April 19, 2024

4 Differences between a Firewall and a Proxy Server

What is the difference between Proxy and Firewall? – Both are network security components. To some extent, they are similar in that they limit or block connections to and from your network, but they do so in different ways.
Firewalls can block ports and programs that attempt to gain unauthorized access to your computer, while Proxy Servers essentially mask your internal network from the Internet. It works like a firewall in that it prevents your network from being exposed to the Internet by redirecting web requests when necessary.

Definition of Proxy Server

A proxy server is a server located between a client application, such as a web browser, and an actual server. It intercepts all requests to the real server to see if it can respond to the requests itself. Otherwise, it forwards the request to the real server.

The proxy server can exist on the same computer as a Firewall or on a separate server, which forwards requests through the Firewall.

The advantage of a proxy server is its cache can serve all users. If one or more websites are frequently requested, they are most likely in the proxy cache, which improves user response time. A proxy can also record its interactions, which can be useful for troubleshooting.


Definition of Firewall

A firewall is used to ensure the security of a private network. Firewalls block unauthorized access to or from private networks and are often used to prevent unauthorized web users or malicious software from accessing private networks connected to the Internet. A firewall can be implemented using hardware, software, or a combination of the two.

4 Differences between a Firewall and a Proxy Server

  • A Firewall blocks connections while a Proxy Server facilitates connections
  • A Proxy Server can also be used as a Firewall
  • Firewalls often exist as an interface between a public and private network, while Proxy Servers can also exist with public networks on both sides.
  • A Firewall is used to protect an internal network from attacks while a Proxy Server is used for anonymity and to bypass restrictions


Firewalls and Proxy Servers have different purposes. The main purpose of a firewall is filtering. This can only be done at the network layers, making decisions based on IP addresses, port numbers, connection status. Proxy Servers, on the other hand, act as intermediaries in a communication session and can often have other primary purposes, such as outgoing access control and authorization for clients on a corporate network accessing the Internet. But when used to control or filter application layer sessions, they overlap with some Firewall functionality.

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