What Is a Reverse Proxy and How Does It Work?

Web site site visitors isn’t fixed. As an example, the site visitors on content material streaming companies like Netflix goes by way of the roof when new episodes of fashionable collection are launched.

This spike in demand places a number of strain on the servers liable for supplying content material to the client. On account of this, content material streaming companies face a number of issues when anticipated reveals are launched.

So how do web sites scale instantaneously when the site visitors they obtain will increase exponentially? Nicely, they use reverse proxies to stability the site visitors on their web site—however what’s a reverse proxy, and the way do reverse proxies work?

How Does Your Laptop Connect with a Web site?

Earlier than moving into reverse proxies, it is essential to know how your laptop connects to an internet site on the web.

Merely put, the web is nothing however a set of computer systems speaking with each other. Even the web site you hook up with is a pc with the web site information saved on its onerous drive. This laptop is named a server because it supplies different computer systems with the content material they need on the web.

Subsequently while you open an internet site in your laptop, all you might be doing is speaking with one other laptop linked to the web.

That mentioned, to hook up with an internet site, your machine must know the server’s location. This data is supplied to your machine by the IP handle of the server. To get this data, the URL of an internet site is transformed to its IP handle utilizing DNS decision, successfully swapping out the letters within the URL for the precise IP handle of the web site. That is an especially simplified model of how DNS works, thoughts.

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As soon as your browser has the IP handle, it sends requests utilizing Hypertext Switch Protocol Safe (HTTPS), and the server sends the information to your system.

One other factor to know about servers earlier than moving into proxies is that web sites use a number of servers throughout the globe to distribute their content material. As well as, moderately than utilizing a single computing system to run all web site features, firms use a microservice structure the place totally different computational items carry out totally different duties. On account of this, an internet site can’t be seen as a single laptop; as a substitute, it’s a set of computer systems working collectively to offer content material to a buyer within the quickest potential method.

What Is a Proxy?

A proxy is a computing machine that sits between the server and the pc which makes the request (the consumer). Merely put, the proxy is nothing however a intermediary between you and the web site. However why is that this intermediary wanted?

Nicely, you see, while you go to an internet site, the pc you hook up with receives all the main points about your system. This information contains your IP handle, cookie information, and your system’s {hardware}/software program particulars.

The server requests the information talked about above to know how the web site must be displayed in your laptop.

Though this data is important for web sites to work correctly, it allows firms to trace you on-line, eradicating your privateness. To unravel this downside, ahead proxies are used.

Because the identify suggests, a ahead proxy is a computing machine that collects the requests from the consumer and sends them to the server. On account of this structure, the server thinks that the requests are being made by the proxy, maintaining your privateness intact.

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That mentioned, there’s one other sort of proxy that works intently with the server, and the identical is named the reverse proxy.

What Is a Reverse Proxy, and How Does It Work?

Similar to ahead proxies, reverse proxies additionally remedy an issue. Nonetheless, this downside pertains to servers. In brief, reverse proxies work within the actual reverse method when in comparison with a ahead proxy.

Basically, a reverse proxy collects all of the requests made to the server. As soon as intercepted, the reverse proxy sends the requests to the server with the information you might be in search of. On account of this, the reverse proxy can handle the site visitors touchdown on an internet site.

This design structure solves a giant downside in the case of distributing content material. You see, if a server receives an amazing variety of requests in a brief length, it might probably’t course of them, and shoppers can not entry the web site they’re in search of.

A reverse proxy solves this downside by monitoring the variety of requests being made to the server and attempting to stability them between totally different servers.

Benefits of Reverse Proxies

Along with managing requests from totally different shoppers, a reverse proxy presents a number of benefits.


Along with managing the site visitors obtained from the shoppers, the reverse proxy can be utilized to retailer steadily requested information. On account of this, the proxy doesn’t should request the server to get the information. As a substitute, it might probably serve information from its native cache. This method is used whereas serving static internet pages like this text.

Each time a person needs to entry a webpage, a request by the consumer is made to the reverse proxy. On this reverse proxy sits the Content material Administration System, liable for discovering the content material on the server and sending it to the person. In a conventional method, the CMS must hook up with the MySQL database, which holds the information, rising the entry time of the webpage.

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To unravel this downside, the reverse proxy shops fashionable internet pages regionally. On account of this, the proxy can immediately ship information to the person with out connecting to the server, enhancing web site efficiency.


When a reverse proxy is in place, it’s the face of your web site. Consequently, an attacker can not entry the web site’s inside servers immediately. As well as, reverse proxies can be utilized to fend off DDoS assaults. To do that, the reverse proxy can have a look at the IP handle of the consumer attempting to carry out a DDoS assault and block its entry to the server.

Sooner Knowledge Decryption

Most web sites on the web use HTTPS to switch information securely. On account of this, all the information reaching the server is encrypted. Subsequently a server has to decrypt the obtained site visitors and serve the information to the consumer. To unravel this downside, reverse proxies can be utilized to decrypt information, decreasing the server load.

World Server Load Balancing

Fashionable web sites like Netflix, Google, and Amazon have servers all throughout the globe. Subsequently, when a person makes a request to those web sites, it may be routed to any of its servers. If the request is shipped to a server distant from the consumer, the entry time of the web site will increase. To unravel this downside, reverse proxies route consumer requests to the closest servers to enhance the web site’s efficiency.

Reverse Proxies Make Your Web Sooner

A reverse proxy sits between the consumer and the server, serving to handle site visitors effectively. Not solely this, reverse proxies enhance the safety and reliability provided by a server.

That mentioned, reverse proxies require extra processing energy and community assets, plus reverse proxies can create a single level of failure for an internet site.