The Difference Between a Proxy Server and Reverse Proxy Server

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    From the time the Internet was first introduced to now, millions of more web pages and web services are now available. While many of these sites were created by people or companies trying to provide others with information or create an online dialogue between a group of people, many bad sites have proliferated as well. For example, some websites contain viruses that can infect a person’t computer if they visit the site, while other contain obscene content that a person did not intend to view. Proxy servers provide a method for protecting personal and work computers from these dangerous or obscene sites, as well as providing a host of other benefits.

    What is a Proxy Server?

    A proxy server is a computer application that acts as an intermediary between a client and a server. One type of proxy that most people will come across is a web proxy, which acts as the middleman between a web browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, and the web. When a client requests a certain webpage, the proxy retrieves it from the web and stores a copy in a collection called a cache so that it can provide faster access to this website in the future. In this way, proxies provide a higher level of efficiency and productivity. As mentioned before, these data delivery methods can also protect against malicious websites by filtering out content that may contain a virus or obscene content.

    What is a Reverse Proxy?

    A variation of a proxy server is a reverse proxy service. Reverse proxy service is similar to a regular proxy in that it acts as an intermediary between the client and server, but in this case the reverse proxy is typically invisible to the client and has some different applications. One of the most common uses of a reverse proxy is load balancing, which relates to managing the millions of incoming requests through a number of different servers so that the website isn’t overwhelmed. To the client it will look like only one server is in use, when in reality, there could be several servers being used by one site. Reverse proxy services can also compress large files to speed up the flow of traffic and provides secure file transfer services by protecting the identity of back-end servers.

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