Reverse Proxy Guide To Refer in 2022

Having improved online security isn’t a luxury these days. It’s an uncompromised necessity. A reverse proxy is one of the many security approaches that AppSec experts recommend implementing. Designed to do more than filter the traffic, a reverse proxy is the unsung hero.

In this post, you have a chance to learn more about this tool and how it can improve your cybersecurity standing.

Learn more about proxies here:

Reverse Proxy – The Basic Understanding

In simple technical language, a reverse proxy is a type of server that is placed in front of back-end applications like web servers and forwards client requests. It exists in multiple forms like an app, web server, or cloud service. In every form, the reverse proxy receives the client request, intercepts it, and makes it look more authentic.

Reddit Reverse Proxy Review

It’s mainly used in cloud services, heavy websites, and content delivery networks, alone or in combination with technologies, where it is responsible to improve the security, overall performance, and system scalability by handling or effectively distributing the internal servers’ load.

This is possible because reverse proxy manages to keep static content cache, perform data compression, and add encryption to the data-in-transit. Typically, reverse proxies are offered by web services and can be easily accessed by end-users over public internet connectivity.

As far as reverse proxy server implementation is concerned, most famous open-source servers like Caddy, Nginx, and Apache are used for its implantation.

We hope you understand what is a reverse proxy now. Let’s talk about its advantages now.

Benefits Of Reverse Proxy

When used in the right manner, reverse proxy tends to reap multiple benefits such as:

  • Effective load balancing

For a website server, the workload could be too heavy to handle as millions of users might access a website in a day. This excessive traffic can exert great force on the website server and may lead to incidents like failure or server-down.

Rightful implementation of reverse proxy can be of great use to do traffic load balancing. It will effectively distribute the incoming traffic and make sure that traffic is not handled by a single server. Rather, multiple servers are at work.

  • Continual service delivery

Reverse proxy brings multiple servers into action. So, if one server is down, you have another server as a backup. If you’re promising your customers an always-active website, reverse proxy will help you fulfill this promise.

  • Better cybersecurity protection

When the reverse proxy is at work, there is no need to reveal the actual IP address. This makes it hard for hackers to track and spot the activities of a specific IP address. The tool has a proven history of effectively reducing the possibilities of DDoS attacks and cyber dangers.

Reddit Reverse Proxy Review 2

  • Enjoy targeted global server balancing

Global server balancing is an advanced version of loan balancing and is preferred for effective traffic management. In this kind of loan balancing, the functioning of a website is dependable on servers spread across the globe. When traffic or request is forwarded to the server closest to the source of the request/traffic.

This way, the distance between request and response becomes short. As the response has to travel less distance, performance is improved for sure.

  • Easy encryption optimization

Encryption implementation is necessary to make data untraceable. But, it is tough to implement encryption on every request. With the help of reverse proxy, it’s easy to encrypt all the outgoing responses while keeping the originating serverless resource extensive.

  • Powerful content caching

If you’re skilled, you can easily use a reverse proxy to cache both dynamic and static content.

It basically distributes the traffic and reduces the load on the origin server. Both these things add to the performance of the website. Content caching in reverse proxy works like that.

If a website has the main server located in Australia (VPN for Australia), the requests coming from Canada (VPN for Canada) will be automatically answered by a cached website version that must be saved on a server nearby the request’s location. As the response has less distance to cover, it will be delivered quickly.

Limitations of Reverse Proxy

Even though the benefits of reverse proxy servers are many, it’s never without any limitations. If you’re planning to use this tool, it’s wise to get familiar with the restrictions.

  • Implementation of reverse proxy automatically applies SSL/TLS encryption. This encryption is strong and will not let any app or plugin work if anything suspicious is spotted.
  • The reverse proxy will make client requests totally dependable on the proxy. While it seems good from a security point of view, it makes auditing difficult. AppSec security experts will have a tough time finding out which request is corrupted as verified and unverified requests are coming from the same source.
  • The reverse proxy will ask for added power and resources to keep the backend servers running. This adds up to the additional cost.

