Reverse proxy vs Forward proxy
Daniel Tarasov
Daniel Tarasov Published: 2023/07/25

Proxy can solve many different tasks for many different internet users, starting from regular clients up to large companies. In this article, we will describe peculiarities and distinction of forward and reverse proxy. 

Forward Proxy

When someone mentions proxies in general, in most cases he will have in mind a forward type. Proxies like this work by forwarding device messages to the page you are trying to reach. Often, proxy setup can work as an instrument for organizing firewalls on sites that require it. 

For example, if some specific pages are blocked in your system because of the geo-restrictions, but you can use static residential proxies to bypass this block. Your original request will be sent to the server and after this to the site that you need to reach. 

Since your real IP will be hidden in this process and replaced with server one, proxy usage will increase your anonymity. Plus, with your IP hidden, some hacker attacks will be impossible to pull. Other than this, forward and datacenter rotating proxies can be set up as a traffic regulation gate or access point to increase security of the network even more.

Forward proxy can be split in two main ranks: residential and datacenter proxies. The main difference between them lies in the presence of IP that directly correlates with a location. Residential proxies provide you with IP that comes from an internet vendor, whereas the datacenter one has it from other sources.

Reverse Proxy

Reverse proxies in its turn provide a bridge kind of connection for redirecting web server requests to other backend servers. In simple terms, a proxy of this kind will transfer your connection to the original page server to a backend one. This process can be done for encrypting, caching or authentication. Plus, reverse type proxies are able to hide backend server location and protect sites from hacker threats. 

For small scale web-pages, proxies of this type can be a main instrument for establishing an entering page. With the front page of the site connected through the reverse proxy, the site owner can make a secure and flexible front page entrance. Also, a setup like this can protect the whole site from different attacks.

But sites with large popularity and big loads also use reverse proxies for a number of tasks. Proxies can help with controlling site data transfer capacities and secure it from overloading. For example, with reverse proxies, several servers can be set to service one URL, to boost transfer speeds.

More than this, reverse proxies allow owners of webpages to bring changes and updates while not impacting the users in the process. When the backend servers start performing poorly, proxy can help fix that problem and increase overall site performance. 

Common Use Cases for Forward Proxy

As we already discussed, most of all, forward types of proxies are used for bypassing firewalls and other restrictions. Proxy can help use basically any country to mask your traffic and get access to any kind of information with restriction to location. In this manner, residential proxies are also widely used by advertising companies to check ad configuration from different locations around the world. 

The second most popular task, that forward proxies called to solve is increasing anonymity. Your real IP address can be easily hidden and replaced with the private proxy server one. This not only works on your anonymity, but also helps to avoid data leak. 

The last popular use case involves web scraping and data parsing. Scraping instruments are widely used in marketing and ad business. This problem can’t be solved without an extensive use of proxies. Organizations also rely on proxies in managing accounts or monitoring usage of the internet.  

Common Reverse Proxy Use Cases

Reverse proxies can provide even more capabilities and areas of application. Depending on the situation, a proxy can solve a lot of specific tasks, but we’ll be focusing on three main areas of use. 

More often, reverse types of proxies are called to solve problems with sites balancing data. Sites traffic is getting heavier day by day and today it’s essential to split all the load from users to different backend servers. If the site utilizes enough backend servers, it will be capable of handling millions of simultaneous users online. 

This solution also brings diversification, because if some servers malfunction, others will take over the load, and the site will continue to work. Overall, a reverse proxy can help sites to always stay secured from bursts of data load and going down because of that. 

More than only data allocation, reverse proxy also enhances overall traffic capacities. To compare reverse vs forward proxy, reverse one can handle a cache task that can help increase data transfer numbers.

Last, but not least, tasks that reverse proxies usually tend to solve are connected to security. By using reverse proxies, the site protects itself from a number of hacker attacks. This happens because the original IP address of the site server can stay hidden. Plus, the owner of the site can hide all involved servers over the firewall. With these settings, servers will be well protected and anonymized. 

Difference Between Reverse Proxy and Forward Proxy

To better understand what is reverse proxy vs forward proxy we need to understand, they significantly differ in use cases and setup process. Probably the main distinction here lies in the client – for reverse proxy it will be web servers, whereas for forward one it’s regular user. That point makes all the other differences in forward proxy vs reverse proxy comparison.

In forward vs reverse proxy server simile, it’s also wise to mention that forward proxy usually will be set up by hands on each device separately. Forward proxy, in contrast, doesn’t need any setups from the user and can implement settings without user participation. 

If we compare reverse proxy server vs forward proxy server in the field of basic tasks, you also can see big differences. In basic terms, forward proxies serve as a bridge for redirecting users’ queries and solving his tasks. Reverse proxies solve users’ tasks only indirectly, by fulfilling requests of a web server. 

Conclusion

Both types of proxies we mentioned became an essential tool for internet infrastructure a long time ago. Forward proxies are commonly used as a privacy and security tool. Reverse proxies are essential instruments for load balancing, encryption and site maximum data transfer boost. 

The key difference in reverse proxy vs forward proxy comparison will be their use cases and purposes. Both proxies solve different tasks for different sides of internet maintenance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Please read our Documentation if you have questions that are not listed below.

  • What is a reverse proxy?

    Reverse proxy is a server that is placed in front of a regular site web server and redirects your connections. This way, the site can stay protected and fast for accessing.

  • What is the difference between reverse and forward proxies?

    The main difference between them lies in who uses it. Forward proxies in most cases are made to be used by individuals, in contrast with reverse proxies that are made for enterprise use.

  • What is a forward proxy?

    Forward proxy is a server that helps you to redirect your web request and hide your IP. With the help of this kind of proxy you can stay secure and anonymous on the internet.

  • What to choose between forward and reverse proxy?

    Yes, we only provide private dedicated proxies from our unique pool of proxies. Unlike others, we won’t provide proxies from hacked computers (alias “public proxies”) or scrapped proxies from the Internet.

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