Reverse proxy

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A reverse proxy is a web server that centralizes internal services and provides unified interfaces to the public. Requests from clients are forwarded to a server that can fulfill it before the reverse proxy returns the server’s response to the client.


  • Increased security - Hide information about backend servers, blacklist IPs, limit number of connections per client
  • Increased scalability and flexibility - Clients only see the reverse proxy’s IP, allowing you to scale servers or change their configuration
  • SSL termination - Decrypt incoming requests and encrypt server responses so backend servers do not have to perform these potentially expensive operations
  • Compression - Compress server responses
  • Caching - Return the response for cached requests
  • Static content - Serve static content directly Etc

Load balancer vs reverse proxy

  • Deploying a load balancer is useful when you have multiple servers. Often, load balancers route traffic to a set of servers serving the same function.
  • Reverse proxies can be useful even with just one web server or application server, opening up the benefits described in the previous section.
  • Solutions such as NGINX and HAProxy can support both layer 7 reverse proxying and load balancing.


  • Introducing a reverse proxy results in increased complexity.
  • A single reverse proxy is a single point of failure, configuring multiple reverse proxies (ie a failover) further increases complexity.
Written on March 30, 2019