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Forward Proxy vs. Reverse Proxy Servers – JSCAPE
Overview: Forward Proxy vs. Reverse Proxy
We’ve talked about reverse proxy servers and how they can really be good at protecting the servers in your internal network. Lately, however, we’ve realized that some people actually think we’re talking about forward proxy servers or that the two are the same, but they’re not. This post will explain the differences between forward proxy and reverse proxy use cases.
The main purpose of a proxy service (which is the kind of service both of these provide) is to act on behalf of another machine. In our case, the purpose of forward and reverse proxies is to act on behalf of another machine — either a client, web server or other backend server, etc. In this case, the proxy acts as a middleman.
The Forward Proxy
When people talk about a proxy server (often called a “proxy”), more often than not they are referring to a forward proxy. Let me explain what this particular server does.
A forward proxy provides proxy services to a client or a group of clients. Often, these clients belong to a common internal network like the one shown below.
When one of these clients makes a connection attempt to that file transfer server on the Internet, its requests have to pass through the forward proxy first.
Depending on the forward proxy’s settings, a request can be allowed or denied. If allowed, then the request is forwarded to the firewall and then to the file transfer server. From the point of view of the file transfer server, it is the proxy server that issued the request, not the client. So when the server responds, it addresses its response to the proxy.
But then when the forward proxy receives the response, it recognizes it as a response to the request that went through earlier. And so it then sends that response to the client that made the request.
Because proxy servers can keep track of requests, responses, their sources and their destinations, different clients can send out various requests to different servers through the forward proxy and the proxy will intermediate for all of them. Again, some requests will be allowed, while some will be denied.
As you can see, the proxy can serve as a single point of access and control, making it easier for you to enforce authentication, SSL encryption or other security policies. A forward proxy is typically used in tandem with a firewall to enhance an internal network’s security by controlling traffic originating from clients in the internal network that are directed at hosts on the Internet. Thus, from a security standpoint, a forward proxy is primarily aimed at enforcing security on client computers in your private network.
But then client computers aren’t always the only ones you find in your internal network. Sometimes, you also have servers. And when those servers have to provide services to external clients (for example, field staff who need to access files from your FTP server), a more appropriate solution would be a reverse proxy.
The Reverse Proxy
What is a reverse proxy? As its name implies, a reverse proxy does the exact opposite of what a forward proxy does. While a forward proxy proxies on behalf of clients (or requesting hosts), a reverse proxy proxies on behalf of servers. A reverse proxy accepts requests from external clients on behalf of servers stationed behind it as shown below.
In our example, it is the reverse proxy that is providing file transfer services. The client is oblivious to the file transfer servers behind the proxy, which are actually providing those services. In effect, where a forward proxy hides the identities of clients, a reverse proxy hides the identities of servers.
An Internet-based attacker would find it considerably more difficult to acquire data found in those file transfer servers than if he didn’t have to deal with a reverse proxy. This is why reverse proxy servers like JSCAPE MFT Gateway are very suitable for complying with data-impacting regulations like PCI-DSS.
Just like forward proxy servers, reverse proxies also provide a single point of access and control. You typically set it up to work alongside one or two firewalls to control traffic and requests directed to your internal servers.
In most cases, reverse proxy servers also act as load balancers for the servers behind them. Load balancers play a crucial role in providing high availability to network services that receive large volumes of requests. When a reverse proxy performs load balancing, it distributes incoming requests to a cluster of servers, all providing the same kind of service. So, for instance, a reverse proxy load balancing FTP services will have a cluster of FTP servers behind it, and will manage server load to prevent bottlenecks and delays.
Both types of proxy servers relay requests and responses between clients and destination machines. But in the case of reverse proxy servers, client requests that go through them normally originate over TCP/IP connections, while, in the case of forward proxies, client requests normally come from the internal network behind them.
In this post, we talked about the main differences between forward proxy servers and reverse proxy servers. If you want to protect clients in your internal network, put them behind a forward proxy. On the other hand, if your intention is to protect servers, put them behind a reverse proxy.
Managed file transfer solutions such as JSCAPE make it easy to set up proxy servers including in your DMZ. Plus, JSCAPE can handle any protocol as well as multiple protocols from a single server. This helps simplify your file transfer environment by enabling you to consolidate and manage all file transfers and trading partners from a single location.
JSCAPE provides additional layers of security, too, including blocking IP addresses while preserving proxy servers, to help prevent brute force and DDOS attacks for CDN or origin servers.
Access your MFT clients from any web browser or use the JSCAPE mobile app to run and monitor transfers at any time. JSCAPE also provides broad functionality to help simplify and optimize your file transfer environment, including data loss protection, caching for HTTP/S content and the ability to connect to virtually any web server with JSCAPE’s REST API.
