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The term “proxy” refers to the term “proxy” which refers to proxy also referred to a proxy server which is a server application which serves in the role of an intermediary a client and a server on the internet. Without the need for a proxy, a user can send a request directly to a server, then the server could provide the requested resource directly for the client. This method is simple to comprehend and utilize, the addition of proxies can bring benefits including improved performance and privacy, security and more. In addition to providing a pass-through layer, the proxy functions as a security layer for the internet between clients and servers.

In general, the combination of hardware and software for servers coupled with installed proxy software is often referred to as a proxy server. This article will focus on the types of proxies that are typically thought to be software, and specifically with regard with web server. This article will give a description of two types that are available, including a forward proxy and the other a reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own use case, often confused due to the similar terms.

This article will provide you with the understanding of the different types of proxies, what their subtypes are and how they function in various configurations. In this guide, you’ll be able to identify situations in which a proxy is beneficial, and decide on the right choice between reverse proxy and forward proxy for any situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

A forward proxy, sometimes referred to an open proxy, acts as an intermediary for a client trying to make a request via the internet to a source server. In this situation the entire effort to send requests made by the user is instead sent via the forward proxy. Forward proxy that acts in place of the client, will examine into the request. At the beginning, it will decide whether this client is able to handle requests via this particular forward proxy. Then, it will either reject requests or redirect it to the original server. The client is not able to have direct access to the internet. It can access only what forward proxy allows it to access.

A common use case of forward proxy is to achieve greater privacy or security on the internet. A forward proxy accesses the internet as a client and, in doing so, it can use an alternative IP address in addition to the initial IP address of the client.

Based on the way it has been configured in accordance with the configuration forward proxy can provide a variety of functions and let you:

  • Avoid tracking ads.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • Find limitations based on your location.

Forward proxies also are used in systems that rely on central security as well as permission-based access, such as in a workplace. If all traffic on the internet flows through a forward proxy open layer administrators can allow access only to a select group of people to connect on the internet, which is filtered by an common firewall. Instead of setting up security firewalls at the user layer, which can be used by a variety of computers that have different configurations, settings, firewalls could be added to the layer that forwards proxy traffic.

It is crucial to keep in mind that forward proxies need to be manually configured for use and reverse proxies can go unnoticed by the client. Depending on the type the IP address that a user is transmitted to the server where it came from by the forward proxy, anonymity and privacy may be granted or not.

There are many options to consider forward proxy options:

  • Apache A popular open-source, well-known web server, that can provide forward proxy features.

  • Nginx: Another well-known open source server for hosting websites with forward proxy capabilities.

  • Squid: An open-source forward proxy based on the HTTP protocol. It’s not the full webserver system. It is possible to refer to our step-by-step guide on how to installing Squid proxy to enable private connections in Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy which uses the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP which allows it to be better suited for usage in situations like peer-topeer traffic. You might also want to learn how to setup a Dante proxy to connect privately in Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

A reverse proxy serves as an intermediary between a web server that handles the incoming requests of customers on behalf of the server. The web server could function as a single server or as a series of servers. Additionally, it can be used in the role of an application server such as Gunicorn. In any case the request will be made from the Internet at large. In most cases, the request will go directly to the web server with what the client is seeking. The reverse proxy functions as an intermediary, protecting the server from direct contact with the internet’s open.

From a user’s point of view the experience of interacting with reverse proxy isn’t a lot different than using the server itself. It’s the same, but clients aren’t able discern the difference. Clients can make a request for the resource and it is then provided with it, with no additional configuration needed from the client.

Reverse proxy providers offer options like:

  • Security centralized for web servers.

  • Incoming traffic is directed based upon rules you set.

  • The caching feature has been added to the app.

While centralized security can be a benefit of both forward and reverse proxy servers, reverse proxies offer this service at the layer of web servers, but not the client layer. instead of the maintenance of firewalls at Web server layers that could include several servers that have various configurations, the majority of firewall security can be concentrated at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally eliminating the responsibility of working with firewalls and interacting with requests from customers outside of web servers permits them to focus on delivering the needs of their customers.

If there are multiple servers operating as a reverse proxy, the reverse proxy is responsible for directing which requests go to which server. There could be multiple web servers that provide the same service, all offering various kinds of resources or a mix of both. These servers could be running the HTTP protocol, which is a standard web server. However, they can also include application server protocols like FastCGI. You can configure reverse proxy servers to redirect visitors to specific server depending on the service requested, or to follow specific rules for traffic load.

Reverse proxies are also able to benefit from their position before web servers, by offering the capability to store data. Massive static resources can be set using caching rules, so that they avoid websites from getting hit with every request. Certain solutions allow you to offer static files directly without connecting to the web server in any way. In addition, the reverse proxy could manage the compression of these files.

The popular Nginx web server can also be an efficient reverse proxy option. While you can use it, Apache web server as reverse proxy features, it is an additional option for Apache while Nginx was originally designed for and specifically designed for reverse proxy features.

Differentiating Between Forward and Reverse Proxy Examples

Since “forward” and “reverse” are associated with directionality, and false connections with “incoming” and “outgoing” traffic, the labels could be confusing as both kinds of proxy are capable of handling requests and responses. Another method of separating between reverse and forward proxies is to examine the requirements of the app you’re developing.

A reverse proxy is helpful when creating an infrastructure to support websites on the internet. They act as your web server for all interactions on the internet.

Forward proxy can be beneficial when placed in front of customers for your personal use or within an organization. They are a representation of the customer’s data whenever you interact on the internet.

Differentiating by case of use instead of focusing on the common names can help in avoidance of confusion.

Conclusion

The article explained the purpose of a proxy with two kinds: the forward proxy and reverse proxy. Examples of practical use as well as an examination of useful features were used to define the two kinds of proxy: forward and reverse. If you’re keen to know more about the advantages of proxies, then we recommend that you go through our tutorial on how to configure Nginx for use as a web server and reverse proxy on Apache running on the Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

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