An proxy is also known as a proxy server. is a program that acts in the role of intermediaries between a client and server on the internet. Without the proxy, a customer could send a request for any resource directly to the server and servers would deliver the requested resource directly to the user. While this approach is straightforward to understand and use, however the addition of proxy servers may provide benefits such as more speed, privacy and security, among others. As an additional layer of pass-through proxy servers function as a guardian for the internet, separating clients from servers.

The consensus is that the hardware for servers, paired with proxy software is commonly known as proxy servers. However, this article will focus on proxy servers that are typically categorized as software, and specifically in relation with web server. We will give a synopsis of the two primary types of proxy services: a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind has a distinct use, and can be confusing because of the same namestamp.

This article will give you an understanding of different types of proxy and subtypes, and what they can do for the most common setups. By reading this article you’ll understand the situations when you could benefit from a proxy, and determine the best option between reverse proxy and forward proxy depending on the scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy, also known as the open proxy is a proxy for users who wish to transmit a request through the internet to a source server. In this scenario, every request made by the client will be directed via this forward proxy. A forward proxy that is in position of the customer will review the request. It first will determine if the client is legally authorized to accept requests from this particular forward proxy. Then, it can either refuse the request or forward it to the source server. The client will not be able to have direct access to the internet; it will only be allowed access to the information that the forward proxy gives its access.

A very common applications for forward proxy servers is increased privacy or security on the internet. A forward proxy accesses the internet in lieu of an individual client, and during that process it could use an alternative IP address in comparison to the original IP address used by the client.

Depending on how it’s been configured, based on the way it is configured, forward proxy may offer a range of features and allow you to:

Forward proxies are also employed in systems that provide central security and permit-based access, like at a workplace. In the event that all internet traffic flows through a common forward proxy layer administrators are able to restrict access to only certain clients to the internet. This is blocked by a common firewall. Instead of putting firewalls in place for the client layer which may comprise a variety of machines with various configurations and users, a firewall could be placed an intermediary layer.

Be aware that forward proxies should be manually set up to be used, while reverse proxies can be disregarded by the client. Based on the kind of IP address the client’s connection to the server that originated it by the forward proxy security and privacy can be made more transparent.

There are a variety of choices to be considered when deciding on forward proxy options:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy is a web server, which takes care of requests from customers on behalf of the server. This server can serve as a single server or a number of servers. Additionally, it can include an application servers, such as Gunicorn. In any of these instances it is possible to send a request via the web at large. In most cases the request will be sent directly to the server with all the resources the client in need of. A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary, segregating your server from communications with the internet’s users.

From the point of view from a client’s perspective, using reverse proxy isn’t different from connecting directly to an internet server. It’s basically the same, but clients aren’t aware of the distinction. The client asks for the resource and receives it, with no additional configuration required by the client.

Reverse proxies provide various features, including:

Central security is a benefit of both forward and reverse proxy solutions, reverse proxy providers provide this feature to the server layer, only the layer that clients use. instead of the maintenance of firewalls on the server level that could contain multiple servers with different configurations, the majority of firewall security could be concentrated on the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, taking the burden of interacting with firewalls and interacting with requests from clients not connected to web servers allows them to concentrate solely on delivering the needs of their customers.

In the case of multiple servers hosting through reverse proxy the reverse proxy manages the routing of requests to which servers. There could be multiple web servers serving the same resource, or serving different kinds of resources or a mixture of the two. They may utilize an HTTP protocol for functioning as a normal web server, but they may also include protocols for application servers like FastCGI. You can set up reverse proxy that routes clients to specific servers according to the requested resource, or to observe certain guidelines for traffic load.

Reverse proxies may also benefit from their positioning before web servers, by providing caching capabilities. Large static assets can be managed using caching rules to prevent reaching web servers every time you request. There are options that provide the option of serving static content without needing to communicate with the webserver at all. Additionally, reverse proxy can manage compressing these files.

The well-known Nginx web server has become a well-known reverse proxy choice. While it is true that it is true that the Apache web server does have a reverse proxy capabilities as an added feature available to Apache but Nginx was originally designed to and is focused on reverse proxy functionality.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Examples

Because “forward” and “reverse” are both associated with the perception of directionality, they can lead to false comparisons with “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic could be confusing because both kinds of proxy servers process requests and response. A better approach to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy servers is to study the needs of the application that you are building.

Reverse proxy is a vital element in the creation of a method to run web-based applications via the internet. They serve as servers when you interact with the Internet.

Forward proxy can be useful in displaying customer information for your own use, or for use in a working environment. They are a way to display the information of your client every time you interact with them on the internet.

A distinction based on use cases instead of focusing on similar naming conventions can help avoid confusion.


This article clarified the definition of a proxy with two types of them being the forward and the reverse proxy. Practical applications and an exploration of the beneficial attributes were utilized to distinguish forward proxies from reverse proxy. If you’re interested exploring the benefits for proxy servers read our guide on how you can configure Nginx as a web server and reverse proxy on Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

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