Reverse Proxy is a proxy server that sits in front of a web server or a group of web servers who would be contacted by clients. A request made by any client(say browser or internet) will be first received by a reverse proxy server then it will be forward to a web server. It helps to increase reliability, security, and uptime.
Forward Proxy Vs Reverse Proxy
A proxy server is a server that sits in between a client seeking a resource and the server providing the resource. The request made by a client-first goes to a proxy server and then to the web servers similarly, instead of responding back directly to a client web servers reply to a proxy server who in turns forwards the response to clients.
A forward proxy also known as a proxy is a proxy server that sits in front of clients and makes a request on behalf of the client to a web server.
Whenever a client computers make requests to websites and services on the Internet, the proxy server intercepts those requests and then communicates with web servers on behalf of those clients, like a middleman, hence the Ip address web servers see will be that of the Proxy server instead of a client machine.
- A client’s IP address and other important information are hidden to the internet.
- User can access geo-blocked or restricted contents
- Speed up the browsing by returning the cached version of the most frequently accessed data.
- Protects a user against various malicious attacks.
A reverse proxy is an intermediary proxy server that a web server puts forward for handling requests between itself and the client. When a client sends a request to a server, those requests are intercepted by a reverse-proxy server, and they forwards the request to the original server. It also centralizes internal services and provides unified interfaces to the internet.
The difference between a forward proxy and reverse proxy is, forward proxy sits in front of clients so that no server can ever communicate with the original client directly, while reverse proxy sits in front of web servers so that no one on the internet can communicate directly to original web servers.
- Load Balancing – For a popular website with millions of active users per day it is impossible to handle all the traffic with a single server. Hence we use load balancing to distribute traffic evenly among various servers and avoid a single point of failure and reverse-proxy can act as a load balancer and distribute traffic evenly among various available servers and avoid the single point of failure.
- Security – Reverse proxy can protest a web server from various types of attacks such as DDoS attacks, hides the information about backend servers, blacklist spam IPs by intercepting an incoming request, and limit the number of connections.
- Caching – It can cache frequently & less updated information and provide faster performance by not reaching out backend servers for every request instead replay with the cached information. It can also cache static contents such as HTML/CSS/JS, photos, videos, etc for fast results.
- SSL Encryption – Encrypts outgoing requests and decrypt incoming requests before passing it to web servers, so that they don’t have to do it hence saving the web servers computation time and resource utilization. The reverse proxy also eliminates the headache of installing an X.509 certificate on each server.
Forward Proxy vs VPN – VPN, and proxies are similar in terms that they route external traffic among internal servers and hide original IP addresses. The difference is that VPN encrypts your data while Proxies don’t. Proxies are ideal for basic functionalities such as bypassing restriction and hiding IP’s and acting as a gateway and they are extremely fast & easy to set up, while VPN is ideal for secure browsing as they create a tunnel between your computer and VPN server and avoiding local ISP routing and they are hard to set up & slow when compared to proxies.