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It is 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. With no proxy in place, a client can send a request to an item directly to a server and the server would provide the requested resource directly to the client. While this approach is straightforward to comprehend and implement using proxy services, it may provide advantages in terms of greater performance, privacy, security, and much more. A pass-through layer in addition to proxy acts as a security guardian for the internet between clients and servers.

In general, the collection of hardware used by servers and installed proxy software is also commonly called proxy servers. This article will focus on proxies that are traditionally described as software, and when referring to web servers. This article will give a detailed breakdown of the two main types: a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own usage instance, but they often get confused due to the same name-based convention.

This article will provide information about what proxies are and what their subtypes are, and how they work in common configurations. In this article you will be able to determine the situations in which you can gain from using a proxy, and decide on the most appropriate solution between reverse proxy and forward proxy for any situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy, also known by its name of the open proxy is an intermediary for a customer who wants to send a request through the internet to an origin server. In this case, it’s the situation that all requests sent by the client would rather be sent through the forward proxy. A forward proxy acting in instead of the customer will examine the request. It is the first thing to determine if the client is permitted to make requests through this particular forward proxy. It will then deny the request or forward it to the server originally. The client does not get direct internet access. It only has access to the internet that forward proxy permits the client to access.

One of the most popular uses for forward proxies is to increase privacy or anonymity on internet. Forward proxy utilizes the internet as a client, and in this manner, it may make use of an alternative IP address in addition to the original IP address.

Depending on how it has been configured and the way it’s configured forward proxy can offer a number of options. It will allow you to:

  • Avoid tracking ads.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You can determine restrictions based on your geographical place of residence.

Forward proxies can also be used in systems that offer central security and access via permissions, like in a workplace. If all internet traffic flows through a standard forward proxy, an administrator can allow only a handful of clients access to the internet which is filtered by a standard firewall. Instead of putting firewalls to protect the client layer, which could include multiple computers with various configurations and users, the firewall could be put on the layer that forwards proxy-related traffic.

Be aware that forward proxy servers need to be manually setup for use while reverse proxies could go unnoticed by the client. Based on the type of IP address the customer, if it is relayed back to the server from which it originated via forward proxy, privacy and security can be granted, or not noticed.

There are many options to look into when it comes to forward proxy choices:

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

  • Nginx is another popular open-source web server that comes with forward proxy capabilities.

  • Squid is a free forward proxy which uses the HTTP protocol. This doesn’t offer an entire Web server. You can refer to our step-by-step guide to set up Squid proxy for private connections on Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol rather than HTTP which makes it more suitable for applications such as peer-to-peer traffic. It is also possible to learn how to set up an Dante proxy for private connections in Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy serves as a proxy for web servers, which handles incoming requests from clients on behalf of. This server can include a server, or multiple servers. Furthermore, it could serve as an application server, such as Gunicorn. In both cases, the request will come in via the web in general. Most of the time, the request will go directly to the web server along with the information the client requires of. Reverse proxy, however, serves as an intermediary, and separates it from directly interacting with the internet’s open.

From the viewpoint of the client the experience of interacting with reverse proxy is not different than interacting with a Web server direct. It’s exactly the same, and the client is unable to tell the difference. The client asks for an item, it is then granted access, with no extra configuration required from the client.

Reverse proxy providers provide features like:

  • The server for the web is secure centrally.

  • Sending traffic to be directed according to the rules you define.

  • Additional features to cache data.

Central security is an advantage of both forward and reverse proxy service, reverse proxy providers provide this benefit to Web layer servers, but not to the layer that clients use. instead of maintaining firewalls on the layer of web servers that may contain several servers that have different configurations, the majority of firewall security is centered at the layer of reverse proxy. Additionally eliminating the hassle of dealing with firewalls as well as communicating requests from clients who aren’t connected to web servers lets them concentrate on delivering the needs of their clients.

In the event of multiple servers running through a reverse proxy, the reverse proxy is also accountable for directing which requests pass through which server. There could be multiple web servers serving the same content, offering different kinds of resources, or a mix of the two. They can utilize the HTTP protocol in the same way as traditional web servers but they could also include application server protocols such as FastCGI. It is possible to configure reverse proxy servers that redirects clients to particular servers based on the requested resource, or to adhere to specific rules regarding traffic load.

Reverse proxies can also benefit from their placement before web servers, by offering caching capabilities. Large static files can be configured with caching rules to avoid needing to connect with web servers on every request, with some options allowing you to serve static assets directly without having to connect to the web server at all times. Additionally, reverse proxy is able to handle the compression of these files.

The well-known Nginx web server also functions as an extremely popular reverse proxy option. Although Apache can also be a reverse proxy solution however, the Apache web server comes with a reverse proxy which is an additional function for Apache However, Nginx was initially developed for and focuses exclusively on reverse proxy feature.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and reverse Proxy Examples

Because “forward” and “reverse” are both associated with an impression of directionality and can lead to misleading comparisons with “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic and vice versa, these labels are often confusing because both types of proxies handle requests and responses. The best way to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy services is to study the requirements of the application that you are building.

Reverse proxy is an important tool for the creation of a solution to offer web-based services on the internet. They are your web servers whenever you interact using the internet.

Forward proxy software is useful to show clients’ personal usage, or even in a business environment. They act as your client’s proxy for any interaction online.

Separating by use case rather than focussing on the common naming conventions can make it easier to avoid confusion.


This article will explain the definition of a proxy along with the two types, which are the forward proxy as well as the reverse proxy. Practical applications and a discussion of the beneficial features were used to distinguish forward proxies from reverse proxies. If you’re interested in exploring the possibilities of proxy services, then read our guide on how to configure Nginx as an internet server and reverse proxy for Apache on the Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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