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It is an proxy which is also known as a proxy server. It is a program that functions as a mediator between client and server over the internet. Without a proxy, a user can send a request or resource to the server directly, and the server would deliver the resource directly to the user. While this is a simple method to comprehend and implement the addition of proxies could provide advantages in the form of increased performance and privacy, security and many other benefits. As a pass-through layer a proxy serves as an extra layer of security on the internet between clients and servers.

The general consensus is that the mix of hardware for servers and software to install proxy servers is commonly referred to by the name of proxy servers. However, this article will focus on proxy servers which are generally considered to be software, and also within the context of web servers. There will be a discussion of the two main types of proxy servers, which include a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each has its own usage scenario that is frequently misunderstood because of the similar terminology.

This article will provide you with some understanding about the types of proxies and what their subtypes are, and how they work in common configurations. After having read this article, you’ll be able determine the situations in which you can benefit from a proxy. You’ll then choose the best option between forward and reverse proxy in any particular situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

The forward proxy, also referred to as the open proxy acts as the representative of a client who wishes to forward a request over the internet to a source server. In this scenario, the entire request sent by the user will instead be forwarded by the forward-proxy. The forward proxy, acting on behalf of the client will review the request. The first step is to determine if the client is able to accept requests through this specific forward proxy. It then decides whether to reject an request and forward it to its original server. The client isn’t capable of having directly access to internet. It can access only what forward proxy allows the client to access.

A popular use for forward proxy is to achieve more privacy or protection online. Forward proxy can be used to access the internet in instead of a client and in this manner, it may make use of an IP address that is different from the initial IP address.

Depending on how it has been configured, the forward proxy can provide different functions, based on the configuration and lets you:

  • Stay clear of tracking ads.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • Find restrictions based on the location you are in.

Forward proxies are also used for security systems that are centralized and permission-based access, such as in the workplace. The entire internet can be passed via an open forward proxy, an administrator can grant only a handful of clients connection to internet via a common firewall. Instead of creating security firewalls on the server layer, which could comprise a range of machines that have different settings and users A firewall can be installed on top of an front proxy layer.

It is vital to note that forward proxy servers must be set up manually for be used, however reverse proxies remain undetected by clients. Based on the fact that the IP address of a user is transmitted to the origin server by forward proxy privacy and anonymity may be granted, or left unnoticed.

There are numerous possibilities to explore for forward proxy options:

  • Apache The Apache is a popular open-source web server that provides forward proxy features.

  • Nginx is a different well-known open-source webserver that comes with forward proxy functions.

  • Squid is an open source forward proxy that utilizes the HTTP protocol. It does not come with an all-inclusive Web server software. You can check out our instructions on setting up Squid proxy for private connections in Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy that utilizes the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP which makes it better suited for cases like peer-to-peer traffic. You may also want to investigate how to set up an Dante proxy to connect privately in Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy serves as a webserver, which takes care of requests from clients in its place. The web server may serve as a single server or a number of servers. Additionally, it can function in the role of an application server, such as Gunicorn. In any of these situations, the request will come from a user via the internet. In most cases, the request will be directly sent to the web server which is the one that has the resources the user is requesting. In contrast, a reverse proxy works as an intermediary, shielding it from any direct interaction with the internet’s open.

From the perspective of the client, interfacing with reverse proxy is not different from connecting to the web server directly. It’s functionally identical and the user doesn’t see the distinction. The client makes an request for a resource that is then followed by receiving it with no extra configuration required by the user.

Reverse proxies can provide features such as:

  • Security centralized for web servers.

  • Directing traffic according to rules that you can define.

  • Additional functionality for caching.

While centralized security is a benefit of both reverse and forward proxy servers, reverse proxy services provide this benefit only to that layer of the internet server, but not to the client layer. Instead of the maintenance of firewalls in the server level, which can contain multiple servers with various configurations, the bulk of the firewall security can be centered at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally eliminating the burden of interacting with firewalls and interfacing with requests coming from clients far from web servers lets them focus on serving the resources.

If multiple servers are operating through a reverse proxy The reverse proxy determines how requests are routed which server. There could be multiple web servers providing the exact identical service, and each offering different types of resources or a mix of both. They may utilize the HTTP protocol for a traditional web server, but they might also include application server protocols such as FastCGI. It is possible to set up reverse proxy that routes clients to specific servers based on the resource they request or to observe certain guidelines regarding traffic load.

Reverse proxies can also benefit from their placement on top of web servers by offering caching capabilities. Massive static resources can be configured by using caching rules to stop from hitting web servers with every request, with certain options allowing users to provide static files directly, without connecting to the web server even once. Additionally, reverse proxy can handle compression of these assets.

The well-known Nginx web server is a very popular reverse proxy service. While Apache can also be a reverse proxy option but it is not a reverse proxy solution. Apache web server has a reverse proxy functionality as an additional option to Apache while Nginx was initially designed and was designed with a focus on reverse proxy capabilities.

Differentiating Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Differentiating Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Utilization

Since “forward” along with “reverse” have connotations of directionality, as well as false connections to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic These labels are prone to confusion because both types of proxies are able to handle requests and responses. Better yet, the best method to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy is to examine the specifications of the application that you’re developing.

Reverse proxy is an essential element when you’re developing a solution to serve web applications on the internet. They act as your web server during any interaction via the internet.

A forward proxy is beneficial when it is used before customers for your personal use, or even in a workplace. They are your client’s proxy via any communication with the internet.

Utilizing use cases to differentiate instead of focusing on the common name conventions can make it easier to avoid confusion.


The article clarified the definition of a proxy and the two primary types being the reverse proxy and forward proxy. Practical scenarios for using them and a review of the most beneficial features were used to distinguish forward proxies and reverse proxies. If you’re looking to know more about the benefits of proxies, you can read our guide on how to set up Nginx as an reverse proxy and an internet server using Apache in Ubuntu 20.04 Server. Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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