Web proxy software forwards HTTP requests without modifying traffic in any way. They can be configured as a transparent proxy with no client-side configuration required. They can also be used as a reverse proxy front-end to websites; here the cache serves an unlimited number of clients for one or some web servers.
Web proxies are versatile tools. They have a wide variety of uses, from caching web, DNS and other lookups, to speeding up the delivery of a web server / reducing bandwidth consumption. Web proxy software can also harden security by filtering traffic and anonymizing connections, and offer media-range limitations. This software is used by high-profile, high-traffic websites such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and social media and content sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia.
Web caches have become a vital mechanism for optimising the amount of data that is delivered in a given period of time. Good web caches also help to minimise latency, serving pages as quickly as possible. This helps to prevent the end user from becoming impatient having to wait for content to be delivered. Web caches optimise the data flow between client and server. They also help to converse bandwidth by caching frequently-delivered content. If you need to reduce server load and improve delivery speed of your content, it is definitely worth exploring the benefits offered by web cache software.
To provide an insight into the quality of software available for Linux, I feature below 5 excellent open source web proxy tools. Some of the them are full-featured; a couple of them have very modest resource needs.
|Web Delivery Tools|
|Squid||High-performance open source proxy caching server and web cache daemon|
|Privoxy||Non-caching Web proxy with advanced filtering capabilities for enhancing privacy|
|Varnish Cache||Web accelerator written with performance and flexibility in mind|
|Polipo||Caching HTTP proxy which has modest resource needs|
|Tinyproxy||Lightweight web proxy daemon|
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There's tons of in-depth reviews, alternatives to Google, fun things to try, hardware, free programming books and tutorials, and much more.