The word “proxy” refers to the term “proxy” which refers to proxy also referred to a proxy server which is a server application that acts as an intermediary between a client and server on the internet. Without the need for proxy servers, users could send a request for resources direct to the server and the server would return the resource directly back to the user. While this approach is straightforward to grasp and use but using proxies has benefits like improved performance as well as privacy, security and many more. As an additional pass-through layer the proxy serves as a security safeguard for the internet between clients and servers.
Generally speaking, the bundled system of server hardware with the installed proxy software is also often referred too as proxy servers. This article will concentrate on the types of proxies that are typically thought to be software, and specifically with regard to web servers. The article will provide details of two types of proxies, which are forward proxy and the other a reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has a different application, and is often confused because of the similar terminology.
This article will provide you with the understanding of the different types of proxies, the subtypes they are, as well as how they work with a range of configurations. Through this article, you’ll learn to identify situations in which a proxy is beneficial, and choose the correct solution between forward proxy and reverse proxy, in any scenario.
Understanding Forward Proxies
Forward proxy sometimes called an open proxy serves as an intermediary to allow a user to send a request over the internet to an source server. In this scenario, the entire process of sending requests from the user is sent through the forward proxy. Forward proxy that acts in place of the client, will take a look into 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 them to the origin server. The client isn’t able to have directly access to internet. It is only able to access what the forward proxy allows for it access to.
A common use case of forward proxies is to gain more privacy or security on the internet. Forward proxy connects to the internet as a client and it can use an alternative IP address in addition to the client’s original IP address.
Based on how it’s been configured in accordance with the configuration forward proxy may offer a wide range of options and let you:
Beware of tracking ads.
Find limitations based on your location.
Forward proxies can also be used in systems that rely on central security and access based on permissions, like in a workplace. If all traffic on the internet flows via an open forward proxy, an administrator can grant access only to a select group of people to connect on the internet. This is blocked by a common firewall. Instead of creating firewalls on the layer of clients which can be used by a variety of computer systems with different configurations and environments, a firewall could be installed at the proxy layer.
It is important to remember that forward proxies need to be manually configured for use and reverse proxies can not be noticed by the user. Depending on the type IP address a client is transmitted to the server from where it originated via the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity could be granted or not.
There are several options to consider for forward proxy:
Apache A well-known, open-source web server, that can provide forward proxy features.
Nginx: Another well-known open-source server for hosting websites with forward proxy features.
Squid: An open-source forward proxy that uses the HTTP protocol. It’s not the complete web server system. You can refer to our step-by-step guide to install Squid proxy to allow private connections within Ubuntu 20.04.
Dante Forward Proxy which uses the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP which makes it more appropriate for situations such as peer-topeer traffic. You may also want to learn how to setup an Dante proxy to connect privately in Ubuntu 20.04
Understanding Reverse Proxies
Reverse proxy acts as an intermediary between web servers, which handles incoming requests from customers on its behalf. This server can function as a one server, or multiple servers. Additionally, it can serve for application servers, such as Gunicorn. In any event the request will be made from the Internet at large. Typically the request will be sent directly to the web server with what the client wants. Reverse proxy, however, serves as an intermediary shielding the server from direct contact to the open internet.
From a user’s point of perspective, the experience of working using reverse proxy isn’t much different from working with the server on its own. It’s exactly the same thing, however the client can’t distinguish between the two. The client can request the resource, and is provided with it, with no further configuration required on the part of the client.
Reverse proxy providers provide options like:
Secured centrally for Web Server Layer.
The direction of traffic coming in is according to the rules you establish.
The caching functionality has been added to the app.
While centralized security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy services, reverse proxy providers this feature at the layer of web servers, but not the client layer. instead of having to maintain firewalls at Web server layers, which could contain multiple servers with different configurations, most of the firewall security is concentrated at reverse proxy layers. In addition eliminating the hassle of dealing with firewalls as well as interacting with requests from clients that are not on web servers permits them to focus on delivering the needs of their clients.
If there are multiple servers running through a reverse proxy the reverse proxy also takes care of directing the flow of requests to each server. There may be several web servers offering the same service, each offering various kinds of resources or a mixture of both. These servers can be using the HTTP protocol as a conventional web server. However, they can also include application server protocols such as FastCGI. You can configure reverse proxy settings to send visitors to specific server depending on the service they require or to follow certain rules regarding traffic load.
Reverse proxies also have the ability to benefit from their positioning before web servers, by providing the ability to cache data. The large static files can be managed by caching rules so that they avoid Web servers from getting hit with every request. Certain software solutions let you provide static files directly by not connecting with the website server. Additionally the reverse proxy can manage the compression of these assets.
The popular Nginx web server is also an effective reverse proxy service. You can also use Nginx, the Apache web server has reverse proxy capabilities, it is an additional option for Apache while Nginx was designed originally for and is focused specifically on reverse proxy features.
Distinguishing Forward and Reverse Proxy Use Cases
Since “forward” as well as “reverse” have associations with directionality, and false comparisons to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic the labels could be confusing because both kinds of proxy are capable of handling requests and responses. A different method of distinguishing between forward and reverse proxies is to examine the specifications of the application that you are creating.
A reverse proxy can be beneficial when designing an application to run websites on the internet. They act as your web server for all interactions over the internet.
Forward proxy is useful when it is displayed before customers for your personal use or within the corporate setting. They are a representation of the customer’s data whenever you interact on the internet.
Differentiating by case of use instead of focusing solely on standard naming conventions can assist you in avoidance of confusion.
The article clarified the significance of a proxy with two types: the reverse proxy and forward proxy. Examples of practical use as well as an examination of beneficial characteristics were used to determine the two kinds of proxy: forward and reverse. If you’re interested to learn more about the possibilities of proxies then we recommend that you go through our guide on how to configure Nginx to function as an Internet server and reverse proxy on Apache running on the Ubuntu 20.04 Server.
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