The Proxy Sites Chronicles

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proxy, also known as proxy, also known as proxy or proxy server, is a server software that sits in the middle between client and server over the internet. With no intermediary a user would send a request for an item straight to the server, and servers would then serve the requested resource directly back to the client. Although this approach is simple to comprehend and use, adding proxies offers benefits such as improved security, performance, privacy and many more. A proxy that is a pass-through layer is a gatekeeper for the internet between servers and clients.

Generally speaking, the bundled bundle of server hardware with installed proxy software is also often described as proxy servers. But, this article will focus on proxy servers which are usually referred to as software, as well as those used together with web servers. We will present a summary of the two types, namely a forward proxy and the reverse proxy. Each comes with its own specific use case, and can be misinterpreted due to the identical terminology.

This article will give you an idea of the what proxy services and their subtypes are, as as how they are useful in typical configurations. Through this article, will be able to recognize the situations in which you can benefit from proxy services and decide on the best alternative between reverse and forward proxy in any given situation.

Understanding Forward Proxies

A forward proxy, also called open proxy, also known as open proxy is an agent for users who want to make a request via the internet to an the server that made the request. In this situation, it’s the case that all requests made by the user would prefer to be directed straight at the forward proxy. Forward proxy in place of the client, will look over the request. It will decide whether this client is able to handle requests through this specific forward proxy. It will then refuse requests or redirect it to the original server. The client is not able to have an internet connection directly It can only access the information that the forward proxy gives to access.

The primary reason for people to use forward proxies is to increase security or privacy online. A forward proxy can be used to access the internet on behalf of clients, and in the process, it will use a different IP address than the original IP address that the client uses.

Based on the way it has been configured according to the way it was configured forward proxy may offer you a range of functions as well as the ability to:

  • Beware of ads that track you.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You will be able to identify any limitations based on your geographical location.

Forward proxies can also be used in systems that offer central security, as well as permission-based access, like at a workplace. In the event that all traffic on the internet is routed through an open forward proxy layer, an administrator is able to grant access only to specific people to connect on the internet, which is blocked by a standard firewall. Instead of having firewalls installed for the client layer, which may comprise several devices that are different in terms of user and environmental settings, a firewall may be installed on top of an front proxy layer.

Remember that forward proxies have to be set up manually before they can be utilized for use in a reverse proxy, whereas forward proxy servers are not able to be noticed by the user. Based on the fact that an IP address for a user is passed to the server which originated it by the forward proxy Privacy and anonymity could be granted or left transparent.

There are a variety of alternatives to think about when it comes to forward proxy options:

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

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

  • Squid is an open-source forward proxy that utilizes the HTTP protocol. It’s not a complete web server service. Read our guide on how to configure Squid proxy for private connection on Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol instead HTTP to ensure it is more suitable for use scenarios like peer-to-peer communication. It is also possible to know how to configure Dante proxy for private connections using Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy is a representative of a web server that handles incoming requests from clients on its behalf. The web server could represent a single or multiple servers. In addition, it could serve as an application server, such as Gunicorn. In any of these situations an application request is made by a user of the internet in general. In most cases, the request will go directly to the web server that hosts the data the user wants. Contrarily, a reverse proxy functions as an intermediary to isolate Web servers from direct interaction with the open internet.

From the perspective of a user’s viewpoint, interfacing using reverse proxy is the same as working with Web server in direct contact. It works identical to the web server and the client is unable tell the distinction. The client can request the resource, and is then provided with it, without any additional configuration on the part of the client.

Reverse proxy providers provide certain features, such as:

  • Secured centrally to protect Web Server Layer.

  • Controlling traffic that is incoming according to rules you have set.

  • Added functionality for caching.

While centralized security is an advantage of both reverse and forward proxy, reverse proxies do this feature to only the layer of web servers not to the client layer. Instead of focusing on the maintenance of firewalls in the layer of web servers, which can contain several servers with different configurations the majority of firewall security is focused at the reverse proxy layer. Furthermore, the detachment of the obligation to interface with a firewall and responding to requests from clients from web servers enables them to focus solely on delivering the needs of their customers.

In the event of multiple servers that are running via reverse proxy the reverse proxy may be also responsible for the direction of which requests are routed through which server. There could be multiple web servers that are serving the same resource, each offering different types of resources or a combination of both. These servers can be using their own HTTP protocol to serve as a standard web server, but they also incorporate protocols for applications such as FastCGI. You can set up reverse proxy in order to direct visitors to a specific server based on the type of resource they are looking for, or to adhere to specific rules for traffic load.

Reverse proxies can also utilize their position prior to web servers, by providing the capability of caching. Large static assets can be able to be configured using caching rules to prevent hitting web servers on every request. There are options that offer the option of providing static files directly without connecting with the server on any manner. Furthermore, the reverse proxy is able to manage compression of these assets.

The renowned Nginx webserver is a very popular reverse proxy option. Although Apache is also a reverse proxy service however, the Apache web server also comes equipped with reverse proxy function, it is a different option in Apache However, Nginx was initially designed and primarily focused on the reverse proxy feature.

The difference is between Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Use Situations

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” are both associated with directionality as well as false comparisons with “incoming” or “outgoing” traffic, they can cause confusion since both types of proxy can respond to requests as well as responses. The best method to differentiate between reverse and forward proxies is by analyzing the requirements of the app that you are building.

A reverse proxy can be beneficial when creating a solution to deliver web-based applications on the internet. They act as your servers when you are on the internet.

Forward proxy can be beneficial when they are put in front of the client for your personal use or in a work setting. They serve as the proxy for your client every time you connect to the internet.

Distinguishing by use case rather than focusing solely on the same naming conventions will make sure that you aren’t confused.

Conclusion

This article defined the definition of a proxy along with two types of proxy, namely the forward proxy as well as the reverse proxy. Practical applications and an examination of useful features were utilized to differentiate between forward and reverse proxies. If you’re interested in learning more about the use of proxies, you should go through our guide on how to set up Nginx as a web server and reverse proxy within Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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