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“proxy” refers to a software “proxy” is a reference to a proxy frequently referred to as a proxy server is software that serves in the role of intermediary between server and a client on the internet. Without proxy, a user can send a request for an online server, and the server would serve the requested resource directly to the user. Although this method is easy to comprehend and use, proxies can provide benefits such as increased performance as well as security and privacy and so on. As a layer of pass-through, the proxy functions as a guardian to the internet between users and servers.

In general, the combination of server hardware and the software to install proxy servers is usually referred to as proxy servers. This article will focus on proxy servers that are typically described as software specifically, in relation to servers for web. We will provide a brief overview of the two main types of proxy servers: forward proxy and reverse proxy. forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own use case, and is often misinterpreted due the overlapping terminology.

This article will provide you with an idea of the what proxies as well as their subtypes and ways they can be useful in various configurations. If you read this article, you’ll discover instances where the use of proxy servers is beneficial, and then determine the best choice between forward and reverse proxy for any particular situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy is also referred to by the name of the open proxy, acts as the client’s representative who is trying to send requests via the internet to an source server. In this situation, any request made by the user will be made through the forward proxy. Forward proxy acting in the place of the client, will examine the request. Then, it will determine whether the client is permitted to send requests via this specific forward proxy. Then, it will decide whether to reject the request or forward it to the server that originated the request. The client is unable to connect directly to the internet. It can only reach what forward proxy allows the client to access.

The primary reason for people for using forward proxy services is to improve privacy or security while using the internet. Forward proxy allows you to access the internet, instead of clients, and in this manner, it is using an alternative IP address to the IP address that was originally used by the client.

Depending on how it’s set up depending on how it’s configured forward proxy can offer a variety of features and allow users to:

  • Beware of ads-trackers.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You can identify restrictions based on your geographical location.

Forward proxies are also utilized for security systems which are centralized and accessible based on permissions, like at work. In the event that all internet traffic is routed through an open forward proxy layer an administrator can restrict access to only a limited number of internet users, which is filtered by a common firewall. Instead of establishing security firewalls on the layer that is used by clients which could be used by multiple computers with different environments and types of users it is possible to establish an firewall that is located in the front proxy layer.

It is important to note that forward proxy servers require manual configuration to be used, while reverse proxy servers can be hidden from the view of clients. Based on the fact that your IP address a user is relayed to an server of origin through the forward proxy, privacy and anonymity are granted or not.

There are many possibilities to think about when it comes to forward proxies.

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

  • Nginx is another widely-used open-source webserver that includes forward proxy features.

  • Squid: A free forward proxy which uses an HTTP protocol. It’s not part of the complete web server. Follow our steps on how to set up Squid proxy to permit private connections in Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward proxy that utilizes the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP which allows it to be more suitable for situations such as peer-to-peer connections. It is also possible to know how to configure Dante proxy to permit private connections on Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy serves as an agent for a server on the internet, which handles requests from customers on behalf of. It could represent a single, or multiple servers. Also, it could represent an application server, like Gunicorn. In either scenario the request will be made through the internet generally. In most cases, the request is sent directly to the server which hosts the resources the user is in need of. In contrast, a reverse proxy is a intermediary, and separates this webserver from all direct interaction with the public internet.

From the perspective of the client an individual’s point of view the process of utilizing reverse proxy is not different than interacting with the server by itself. It’s the exact same thing, however the client cannot be able to discern the difference. Client requests the resource and is then supplied with it, without additional configuration required for the customer.

Reverse proxies provide features like:

  • The web server is secured centrally.

  • Incoming traffic is directed according to the rules you establish.

  • A new feature to cache has been added.

While centralized security is a benefit offered by both reverse and forward proxy servers. However, reverse proxies provide this benefit only to the server layer but they do not offer this feature to clients. Instead of focusing on maintaining firewalls on the server level that could include multiple servers with various configurations, the bulk of firewall security is centered in the reverse proxy layer. In addition, removing the responsibility of communicating with firewalls and connecting to client requests off web servers allows the firewall to focus on meeting the requirements of their clients.

If there are multiple servers hosted by a reverse proxy, it is accountable for the way requests are routed to which server. Multiple web servers could be providing the identical service, providing different types of resource or a combination of both. They may employ their HTTP protocol to function as an ordinary web server however they can also use protocols for application servers like FastCGI. You can also set up reverse proxy servers to redirect users to specific servers depending on the resource being requested or to follow certain guidelines for traffic load.

Reverse proxies may also profit from their position in front of web servers, by providing the ability to cache. Large static assets may be configured with caching rules in order to prevent hitting web servers each time you request. There are options that allow users to serve static assets without connecting with the server on any manner. In addition, the reverse proxy is capable of compressing these assets.

The well-known Nginx web server also functions as an effective reverse proxy solution. Although Apache can also be a reverse proxy service, the Apache web server comes fitted with reverse proxy functionality that is an additional feature that is available for Apache However, Nginx was initially designed to and concentrates specifically on reverse proxy capabilities.

The difference is between Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Cases

Because “forward” and “reverse” have connotations of directionality as well as misleading distinctions between “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic The labels can be confusing because both kinds of proxy servers handle requests and responses. An alternative method to distinguish between reverse and forward proxy is to look at the requirements of the application you’re developing.

A reverse proxy is useful when you are developing a method to connect web-based applications to the internet. They are your web servers whenever you connect to the internet.

Forward proxy is helpful when you are before customers for your personal use or in an environment that is professional. They serve as the proxy for your client for interactions on the internet.

Differentiating by case of use instead of solely focusing on common naming conventions can aid in avoiding confusion.


This article explains the meaning of a proxy with two types: forward proxy and the reverse proxy. Practical examples of its use and a brief overview of useful characteristics were used to differentiate forward proxies and reverse proxies. If you’re keen to learn more about the use of proxy servers, you should check out our tutorial on how you can configure Nginx as a reverse proxy by using Apache on one Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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