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The term “proxy” refers to a proxy is also known as proxy server software which acts in the role of a mediator client and server on the internet. Without an intermediary the client would a request the resource directly to a server, and the server would serve the requested resource directly to the user. Although this is a simple process to comprehend and implement, adding proxies provides advantages including increased speed, privacy and security, and a lot more. Apart from offering a security layer they also act as a guardian for the internet between users and servers.

In general, the bundle of servers that have installed proxy software is commonly referred to in the context of proxy servers. But, this article will be focusing on proxy servers that are traditionally referred to as software and in the context of web servers. This article will give a synopsis of the two main kinds: one being a forward proxy and the other being a reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has a different use, which could be confusing due to the similar namesake convention.

This article will provide readers with the information on the different types of proxy services, their subtypes are, as well as the ways they can be useful for the most common setups. In this article, you’ll be able to discern the scenarios that you can gain from a proxy. You can also choose the correct solution in the case of forward or reverse proxy for any scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy, also known as an open proxy is the representative of a customer who wishes to send requests via the internet to the server that originated it. In this situation, it’s the situation that all requests received from the client will be directed directly into the forward proxy. This forward proxy acting in the place that of the customer, is able to take a look into the request. At first, it will decide whether the client is authorized to send requests through this specific forward proxy. It will then either deny requests or redirect it to the origin server. The client is not capable of having direct access to the internet. it can only be allowed to access data that forward-proxy permits it to connect to.

One popular reason to use forward proxy is to provide greater security or privacy on the internet. Forward proxy is able to access the internet using the client, and in this manner, it utilizes another IP address, in contrast to the IP address of your client.

Based on the way it has been configured, based on the way it has been configured forward proxy could offer a range of functions and the capability to:

  • Beware of ads-trackers.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You can determine limitations based on your location.

Forward proxies also are used in systems of centralized security and access is based upon permissions, like, in a workplace. If all internet traffic goes by an open forward proxy an administrator could restrict access to certain clients to the internet through the common firewall. Instead of establishing firewalls for the client layer which could comprise multiple computers with different configurations and users A firewall could be installed on the forward proxy layer.

Remember that forward proxies need to be configured manually to utilize and reverse proxies could be ignored by the client. The type of IP address of the client, when it is sent to the server that originated it through forward proxy privacy and anonymity may be granted or kept in the dark.

There are many possibilities to look into forward proxy options:

  • Apache: A popular open-source webserver that provides forward proxy options.

  • Nginx: Another renowned open-source web server with forward proxy capabilities.

  • Squid: A free and open source forward proxy using the HTTP protocol. It doesn’t provide a complete web server application. It is possible to refer to our instructions on how to set up Squid proxy to permit private connections in Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol in place of HTTP which makes it more suitable for use cases such as with peer-to-peer traffic. It is also possible to learn how to set up Dante proxy to support private connections in Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy acts as an agent for a web server. It takes care of incoming requests from clients on its behalf. Web servers can function as a single server or a number of servers. It could also serve as an app server, such as Gunicorn. In any of these scenarios, a request would come from a user of the internet in general. In most cases the request will be sent directly to the web server that holds all the information the user is seeks. A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary, shielding the webserver from direct contact with the internet.

From the perspective of the user’s viewpoint, the process of using reverse proxy isn’t any different than working with a web server directly. It’s functionally the same however the client is unable to tell the difference. The client makes the request to access an item, and it is then followed by the receipt of it without any additional configuration required on the part of the client.

Reverse proxy proxies can provide features, like:

  • Security centralized for web servers.

  • Controlling traffic inbound according to rules you create.

  • The caching feature was added to the application.

While centralized security is an advantage of both reverse and forward proxy solutions, reverse proxy providers provide this benefit only to Web server layers, not to the layer that clients use. instead of the maintenance of firewalls on Web server layers which could comprise multiple servers that have different configurations, the bulk of the firewall security is aimed at the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, removing the obligation of interfacing with a firewall and responding to requests from clients via web servers allows them to concentrate on delivering resources.

In the case of multiple servers operating through a reverse proxy, it also controls how requests are routed to the correct server. There are many web servers offering the same service, each serving various kinds of resources or a mix of both. These servers could use an HTTP protocol to serve as a web server in the traditional sense, however, they may also use application server protocols like FastCGI. It is possible to set up reverse proxy servers to direct users to specific servers according to the requested resource, or to observe certain traffic load rules.

Reverse proxies also can benefit from their positioning in front of web servers through the capability of caching. Massive static resources can be configured using caching rules in order that they do not have to communicate with web servers every time they need to make a request. There are solutions providing the option to directly serve static assets without having to connect to the web server in any way. Additionally, the reverse proxy can be used to handle compression of the assets.

The popular Nginx web server is a reliable reverse proxy service. Although you can utilize the Apache web server also has a reverse proxy as an added feature of Apache as opposed to Nginx was initially designed for and concentrates on the reverse proxy function.

The distinction between Forward and Reverse Proxy Use. Differentiating Forward and Reverse Proxy Use

Since “forward” or “reverse” are associated with directionality, and false comparisons to “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic, the labels can be confusing because both types of proxies are capable of handling requests as well as responses. The best way to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy is to consider the needs of the application you’re creating.

A reverse proxy is a good option in the development of solutions to run web applications on the internet. They are your web servers for any interaction online.

Forward proxy software is beneficial when employed in front of client traffic for your personal use or in the workplace. They represent the client’s web traffic in any online interaction.

Utilizing case-based differentiation instead of focusing solely on similar naming conventions will help you avoid confusion.


This article clarified the meaning of a proxy, with the two main kinds of them being the forward proxy and the reverse proxy. Practical applications and a look at positive characteristics were utilized to define forward proxies as well as reverse proxy. If you’re interested to learn more about the implementation of proxy servers take a look at our tutorial on how to configure Nginx as an internet server and reverse proxy for Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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