Forward Proxies vs. Reverse Proxies — The Social Proxy

We’ve discussed reverse proxy servers and how effective they may be at protecting your internal network’s servers. However, we’ve just discovered that some individuals believe we’re talking about forward proxies or that the two are interchangeable, which they aren’t. The distinctions between forward and reverse proxy use cases will be explained in this post.

The primary goal of a proxy service (which both of them provide) is to act on behalf of another computer. Forward and reverse proxies are used to act on behalf of another machine, such as a client, web server, or another backend server. The proxy serves as the go-between in this scenario.


Defining Forward Proxy

When people talk about a proxy server (sometimes known as a “proxy”), they almost always mean a forward proxy. Allow me to explain what this server performs.

Forward proxies serves a client or a group of clients as a proxy server. These clients are frequently part of a shared internal network, such as the one depicted below.

When one of these clients tries to connect to that file transfer server over the Internet, the request must first go through the forward proxy.

A request can be accepted or rejected depending on the forward proxy’s settings. If the request is authorized, it is routed to the firewall, which then forwards it to the file transfer server. The proxy server, not the client, is the one who made the request, according to the file transfer server. As a result, when the server responds, it does so to the proxy.

When the forward proxies receive the response, however, it recognizes it as a response to the previous request. As a result, it delivers that response to the client who initiated the request.

Because proxy servers can keep track of responses, requests, origins, and destinations, different clients can use the forward proxy to send different requests to different servers, and the proxy will handle them all. Some requests will be granted, while others will be rejected.

As you can see, the proxy may act as a single point of access and control, SSL encryption, making authentication and other security requirements easier to enforce. Forward proxies are generally used in conjunction with a firewall to improve the security of an internal network by limiting traffic aimed at hosts on the Internet from clients on the internal network. As a result, a forward proxy’s primary goal in terms of security is to enforce security on client devices in your private network.

To read about Reverse Proxy, click here.