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Would you like to try this yourself? JSCAPE MFT Server is platform-agnostic and can be installed on Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X and Solaris, and can handle any file transfer protocol as well as multiple protocols from a single server. Additionally, JSCAPE enables you to handle any file type, including batch files and XML. Download your free 7-day trial of JSCAPE MFT Server now.
How To Secure And Protect Data At RestHow To Setup An AS2 Server With JSCAPE: A QuickStart GuideActive vs. Passive FTP Simplified: Understanding FTP PortsActive-Active vs. Active-Passive High-Availability Clustering
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The Difference Between Proxy and Reverse Proxy | strongDM
Many businesses use proxy servers to route and secure traffic between networks. There’s often confusion, however, on how this differs from a reverse proxy. In this post, we’ll dissect the two concepts and explain how administrators can use a reverse proxy for easy access management is a proxy server? A proxy server, sometimes referred to as a forward proxy, is a server that routes traffic between client(s) and another system, usually external to the network. By doing so, it can regulate traffic according to preset policies, convert and mask client IP addresses, enforce security protocols, and block unknown stems with shared networks, such as business organizations or data centers, often use proxy servers. Proxy servers expose a single interface with which clients interact without having to enforce all of the policies and route management logic within the clients is a reverse proxy? A reverse proxy is a type of proxy server. Unlike a traditional proxy server, which is used to protect clients, a reverse proxy is used to protect servers. A reverse proxy is a server that accepts a request from a client, forwards the request to another one of many other servers, and returns the results from the server that actually processed the request to the client as if the proxy server had processed the request itself. The client only communicates directly with the reverse proxy server and it does not know that some other server actually processed its request. A traditional forward proxy server allows multiple clients to route traffic to an external network. For instance, a business may have a proxy that routes and filters employee traffic to the public Internet. A reverse proxy, on the other hand, routes traffic on behalf of multiple servers. A reverse proxy effectively serves as a gateway between clients, users, and application servers. It handles all the access policy management and traffic routing, and it protects the identity of the server that actually processes the verse proxy configurationBy routing client traffic through a reverse proxy, admins can simplify security administration. They can configure backend servers to only accept traffic directly from the proxy and then configure the granular access control configurations on the proxy example, admins can configure the reverse proxy’s firewall to whitelist or blacklist specific IP addresses. All existing servers behind the proxy will be protected accordingly, and whenever admins add a new backend server to the network that is configured to only accept requests from the proxy server, the new backend server is protected according to the proxy configuration. Using a reverse proxy can also allow administrators to easily swap backend servers in and out without disrupting traffic. Because clients interact directly with the proxy, they only need to know its host name and don’t need to worry about changes to the backend network topology. In addition to simplifying client configuration, an admin can configure a reverse proxy to load-balance traffic so that requests can be more evenly distributed to the backend servers and improve overall case: onboarding and off-boardingWhen onboarding a new user to a network, administrators must configure access control and firewalls to ensure the user can access the appropriate resources. Traditionally, an admin has to configure each server for which users need access. In a large organization with many servers, this can be a time-consuming and error-prone process. However, with a reverse proxy, administrators can configure the access rights directly on the proxy server and have the user route all traffic through it. As such, the backend servers only need to trust and communicate with the proxy directly. This greatly simplifies the configuration process and helps ensure access is granted and revoked correctly by doing so through a single tting up a reverse proxy for access managementWhile a reverse proxy can greatly simplify the process of managing access to a network, setting it up and configuring it properly can get complicated. It requires provisioning the host with appropriate specifications, configuring the operating system and firewall, deciding on which proxy software to use (such as NGINX or HAProxy), enumerating and configuring the downstream servers in the proxy configuration files, setting up audit logging, and configuring the firewalls in all the downstream servers. An administrator will need to optimize the proxy software to adjust for performance and availability requirements. For example, when a downstream server fails, the admin should configure the proxy server to quickly reroute traffic to avoid scale, the out-of-the-box configurations are rarely sufficient, so testing becomes important. Whenever the configurations change, you’ll need a way to run sufficient load against a representative test environment and closely monitor the impact on both performance and availability to verify that configurations will meet the needs of the production ing a reverse proxy by hand vs. buying softwareGiven all the steps involved in implementing, testing, and optimizing a reverse proxy, you may choose to buy software that can provide this functionality without all the custom work. Access management software can provide all of this functionality while also managing the ongoing maintenance and user management. In addition to providing standard reverse proxy capabilities, access management software affords a number of unique benefits:1) Flexibility with user access. By abstracting away the complexity of firewalls and access control, access management software can provide higher-level concepts like user groups. This functionality makes it easy for admins to assign and remove users from various predefined groups and allows the software to automatically implement the access policies. 