Among the various types of proxy servers, there are proxy types based on the direction from which the connection is routed. These are categorized as direction-based proxies, and there are only two types: Forward Proxies and Reverse Proxies. We’ll be discussing both proxy types, why you should use them, and when to use them.
Forward proxies are when the user’s outgoing data is being routed to the proxy server. It would largely benefit you, the user. Forward proxies are the most common types of proxy servers and what people refer to when talking about proxy servers.
Every time you make a web request, it would have to be allowed to pass through the proxy server. If it’s accepted, then the proxy server will forward that request to the firewall and then to the internet. Web servers will think that the IP that sent that request is the proxy server, so any website you visit or web application you use will only be able to see the IP address of the proxy server.
Why Use Forward Proxies?
Using forward proxies will provide you with all the benefits of using a proxy server. Improved personal security, full anonymity when browsing the internet, ability to change locations, and many more.
When To Use Forward Proxies?
The best use cases for forward proxies are for personal tasks. If you want to enhance your privacy and anonymously browse the internet, then you would use forward proxies. It can also be used to change your location and gain access to geo-restricted content that wouldn’t be available in your current location.
Another great use for forward proxies is when you want to scrape websites using web scrapers. Forward proxies would help you avoid bans and blocks that come from websites when using an automation tool. This also applies to buying limited-edition sneakers from retail shops such as Nike and Shopify.
Reverse proxies are the opposite of forward proxies because they route incoming traffic to the proxy server. They would benefit servers and not the user, so instead of the proxy server hiding the user’s identity, it would hide the server’s identity.
Each time you receive a web request, it will first go through the proxy server. The website or client that sent that request will think that the receiver is the proxy server, so your backend server will be hidden from clients.
Why Use Reverse Proxies?
Reverse proxies would immensely benefit servers that want to increase their security. Clients or users will not be able to see your backend server’s information which would help against cyber attacks. Hackers or people with malicious intent will also not be able to take advantage of any holes in your security.
When To Use Reverse Proxies?
Aside from the increase in security, the best use case for reverse proxies is if you want to balance all of your website’s incoming traffic on multiple servers. It would help prevent your website from crashing as multiple servers are there to share the burden, and if one server fails, then there are many more to take its place.
Forward proxies and reverse proxies are quite opposite of each other. Forward proxies are used when users/clients want to hide their information from web servers, and reverse proxies are used when web servers want to hide their information from users/clients. Make sure to utilize the correct proxy type based on your needs.