Proxy IP has become an indispensable part of our daily life, and the smooth development of many businesses cannot be separated from the support of proxy IP. However, for most users, they are more familiar with the forward proxy, in fact, there is another type of proxy IP, that is, reverse proxy. So what's the difference between a forward proxy and a reverse proxy?
Definition of a forward proxy: A forward proxy is a proxy server that sits between a client and a target server. The client sends a request to the proxy server and specifies the target server. The proxy server sends a request to the target server on behalf of the client and returns the response content to the client.
Definition of a reverse proxy: A reverse proxy is the opposite of a forward proxy. To the client, the proxy server is like the target server. The client accesses the proxy server directly, and the backend of the proxy server forwards the request to the corresponding target server. For the client, it does not see the specific target server, but accessing the proxy server has the same effect as directly requesting the target server.
0 difference between forward proxy and reverse proxy:
① Different proxy objects:
The proxy object of a forward proxy is the client. When using a forward proxy, the client sends the request to the proxy server and specifies the target server in the request. After receiving the request, the proxy server sends the request to the target server on behalf of the client and returns the response content to the client. The client is visible to the target server, but the target server is invisible to the client.
The proxy object of a reverse proxy is the target server. With a reverse proxy, the client sends requests directly to the proxy server without specifying a specific target server. The proxy server forwards the request to multiple target servers on the back end according to the load balancing policy, and then returns the response from the target server to the client. The target server is invisible to the client, and the client only communicates with the proxy server.
The different proxy objects of these two agents lead to their differences in usage scenarios and functions:
Forward proxies are used in the following scenarios:
Bypass network restrictions: A forward proxy can help clients bypass network restrictions and access blocked or restricted resources, such as websites blocked by firewalls.
Hide client identity: The forward proxy can hide the real IP address and identity of the client, increasing anonymity and privacy protection.
Caching and acceleration: The forward proxy caches the accessed content, improving the speed of subsequent access and reducing the load on the target server.
Reverse proxies can be used in the following scenarios:
Load balancing: The reverse proxy functions as a front-end load balancer and distributes client requests to multiple back-end servers to achieve load balancing and improve overall performance and reliability.
Security protection: Reverse proxies can be used as part of the firewall to filter and block malicious requests and protect back-end servers from attacks.
SSL acceleration and security: Reverse proxies can handle SSL encryption and decryption, reducing the burden on back-end servers and improving the performance of HTTPS requests.
The forward proxy and reverse proxy differ in proxy objects, application scenarios, and functions. Selecting a proper proxy mode based on specific requirements and application scenarios can help improve network communication and resource management.
② Different usage scenarios:
A forward proxy is often used to provide access to the Internet from a local area network within a firewall. For example, client A can access proxy server B, and proxy server B can access target server C, but client A cannot directly access server C. In this scenario, a proxy server can be used for forwarding.
Reverse proxies are often used for load balancing. For example, if a user accesses a reverse proxy server (such as Nginx), the subsequent proxy server forwards requests to multiple back-end target servers based on load balancing algorithms. For users, they do not know which target server they are accessing, but they can get the same data response regardless of which target server they are accessing.
There are obvious differences in proxy objects and application scenarios between forward proxy and reverse proxy. Understanding these differences is critical to choosing a proxy approach that suits your specific needs and can better improve the performance, reliability, and security of network communications. Whether it is forward proxy or reverse proxy, they play an important role in different scenarios and provide convenience and guarantee for network communication.