What is a forward proxy?
A forward proxy is a server that sits in front of client machines. When these machines make requests to any sites on the internet, this proxy server intercepts these requests and then communicates with internet sites on behalf of those clients.
In the above figure:
- we have two devices L and M, which are making a request for web site hosted by webserver W.
- In standard communication, requests from L and M will directly reach to W. But when a forward proxy is places, L and M request will be intercepted by P, and then P will forward the request to W.
- W will respond back to P, and P will then send back the response to L and M.
Forward proxy is also called proxy, proxy server or web proxy.
Why is forward proxy required?
- Blocking access to the certain websites/content: A proxy server can be used to block users from accessing certain websites. For example, an organization can be configured to allow all its employee to connect to the internet via a proxy which has content filtering rules, refusing to forward responses from Facebook and other social media sites.
- Online identity protection: In certain cases, an individual might like to protect his/her identity online, by using a proxy server. As IP address captured by website person is visiting will now capture IP address of proxy rather than of person own device.
- To bypass browsing restrictions: Some governments, schools, and organizations restrict access to certain websites, by configuring rules on firewalls. A forward proxy can be used to get around these restrictions, as it let the user connect to the proxy rather than directly to the sites they are visiting.