Firewall vs. Proxy: Overview, Usages, and Differences

Proxy vs. firewall, what are the differences? When deciding between a proxy server and a firewall, it's essential to grasp their distinct roles and functionalities within a network security framework. This article provides in-depth insights of the difference between the two.


By Ellie / Updated on June 28, 2024

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Firewall vs. proxy: Overview

Firewalls and proxies serve as critical security measures aimed at safeguarding organizations and their users from potential threats. Despite their shared objective, these solutions diverge significantly in their purposes. It's crucial to grasp these distinctions to appreciate the vital roles that both firewall and proxy functionalities play within an organization's cybersecurity framework. Proxy vs. firewall, what are the differences? Let us find out this!

What is a firewall?

What is a firewall? Firewalls serve as essential network guardians that establish and fortify organizational defenses against cyber threats. Positioned at network perimeters, these devices meticulously scrutinize and assess all traffic flowing through them.

Operating on predefined rules, firewalls govern which types of traffic are permissible to traverse into and out of the protected network, while staunchly barricading undesired access points. Typically, inbound connections are universally disallowed by default, with outbound traffic generally permitted. These overarching policies are bolstered by specific regulations that block traffic associated with specified IP ranges, inhibit certain network protocols, or thwart attempted infiltrations by malware or data extraction attempts.

Firewall Protection

Integral to an organization's security framework, firewalls play a pivotal role in warding off a spectrum of potential threats from infiltrating network infrastructures. They manifest in diverse forms, ranging from basic stateless firewalls, which evaluate IP addresses and packet headers, to advanced next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) that conduct thorough packet inspections and integrate additional security functionalities like intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

Firewalls serve various purposes, including:

  • A firewall monitors incoming traffic and, with a two-way firewall, can also oversee outgoing data and encrypt it if needed.
  • It prevents Trojan horses from infiltrating computer files and causing network-wide damage.
  • Firewalls block hackers from accessing your network.
  • They lower the risk of keylogging, where dormant keyloggers on the internet monitor keystrokes to later access private accounts and cause harm.

What is a proxy?

A proxy server acts as a middleman between clients and servers, serving several functions. It can safeguard either the client or server and enhance the privacy and security of devices connected through it. When an organization implements a proxy, all systems behind it route their traffic through the proxy, which then forwards requests to other parties on behalf of its users.

Remote Access Proxy

One key role of a proxy is to preserve user privacy. It masks the IP addresses of systems behind it, using its own IP address for all communication to and from external sources, thus offering a degree of anonymity.

Proxies serve various purposes, including:

  • Providing access to services blocked in specific countries.
  • Serving as a repository that logs internet usage and websites visited by employees within an organization.
  • Hiding the IP address of local computers from malicious internet users.
  • Acting as a filtering tool to restrict access to certain websites within an organization.
  • Enhancing network performance by caching requests.

Difference between firewall and proxy server

Firewall vs proxy, what are the differences? Next, let's explore some key differences between firewall and proxy servers.



Proxy Server

Basic Firewall vs Proxy

Firewall monitors and filters all incoming and outgoing access requests on a local network.

While a proxy server acts as an intermediary, connecting a local computer to a server to retrieve data on behalf of the user.


Unauthorized access is strictly prohibited.

It facilitates connections across the network.

How and what do they filter?

Access requests are filtered based on the IP packets of incoming traffic. The firewall blocks programs and ports attempting unauthorized access.

An organization can block access to specific websites using a proxy server, which filters out such websites for users. Additionally, a proxy server masks the local computer network from the Internet. This highlights another key difference between proxies and firewalls.

Network layer

The firewall server operates on the network and transport layer of data.

The proxy server also operates on application layer data.

Place of application or existence

It serves as an interface between private and public networks.

It can exist on both sides of public networks.

Protects from

Another significant difference between a firewall and a proxy server is that a firewall protects the internal network from malicious threats and attacks.

While a proxy server allows you to use the internet anonymously and bypass restrictions.

Overhead generated

Firewalls typically generate more overhead because they serve as a primary source of authorization, determining whether specific requests can enter a network or not.

The overhead generated here is lower because it utilizes caching and handles fewer requests.

AnyViewer: Secure remote desktop software over the internet

When it comes to securely managing remote access over the internet, AnyViewer stands out as a dependable and effective remote desktop solution. Designed with both user security and convenience in mind, AnyViewer provides a seamless remote desktop experience, facilitating easy access to devices from any location worldwide.

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AnyViewer employs advanced encryption protocols to guarantee secure transmission of all data between your devices. This ensures that sensitive information remains protected against potential cyber threats, offering reassurance when remotely accessing your desktop. Beyond encryption, AnyViewer integrates multi-layered security measures like two-factor authentication and privacy mode, further enhancing the security of your remote sessions.

Opting for AnyViewer means choosing a secure, efficient, and user-friendly remote desktop solution. Its robust security features ensure the safety of your data, while its intuitive design simplifies remote access, whether for personal use or enabling remote work within a business environment.

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Step 1. Download and install AnyViewer on both your local computer and the remote computer. Create an AnyViewer account and log in on both machines.

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Step 2. On your local device, find the remote computer in the device list on the "Device" tab. Click "One-click control" to start a remote desktop session via the internet.


To use AnyViewer's built-in proxy functionality, start by accessing the Settings menu and navigating to the Network section. In this menu, enter the required proxy configuration details. Once done, activate the proxy feature by selecting the appropriate option. This approach ensures a secure and efficient connection to remote computers outside your local network using AnyViewer's integrated proxy capabilities.

Proxy Settings

★Tips: Enhance your experience by upgrading to a Professional or Enterprise plan, unlocking a range of additional benefits:
Expanded device access for remote operations.
Unlimited simultaneous sessions to boost productivity.
Accelerated file transfers for faster exchanges.
Improved image quality and enhanced color reproduction.
Advanced device management capabilities.
And more features to optimize your workflow effectively.

The bottom line

In conclusion, proxy servers vs. firewalls serve distinct purposes even if they have similarities. Firewalls protect networks by filtering traffic based on predefined rules, blocking unauthorized access and threats. In contrast, proxy servers act as intermediaries, enhancing privacy, bypassing restrictions, and improving performance through caching. Understanding these differences is essential for selecting the right solution to fortify your organization's cybersecurity framework effectively.

Whether safeguarding against external threats with a firewall or ensuring privacy and access with a proxy, each plays a vital role in maintaining a secure digital environment.