difference. The client makes an request for a resource and then receiving it with no further configuration from the user.

Reverse proxies can provide features such as:

While centralized security is an advantage of both reverse and forward proxy servers. However, reverse proxy servers provide this benefit only to those who use the server layer but not the layer that clients use. Instead of the maintenance of firewalls at the layer of web servers, which could contain several servers that have different configurations, the majority of the firewall security can be centered at the reverse proxy layer. In addition eliminating the responsibility of communicating with firewalls and communicating with requests from clients away from web servers lets them focus on serving the resources.

If there are multiple servers running behind a reverse proxy The reverse proxy handles how requests are routed which server. There may be several web servers providing the exact same service, all offering different types of resources or a combination of the two. They may use the HTTP protocol to function as a standard web server, however they might also include application server protocols such as FastCGI. It is possible to set up reverse proxy that routes users to specific servers based on the resource requested or to follow certain guidelines regarding traffic volume.

Reverse proxies also profit from their placement over web servers, as they provide caching functionality. Large static assets can be created using caching rules to prevent from hitting web servers with every request, with some solutions allowing you to deliver static files without having to connect to the web server even once. In addition, the reverse proxy can manage the compression of these assets.

The popular Nginx website server also a very popular reverse proxy solution. Although Apache has a reverse proxy service but it is not a reverse proxy solution. Apache web server does have reverse proxy capabilities as an option that can be added to Apache however Nginx was designed originally for and focused on reverse proxy functionality.

Differentiating Forward and Reverse Proxy Use. Differentiating Forward and Reverse Proxy Utilization

Since “forward” and “reverse” have connotations of directionality and false comparisons to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic the labels could be confusing because both types of proxies are able to handle requests and responses. Better yet, the best method of separating between reverse and forward proxy is to look at the requirements of the app that you’re developing.

Reverse proxy is a crucial feature when you are designing a solution to host web applications on the internet. They serve as your web servers during any interaction via the internet.

Forward proxy can be useful when used in front of clients for personal usage, or even in a workplace. They are your client’s proxy for any interaction on the internet.

Differentiating by use case instead of focusing on standard naming conventions can make it easier to avoid confusion.


The article clarified the definition of a proxy with two types of proxy, the reverse proxy and forward proxy. Practical scenarios to use them as well as a discussion of most useful features were utilized to differentiate forward proxies from reverse proxies. If you’re interested to learn more about the benefits of proxies, you can read our tutorial on how you can set up Nginx as an reverse proxy and internet server using Apache using Ubuntu 20.04 Server. Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

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