The word “proxy” is a reference to a proxy or proxy server is software that functions as mediator between a client and server on the internet. Without the aid of a proxy, a user could send a request to the server directly, and then the server will provide the requested resource directly to the user. Although this approach is simple to understand and implement with proxy servers, it does offer advantages in terms of enhanced performance and privacy, security and many more. In addition, a pass-through a proxy serves as a security guardian for the internet between servers and clients.

In general, the combined mix of hardware for servers as well as proxy software is commonly called proxy servers. This article will focus on proxies that are traditionally described as software as well as being used in conjunction with web servers. The article will provide an explanation of the two kinds: forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each kind has its own unique usage scenario, which is often not understood due to the identical namesake convention.

This article will provide the basics of what proxies and subtypes are and what they can do in the common configurations. After reading this article, you’ll be able to identify the instances where the use of proxy servers is advantageous and select the best option between reverse proxy and forward proxy for any particular scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy sometimes known as the open proxy is a proxy for the user trying to send an online request to a server. In this scenario, the entire attempt to send requests initiated by the client will instead be routed through the forward proxy. The forward proxy, acting on behalf of the client will review the request. It will first determine if clients are authorized to submit requests via this particular forward proxy. It will then deny requests or redirect them to the server that originally made the request. The client is not able to have an internet connection directly. It is able to access only the information that forward proxy allows it to access.

The most common reason for using forward proxy is to increase security or privacy on the internet. The forward proxy is connected to the internet instead of the client, and in this way, it is using an IP address that is different from the IP address that the user is using.

Based on the way it has been set up the forward proxy can provide a variety of functions depending on how it is configured and lets you:

Forward proxies are also used in systems that provide security centrally and access based on user permissions like in workplaces. If all internet traffic flows via an open forward proxy an administrator is able to restrict access only to a select group of clients accessing the internet, which is filtered by the common firewall. Instead of establishing firewalls for the client layer, which can include multiple machines with different settings and users, the firewall could be installed at the layer which forwards proxy traffic.

It is important to be aware of the fact that forward proxy servers require manual configuration to use and reverse proxies may be ignored in the eyes of the user. Based on the type of IP address of a user is transmitted to the server which originated it through the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity may be granted or hidden.

There are a variety of possibilities to consider when considering forward proxy alternatives:

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy acts as the agent of a server on the internet that manages requests from customers for. The web server can comprise a single server, or multiple servers. It may also act for application servers, such as Gunicorn. The request will be sent via the internet in general. In the majority of cases the request will be sent directly to the server hosting the content that the user is seeking. A reverse proxy serves as an intermediary, separating this webserver from direct connections with the internet’s open.

From the viewpoint of a user the experience of using reverse proxy is not different from interacting with the webserver in direct contact. It’s basically the same however the client can’t be able to discern the difference. The client sends an order for an item, and then receives it, without further configuration required from the user.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

Although central security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxy servers. However, reverse proxies offer this advantage only to the server layer, not to the client layer. Instead of maintaining firewalls that are on the web servers layer which may comprise several servers that have different configurations, the bulk of firewall security is concentrated on the reverse proxy layer. In addition, the ease of dealing with firewalls and responding to requests from clients who do not have web servers lets them focus on meeting the requirements of their customers.

If there are multiple servers operating in a reverse proxy, the reverse proxy is also responsible for directing which requests are directed towards which servers. There could be multiple web servers providing the exact same service, but offering different kinds of resources or a combination of both. They can utilize an HTTP protocol to operate as a normal web server, but they may also be equipped with protocols for application servers like FastCGI. You can create reverse proxy servers to redirect users to specific servers according to the requested resource, or adhere to certain guidelines regarding the load of traffic.

Reverse proxies also can benefit from their positioning on top of web servers, as they have the capability to store data. The large static files can be created using caching rules to prevent hitting web servers with every request. Certain solutions allow users to upload static files directly, without having to connect to a web server in any way. In addition reverse proxy can be used to compress these files.

The well-known Nginx web server is also used as an extremely popular reverse proxy service. Although Apache is also a reverse proxy option but 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.

The difference between the use of forward and reverse proxy Examples

Since “forward” as well as “reverse” are often associated with the notion of directionality and false comparisons are made to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic and can be confusing since both types of proxy servers handle both responses and requests. A better approach to distinguish between forward and reverse proxy is to look at the specifications of the application that you’re constructing.

Reverse proxy is useful in the development of a system to deliver web-based applications on the internet. They serve as your web servers when you are on the web.

Forward proxy can be beneficial when it is placed before clients for personal use or even in a working environment. They are a representation of the traffic of your client whenever you connect to the internet.

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


The article delineated the meaning of a proxy with the two types of proxy: the forward proxy and reverse proxy. Examples of how to use them and a discussion of the most useful features were utilized to distinguish between forward and reverse proxies. If you’re interested in exploring the advantages for proxy servers you can learn how to set up Nginx as an internet proxy and reverse proxy for Apache in the Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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