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Difference between the firewall and the proxy server

Both the firewall and the proxy server reside between the network and the local computer, which provides security against network threats. The firewall and proxy server work together. The firewall operates at a lower level and can filter all types of IP packets, while the proxy server handles the traffic at the application level and filters requests from the unknown client.

A proxy server can be considered as part of the firewall. A firewall basically prevents access from an unauthorized connection. On the other hand, a proxy server acts primarily as a mediator that establishes the connection between the external user and the public network.

Comparative graph

Basis for comparison Firewall Proxy server
BASIC Monitor and filter incoming and outgoing traffic on a local network. Establishes communication between the external client and the server.
Filters IP packets Client-side requests for connection.
Overload generated Ms Less
It involves Network and transport layer data. Application layer data.

Firewall definition

He firewall creates a barrier from which the traffic going in a different direction must cross. It works as a filter at the IP packet level and offers an effective method to protect, monitor, audit the local network from external network security threats, IP forgery and routing attacks. It is an integrated solution for network security that not only provides hardware, but also software-based security. Firewall is a collection of packet filters and proxy servers (application gateway).

He packet filter It is used to forward and block incoming and outgoing packets according to the information provided on the network and in the header of the transport layer, such as the source and destination address, the port number, the protocol, etc. On the other hand, the proxy server Filters the application level data when verifying the content of the message, the proxy server is described in more detail below.

The main strategies implemented by the firewall to manage access and enforce security policy are: service control, address control, user control and behavior control.

  • Service control : Specifies which Internet service should be accessed, incoming or outgoing.
  • Address control : determines which route must be followed to travel the data on the network.
  • User control : Manages access to a service, according to which a user tries to access the service.
  • Behavior control – Determine the use of services.

Proxy Server Definition

He proxy server It is also known as the gateway of the application, since it controls the traffic at the application level. Despite examining the unprocessed packets, it filters the data according to the header fields, message size and content as well. As mentioned earlier that the proxy server is a part of the firewall, the packet firewall will only not be feasible because it cannot differentiate between the port numbers. The proxy server behaves like a proxy and makes the decisions to manage the flow of application specific traffic (via URL).

Now how does the proxy server work? The proxy server present in the client center and the original server. Run a server process to receive a request from the client to access the server.

When the proxy server opens the request, it verifies all the content. If the request and its contents seem legitimate, the proxy server sends the request to the real server as if it were a client. In addition, if the request is not a legitimate request, the proxy server immediately discards it and sends the error message to the external user.

Another advantage of the proxy server is the storage in cach When the server receives a request from a page, it first checks whether that response from the page is already stored in the cache or not, if that response is not stored, the proxy server sends the corresponding request to the server. In this way, the proxy server reduces traffic, loads on the real server and improves latency.

Key differences between the firewall and the proxy server

  1. The Firewall is used to block traffic that can cause damage to the system, acts as a barrier to incoming and outgoing traffic in the public network. On the other hand, the proxy server is a component of a firewall that allows communication between the client and the server if the client is a legitimate user and acts as a client and server at the same time.
  2. Firewall filters IP packets. In contrast, the proxy server filters the requests it receives based on its application level content.
  3. The overhead generated in the firewall is more compared to a proxy server because the proxy server uses caching and handles fewer aspects.
  4. The firewall uses the network and transport layer data, while on the proxy server, the processing of the application layer data is also used.


The firewall and proxy server work in the integration. However, a proxy server is a component of the firewall that, when used in conjunction with the firewall, provides viability and efficiency.