4 Ways to Guard Against Proxy Sites

February 22, 2024
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The term “proxy” refers to a proxy is also known as a proxy server software that serves as a mediator between a client and server via the internet. Without an intermediary the user would an inquiry directly to a server and the server would then serve the requested resource directly to the user. Although this is a simple process to grasp and use using proxies, it can provide benefits such as more performance and privacy, and many more. Alongside adding a layer of security they also act as a safeguard for the internet between users and servers.

Generally speaking, the bundle of servers that have installed proxy software is commonly referred to by the name proxy servers. But, this article will concentrate on proxy servers that are traditionally referred to as software, and also when referring to web servers. This article will give a synopsis of the two main kinds: one being one that is a forward proxy and reverse proxy. reverse proxy. Each type has its own use, which could be difficult due to the similar name-based convention.

This article will equip you with the understanding of the types of proxy services available and their subtypes are, as well as the ways that they can be helpful for the most common setups. In this article you’ll be in a position to recognize the scenarios where you could benefit from a proxy. You can also choose the right solution between forward and reverse proxy for any scenario.

Understanding Forward Proxies

Forward proxy also known as an open proxy serves as the representative of a customer who wishes to send requests over the internet to an the server that originated it. In this situation, it’s the scenario that all requests made by the client will instead be directed straight through forward proxy. This forward proxy acting in the place that of the customer, is able to look into the request. It will first will determine if the client is allowed to make requests via this particular forward proxy. Then, it can either reject requests or redirect it to the original server. The client will not be allowed an internet connection directly. it can only be able to access the information that the forward proxy permits its connection to.

One of the most popular reasons for using forward proxy is the need for more privacy or security online. Forward proxy is able to access the internet as the client, and in this way, it is using another IP address in comparison to the IP address of your client.

Depending on how it has been configured, based on how it is configured forward proxy can offer a range of functions as well as the ability to:

  • Beware of Ad-trackers.

  • Circumvent surveillance.

  • You can identify limitations based on your geographic location.

Forward proxies also are used in systems of centralized security and access that is dependent on permissions, for example in workplaces. In the event that all internet traffic flows by an open forward proxy a administrator may limit access to specific users to the internet via the common firewall. Instead of establishing firewalls for the client layer, which can contain multiple devices that have different configurations and user A firewall could be placed at the forward proxy layer.

Remember that forward proxies must be configured manually to utilize the reverse proxy, while forward proxies may not be noticed by the user. Based on the type of IP address the client that is transferred to the server from which it originated through the forward proxy privacy and anonymity could be granted or not.

There are many options to consider forward proxy options:

  • Apache: A popular open-source webserver that provides forward proxy options.

  • Nginx: Another renowned open-source web server that has forward proxy capabilities.

  • Squid is an Open Source Forward Proxy using the HTTP protocol. Squid doesn’t come with a complete web server application. It is possible to refer to our instructions on how to setup Squid proxy to allow private connections on Ubuntu 20.04.

  • Dante Forward Proxy that uses the SOCKS protocol instead of HTTP which makes it better suited for certain scenarios like peer-to-peer connections. You could also find out how to configure Dante proxy to support private connections with Ubuntu 20.04

Understanding Reverse Proxies

Reverse proxy functions in the capacity of an agent to a web server. It handles incoming requests from clients on its behalf. The web server can serve as a single server, or as a series of servers. Additionally, it can function as an application server such as Gunicorn. In any of these scenarios the request will come from a user who is on the internet at large. Most of the time the request will be directed directly to a webserver that has all the information the user is seeks. In contrast, a reverse proxy serves as an intermediary, protecting this webserver from direct interaction with the internet.

From the user’s viewpoint the procedure of using reverse proxy is not any different than working with a Web server itself. It’s functionally the same however the client cannot tell the difference. The client sends an request for resources, which is followed by receiving it with no further configuration needed by the client.

Reverse proxy proxies can provide some features, including:

  • Security centralized for web servers.

  • Directing incoming traffic according to rules you can establish.

  • The caching function is now available to users.

While centralized security is a benefit of both forward and reverse proxy service, reverse proxies give this benefit to Web layer servers and not to the layer that clients use. instead of the maintenance of firewalls at Web server layers that could contain multiple servers with various configurations, the majority of firewall security is focused at the reverse proxy layer. Additionally, the absence to interface with a firewall and responding to requests made by clients through web servers enables them to concentrate on delivering resources.

If there are multiple servers operating through a reverse proxy, it is also able to control how requests are routed the correct server. A number of web servers could be providing the exact identical service, but each one serving different types of resources, or some combination of both. They may employ their HTTP protocol to serve as a standard web server, however, they may also use protocols for application servers like FastCGI. It is possible to set up reverse proxy servers to direct users to specific servers based on the resource requested or to follow certain traffic load rules.

Reverse proxies also benefit from their position before web servers through the capability of caching. Large static assets can be configured with caching rules to ensure that they don’t have to communicate with web servers for every request. There are solutions providing the option to directly serve static assets without having to connect to the web server at all. Furthermore, reverse proxy can handle compressing these assets.

The popular Nginx web server is an efficient reverse proxy option. You can also use Nginx, Apache web server, it also has a reverse proxy as an additional feature of Apache in contrast to Nginx was designed initially for and focuses on the reverse proxy function.

The distinction between Forward and Reverse Proxy Use Differentiating Forward Proxy and Reverse Proxy Utilization

Because “forward” as well as “reverse” have connotations that refer to directionality, and false connections to “incoming” as well as “outgoing” traffic the labels can be confusing because both kinds of proxy services can handle requests as well as responses. The best way to differentiate between reverse and forward proxy is to take into account the requirements of the application that you are developing.

A reverse proxy is a good option when you’re developing solutions to run web applications on the internet. They act as your web server in any interactions on the web.

Forward proxy applications can be advantageous when employed in front of the client for your personal use, or in the workplace. They represent your client’s internet traffic, for any internet-based interaction.

A case-based distinction instead of focusing on identical naming conventions will make it easier to avoid confusion.

Conclusion

In this article, we clarified the definition of a proxy and the two main types of them being the forward and the reverse proxy. Practical applications as well as a look at the beneficial traits were used to define forward proxies as well as reverse proxy. If you’re interested in knowing more about how proxies are implemented take a look at our tutorial on how to configure Nginx in a reverse proxy and internet-based server for Apache on an Ubuntu 20.04 server.

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