How I set up Tinyproxy as a forward proxy and reverse proxy


  • An image with a Linux OS distribution — I used a Debian GNU/Linux 8.9 (Jessie);
  • 4 virtual machines to serve as client, forward proxy, reverse proxy and server — I used VirtualBox to run these machines, with the Debian’s OS image;
  • The server has to run a Web Server — I used Apache HTTP server, to return the default HTML page saying “It works!”;
  • The client has to have a browser or a command-line tool installed such as curl, to do HTTP requests;
  • The forward and reverse proxy machines should have tinyproxy installed — Next I’ll show how to install it on the Debian machines. The version I used was 1.8.3.

Test architecture

Test architecture for the experiment

Network Configuration

  • Client —
  • Forward Proxy —
  • Reverse Proxy —
  • Server —

Install Tinyproxy

apt-get install tinyproxy

Setting up the system

tinyproxy -c <configuration-file>

Testing the system

curl -v --proxy
root@debian:/home/debian# curl -v --proxy
* Rebuilt URL to:
* Hostname was NOT found in DNS cache
* Trying
* Connected to ( port 8888 (#0)
> GET HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.38.0
> Host:
> Accept: */*
> Proxy-Connection: Keep-Alive
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK
< Via: 1.0 tinyproxy2 (tinyproxy/1.8.3), 1.1 tinyproxy1 (tinyproxy/1.8.3)
< Last-Modified: Mon, 11 Jun 2007 18:53:14 GMT
< Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:01:37 GMT
< Content-Type: text/html
< ETag: "2d-432a5e4a73a80"
< Set-Cookie: yummy_magical_cookie=/; path=/
* Server Apache/2.4.29 (Unix) is not blacklisted
< Server: Apache/2.4.29 (Unix)
< Content-Length: 45
< Accept-Ranges: bytes
<html><body><h1>It works!</h1></body></html>
* Connection #0 to host left intact
Wireshark capture of the communication between the client and the server, passing through the proxies.
cat /var/log/tinyproxy/tinyproxy.log

Tips & Notes

  • If you want to set up other paths you can do it with the “ReversePath” keyword. E.g.: ReversePath “/test” “” — in this way you can access the server by typing “”
  • I was always getting the error 400 Bad Request, because I was using this tool in the wrong way. I was using curl to connect with the server as the endpoint instead of the reverse proxy. The reverse proxy does not work as a forward proxy, so don’t use the “upstream” keyword to forward the traffic to the reverse proxy.




Software Engineer from Portugal working in the UK • GitHub Star • Open Source advocate •

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Isabel Costa

Isabel Costa

Software Engineer from Portugal working in the UK • GitHub Star • Open Source advocate •

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