Web proxy / Reverse proxy
A reverse proxy is a server, app, or cloud service that sits in front of one or more web servers to intercept and inspect incoming client requests before forwarding them to the web server and subsequently returning the server’s response to the client. This supports security, scalability, and performance for websites, cloud services, and content delivery networks (CDNs). A reverse proxy offered as a cloud service is one of the deployment modes of a cloud access security broker (CASB).
- Forward Proxy:
- Role: Acts on behalf of clients to interact with web servers.
- Client Perspective: Clients are aware of the proxy, and they configure their browsers or applications to use it.
- Use Cases:
- Anonymizing user identity by masking IP addresses.
- Caching frequently accessed content to reduce bandwidth usage and speed up access.
- Controlling access to specific websites or content by enforcing policies.
- Reverse Proxy:
- Role: Acts on behalf of web servers to handle requests from clients.
- Server Perspective: Web servers are unaware of the proxy; clients interact with the proxy as if it were the actual server.
- Use Cases:
- Load balancing: Distributes incoming traffic across multiple servers to optimize performance and prevent server overload.
- SSL termination: Handles SSL/TLS encryption and decryption, offloading this task from web servers.
- Web application firewall (WAF): Protects web applications from common security threats and attacks.
- Caching: Caches static content to reduce the load on web servers and improve response times.
- Security:Both types of proxies can enhance security by providing an additional layer between clients and servers. They can filter malicious traffic, block access to certain content, and protect against various cyber threats.
- Performance:Proxies can improve performance by caching content, compressing data, and distributing traffic across multiple servers.
- Anonymity:Proxies, especially forward proxies, can be used to anonymize users by masking their IP addresses, adding a layer of privacy.
- Content Filtering:Both types of proxies can be configured to filter or block specific types of content, websites, or applications based on defined policies.