2) Designed to boost reliability. In distributed systems, servers can fail and network interruptions may occur. Access management software easily detects failed servers and reroutes traffic to working ones to avoid any noticeable downtime for users. 3) Load balancing capabilities. Single servers may struggle when hit with a large amount of traffic, which degrades performance and increases request latency. Access management software can help to manage traffic and balance the load across all servers, making sure it’s evenly naging access with strongDMThe strongDM control plane is a proxy-based solution that simplifies authentication and authorization for admins. It routes all database and server connections through its protocol-aware proxy over a TLS 1. 2 secure TCP connection, and it handles load balancing and automatic failover to provide high availability. The proxy validates user sessions and permissions and then intelligently routes the session to the target database or server through the most efficient path, logging all traffic along the rongDM extends the single sign-on capabilities of your identity provider, allowing you to authenticate users to any server or database. From the Admin UI, you can view connected resources and manage role-based access control for your users. See for yourself with a free, 14-day trial. this post? Then get all that SDM goodness, right in your you! Your submission has been received! Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
What is the difference between a VPN and a proxy? – Panda Security
As you dig into the networking settings on your computer or smartphone, you’ll often see options labelled “VPN” or “Proxy”. Although they do similar jobs, they are also very different. This article will help you understand what the difference is, and when you might want to use one.
What is a proxy?
Normally when you browse the web, your computer connects to a website directly and begins downloading the pages for you to read. This process is simple and direct.
When you use a proxy server, your computer sends all web traffic to the proxy first. The proxy forwards your request to the target website, downloads the relevant information, and then passes it back to you.
Why would you do this? There’s a couple of reasons:
You want to browse a website anonymously – all traffic appears to come from the proxy server, not your computer.
You need to bypass a content restriction. Famously, your UK Netflix subscription won’t work in the USA. But if you connect to a UK proxy server it looks like you are watching TV from the UK and everything works as expected.
Although they work very well, there’s also a few problems with proxies:
All of the web traffic that passes through a proxy can be seen by the server owner. Do you know the proxy owner? Can they be trusted?
Web traffic between your computer and proxy, and proxy and website is unencrypted, so a skilled hacked can intercept sensitive data in transit and steal it.
What is a VPN?
A VPN is quite similar to a proxy. Your computer is configured to connect to another server, and it may be that your route web traffic through that server. But where a proxy server can only redirect web requests, a VPN connection is capable of routing and anonymising all of your network traffic.
But there is one significant advantage of the VPN – all traffic is encrypted. This means that hackers cannot intercept data between your computer and the VPN server, so your sensitive personal information cannot be compromised.
VPNs are the most secure choice
By encrypting and routing all of your network traffic, the VPN has a distinct advantage over a proxy server. And more than simply anonymising your web activities, a proxy server offers additional functionality too.
Take the Panda Dome VPN service. Not only does it anonymise your internet traffic and help you circumvent geographic filters, but traffic is also carefully inspected and filtered. Our VPN servers check every request and block anything that is known to be dangerous, like websites that host malware.
Routing your web traffic through an advanced VPN helps you avoid malware infections, phishing scams and fake websites. And because Panda’s servers are constantly updated, you are protected around the clock from sophisticated cybercrime attacks.
You can get started with the Panda VPN now – for free – here. And for more help and advice about staying safe online, take a look at the practical tips in the Panda Security blog.
Panda Security specializes in the development of endpoint security products and is part of the WatchGuard portfolio of IT security solutions. Initially focused on the development of antivirus software, the company has since expanded its line of business to advanced cyber-security services with technology for preventing cyber-crime.
Frequently Asked Questions about forward proxies
How does forward proxy work?
A forward proxy provides proxy services to a client or a group of clients. … But then when the forward proxy receives the response, it recognizes it as a response to the request that went through earlier. And so it then sends that response to the client that made the request.Jun 15, 2021
What are forward and reverse proxies?
A traditional forward proxy server allows multiple clients to route traffic to an external network. … A reverse proxy, on the other hand, routes traffic on behalf of multiple servers. A reverse proxy effectively serves as a gateway between clients, users, and application servers.Mar 31, 2021
Are VPNS forward proxies?
A VPN is quite similar to a proxy. Your computer is configured to connect to another server, and it may be that your route web traffic through that server. But where a proxy server can only redirect web requests, a VPN connection is capable of routing and anonymising all of your network traffic.Dec 12, 2018