Understanding Reverse Proxies: What They Are and How They Work
1 min read

Understanding Reverse Proxies: What They Are and How They Work

A diagram of a reverse proxy server sitting in front of multiple web servers, improving security.
Photo by Adi Goldstein / Unsplash

A reverse proxy is a type of server that sits in front of one or more web servers, and acts as an intermediary between clients and the web servers. The main purpose of a reverse proxy is to act as a shield for the web servers, handling tasks such as authentication, SSL/TLS termination, and caching.

One of the main benefits of using a reverse proxy is that it improves security. By placing the reverse proxy in front of the web servers, it acts as a barrier between the internet and the web servers, protecting them from direct access and potential attacks. The reverse proxy can also handle tasks such as authentication and authorization, further securing the web servers.

Another benefit of using a reverse proxy is that it can improve performance. The reverse proxy can handle tasks such as caching, which can greatly improve the speed and responsiveness of the website or application. Additionally, the reverse proxy can distribute incoming traffic across multiple web servers, helping to balance the load and ensure that the website or application remains available even during periods of high traffic.

Finally, a reverse proxy can also improve flexibility. By placing the reverse proxy in front of the web servers, it can be used to handle tasks such as SSL/TLS termination, meaning that the web servers do not need to be configured to handle these tasks themselves. This can make it easier to scale and maintain the website or application.

In summary, a reverse proxy is a powerful tool that can help to improve security, performance, and flexibility for your website or application. It sits in front of one or more web servers and acts as an intermediary between clients and the web servers, handling tasks such as authentication, SSL/TLS termination, and caching.