Reverse Proxy – How Different It Is From Other Kind Of Servers

A reverse proxy is one of the many proxy server options offered. It’s great to understand how a reverse proxy is different from its peers.

  • Proxy vs Reverse Proxy

The proxy makes requests from clients while the reverse proxy pulls client requests.

The proxy server will make many requests look like one, while reverse proxy will make many servers look like one.

The key usage of proxy servers is request blocking, real-time monitoring, and logging. A reverse proxy is mainly used for load balancing, API gateways, caching, and security scanning.

  • Reverse proxy vs Forward proxy

A forward proxy is placed in front of the user and works as an intermediary between the server and the end-user. Every user-generated request will have to pass through the forward proxy before reaching the end-user.

The reverse proxy accepts client requests and forwards them to different servers.

Front-end servers use the forward server, while internal or back-end servers use the reverse proxy.

  • Reverse proxy vs Load balancer

The reverse proxy accepts client requests and sends them to various and most-suitable servers. On the other hand, the load balancer forwards a request to a group of servers and comes back with a suitable response to every request.

Reverse Proxy Setup Process

After all the above-mentioned information, you now need to learn about ways to set up a reverse proxy. We’re going to explain the process using Apache, which is a very famous reverse proxy.

Let’s consider you have two fully-functional websites, example.com and sample.domain.com. Out of these two websites, the second website must be a WordPress site so that it can easily load the root domain’s blog for the first website at the example.com/blog subdirectory link.

Once that is ensured, you must begin the server implementation by accessing the Apache server’s terminal. You would require SSH for the job. You must enable the proxy module of Apache as well.

The required command is:

sudo a2enmod proxy proxy_http ssl

Up next is editing the origin server’s virtual hosts file. This file is required for generating a reverse proxy. The following codes need to be added to the file.

<VirtualHost *>

DocumentRoot /var/www/app/public

SSLProxyEngine On ProxyRequests off

ProxyPass /blog http://sample.domain.com

ProxyPassReverse /blog http://sample.domain.com

</VirtualHost>

Note:“*” will be replaced with the IP address.

The ProxyPass directive used will generate a reverse proxy for the predefined path. On the other hand, the ProxyPassReverse directive will decode the HTTP response headers that the ProxyPass reverse proxy will forward. Upon receiving the HTTP response headers, the directive will rewrite them so that they can easily match up with the Apache server configuration.

Save the file and make changes in the  wp-config.php file. You need to add keep on adding the below-mentioned code until you’re told to stop.

$_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’] = ‘/blog’ . $_SERVER[‘REQUEST_URI’];

$_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_NAME’] = ‘/blog’ . $_SERVER[‘SCRIPT_NAME’];

$_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’] = ‘/blog’ . $_SERVER[‘PHP_SELF’]

The above code will check if the variables exist and override them in case they do. The request is then sent to the /blog/* subdirectory.

At last, update the website’s database so that the configuration values for the /blog subdirectory link are added. The required SQL query for this task is:

UPDATE wp_options SET option_value = ‘https://www.example.com/blog’ WHERE option_name IN( ‘siteurl’, ‘home’ );

After successfully entering these codes, you’re now able to access https://www.example.com/blog URL and will be able to load the subdomain of http://example.domain.com without making any changes to the URL.

Conclusion

A reverse proxy is more than a way to improve the security stature of the website. Its successful implementation leads to improved website performance, quick response delivery, and SSL encryption optimization. Now, as you understand what is reverse proxy, try it once. You’ll be able to realize its power in full swing.

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Let VPNWelt warn you: to be completely secure on the internet, you will need the help of the best VPN service.

You probably don’t have time to learn all the details about VPN services but want to know which one is the best for you. Here are six trustworthy VPNs I can recommend to you, depending on the scope of use of each of them.

For more information, see our picks for the best VPNs here.

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FAQs

What is the reverse proxy used for?

While there are multiple use cases of reverse proxy, the most common ones are using it to hide the identity of the origin server, adding protection against DDoS attacks, performing A/B and multi-variant testing, and adding access authentication to the server.

Is a VPN a reverse proxy?
Is DNS a reverse proxy?

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