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It’s proxy, also known as a proxy which is also known as a proxy server. It is software that acts in the role of an intermediary server and a client over the internet. In the absence of a proxy server, a client could make a request for the server directly, and the server will provide direct access to that resource for the client. While this is a simple method to understand and implement with proxies, it can bring advantages in terms better performance, privacy, security, and much more. A pass-through layer in addition to proxy acts as an extra security layer on the internet between servers and clients.

It is generally accepted that the set of server hardware and installed proxy software is also commonly called proxy servers. This article will focus on proxy servers which are usually classified as software and when referring to web servers. This article will give an in-depth description of the two primary types: a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own usage case, but they’re often misunderstood due to the similar namesake convention.

This article will provide information about what proxies are and what subtypes they are, and how they work in common configurations. In this article, you’ll be able identify circumstances in which you may make use of a proxy, and select the right solution between reverse proxy and forward proxy for any situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy, also referred to by its name of the open proxy, acts as a representative for a client who wants to transmit a request over the internet to a source server. In this situation, it’s the case that all requests made by the client would rather be sent through an forward proxy. A forward proxy, acting in place of the client will examine the request. First, it must determine if the client is permitted to transmit requests through this particular forward proxy. Then it can either reject any request, or send it on to its original server. The client doesn’t get direct internet access. It only has access to the internet that the forward proxy allows the client to access.

One of the most frequent reasons for forward proxy is to increase privacy or anonymity on the internet. A forward proxy uses the internet as the client, and in this way, it can make use of an alternative IP address to the client’s original IP address.

Based on the way it has been set up depending on how it is configured forward proxy could offer a number of options and allow you to:

  • Do not click on ads that track you.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You will be able to identify any restrictions based upon your geographical place of residence.

Forward proxies are also utilized in systems that provide central security and allow access through authorizations, for instance in a workplace. If all internet traffic flows through a standard forward proxy, a manager could grant only a small number of users connection to the web which is filtered by a standard firewall. Instead of keeping firewalls in place for the client layer that may include multiple devices that have different configurations and clients, the firewall can be placed in the layer that forwards proxy traffic.

Note that forward proxies require manual setup for use while reverse proxies may not be noticed from the customer. Based on the type of IP address the client, it is relayed to the server that originated it via the forward proxy privacy and anonymity may be granted, or not be noticed.

There are many possibilities to consider when it comes to forward proxy choices:

  • Apache An open-source, well-known web server with forward proxy capabilities.

  • Nginx is another well-known open-source web server that has the ability to forward-proxy.

  • Squid is an open-source forward proxy which uses the HTTP protocol. It doesn’t provide a complete internet server. You can refer to our step-bystep guide for setting up Squid proxy to allow private connections in Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol rather than HTTP which allows it to be more appropriate for applications such as peer-to-peer traffic. It’s also possible to find out how to install the Dante proxy to connect private connections on Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy functions as a proxy for web servers, which handles any requests that come in from clients for. This server can include a server, or multiple servers. It could also function for application servers, such as Gunicorn. In both cases, the request is received from a user via the web at large. In most cases, the request will go directly to the web server, containing the information that the client needs of. A reverse proxy functions as an intermediary and separates it from direct interaction with the internet’s open.

From the perspective of a user, interacting with reverse proxy is not any different from connecting to the Web server direct. It’s the same thing and the client is unable to tell the distinction. The client requests an item, it receives it with no additional configuration needed from the client.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

  • The server for the web is secure centrally.

  • The sending of traffic according to the rules you can define.

  • Additional features to cache data.

While central security is a benefit of both forward and reverse proxy solutions, reverse proxies give this benefit to Web server layers, but not to the layer of clients. Instead of implementing firewalls on the layer of web servers, which could contain multiple servers with different configurations, the bulk of firewall security lies at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, getting rid of the responsibility of communicating with firewalls and coordinating requests from clients who aren’t connected to web servers allows them to concentrate solely on providing the needs of their clients.

In the case of multiple servers existing behind a reverse proxy the reverse proxy is also responsible to control which requests are routed to which servers. Multiple web servers might be serving the same content, supplying various kinds of resources or a mix of the two. They can use the HTTP protocol in the same way as traditional web servers but include other protocols for application servers like FastCGI. There is the possibility to set up reverse proxy servers to direct clients to specific servers in accordance with the resource requested or to follow specific guidelines for traffic load.

Reverse proxies may also profit by their position before web servers, by providing caching functions. The large static file can be arranged by caching rules, avoiding having to call web servers every time you request. Some options allowing you to serve static assets directly without contacting the web server for any reason. Additionally, reverse proxy can manage compression of these assets.

The well-known Nginx web server is also used as a well-known reverse proxy option. While Apache is also a reverse proxy solution, the Apache web server is also equipped with an reverse proxy, which is an additional function for Apache but Nginx was initially developed for and focuses exclusively on reverse proxy feature.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and reverse Proxy Use Examples

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” are both associated with a sense of directionality and can lead to misleading comparisons with “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic, these labels can confuse since both kinds of proxies handle requests and responses. Instead, a better way to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy services is to study the specifications of the application you’re creating.

Reverse proxy is an important tool to develop an approach to offer web-based services on the internet. They are your web servers every time you use the internet.

Forward proxy software is useful for displaying clients for personal use, or in a professional setting. They are your client’s proxy for all interactions on the internet.

The practice of segregating by use case, instead of focusing on common naming conventions can make it easier for people to stay clear of confusion.


This article will explain what a proxy is along with two kinds, which are the forward proxy as well as the reverse proxy. Practical applications and a review of the beneficial features were used to differentiate between forward proxies and reverse proxies. If you’d like to discover the possibilities of proxies then you should read our guide on how to set up Nginx as an reverse proxy and internet server for Apache running the Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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