Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows

Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows. Squid Proxy is an open source web server proxy and a cache for HTTP, FTP, and other popular protocols. Operates between clients accessing internet resources, and backend servers that host the websites, files, and databases. 

Well, Squid has many uses beyond traffic handling. It supports authentication methods such as LDAP, NTLM, and username/password. Configure Squid Proxy to filter web content on predefined rules and policies. 

However, Squid Proxy is not for content caching and traffic forwarding.  Depending on your server set up, you may want to look at some Squid Proxy Servers with similar capabilities. Let’s start with Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux /Windows systems. 

Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows

1. HAProxy

HAProxy (High Availability Proxy) is one of the best Squid Proxy alternatives thanks to its load balancing. Excellent for high traffic. HAProxy provides HTTP routing and compression, SSL offloading, and lookup maps.  

Organizations use HAProxy to distribute workloads and improve web application performance. Minimizes response times and increases throughput, enabling users to access content faster. Besides, it’s a highly secure tool with advanced features for protection against DDoS and other bot-based attacks. Ideal choice for API Gateways. It enables users to consolidate multiple APIs behind a single address, simplifying data discovery.

Pros of HAProxy

  • Event-driven architecture that allows quick reaction to I/O events
  • Real-time logging capabilities to monitor events efficiently.
  • Easy to configure and optimize.
  • Advanced load balancing and intelligent request routing.
  • Built in security features.

Cons of HAProxy

  • Lacks an intuitive user interface.
  • More Linux oriented than Windows.

2. Caddy

Backed by Ardan Labs, Caddy is a powerful, open source HTTP/2 enabled web server. One of the best reverse proxy tools. Uses HTTPS by default and is dynamically configurable with a RESTful JSON API. This gives you absolute control over your compute platform and comes in handy for dynamic and updated deployments.

Caddy’s automatic HTTPS feature ensures that all your websites are served over HTTPS by default. Therefore, you don’t have to configure SSL certificates manually. Caddy also serves as file server and load balancer. In addition, it boasts a modular architecture which allows you to use various plugins to extend its capabilities. Customize the server to fit your specific needs.

Pros of Caddy

  • Simple configuration file syntax.
  • Serves static files in the current working directory easily.
  • Rolls large log files to save disk space.
  • Compliant with regulatory standards such as PCI DSS
  • Rotates TLS session ticket keys by default to preserve forward secrecy.
  • Supports Websockets, FastCGI, Ipv6, and HTTP/1.1, HTTP/2, HTTP/3
  • Command line interface. 

Cons of Caddy

  • Inadequate documentation.

3. Nginx

Up next with Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows is Nginx. An ideal Squid Proxy alternative for content caching. Serves as a media streaming server, load balancer for UDP, TCP, and HTTP servers, web server, and reverse proxy. This proxy server is robust and highly performant especially when running high traffic websites or web applications. Also efficiently serves static content, handles simultaneous connections, and offer load balancing and SSL support.

Nginx easily handles a large number of connections simultaneously, thanks to its asynchronous, event-driven architecture. Manages similar threads under one worker process, where each worker contains smaller units known as connects. This architecture handles concurrent requests without buffering. It also leverages an advanced, event based mechanism, and easy to configure language.

Pros of Nginx

  • Free version suitable for small to medium organizations.
  • Speeds up web traffic through intelligent traffic routing.
  • Highly scalable to meet sudden spikes in traffic.
  • Run updates without performance downtime.
  • Allows for SSL offloading and protection.

Cons of Nginx

  • The paid version is relatively expensive.
  • Difficult to automate.
  • Fails to detect configuration errors especially with complex configurations.

4. Apache Traffic Server

Apache Traffic Server (ATS) is a suitable Squid Proxy alternative for a fast and scalable caching server. Initially developed by Yahoo, Apache Traffic Server is a top-level Apache project with excellent caching and proxying capabilities. Configure it to minimize server load and bandwidth, or to filter/anonymize content requests. Fast and handles thousands of requests per second. As a reverse proxy, it offers both HTTP/2 and IPv6 support.

Besides highly extensible. Provides APIs for writing plugins to modify various things from handling ESI requests to modifying HTTP headers.

Pros of Apache Traffic Server

  • Open source and free.
  • Regular expression matching to match any URL with the pattern.
  • Extended by API.
  • Handles up to 400 TB of data in a day.
  • Extensive documentation.
  • Huge community support.

Cons of Apache Traffic Server

  • Difficult set up process.
  • Lacks a graphical user interface.

5. Varnish Cache

Next of Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows is Varnish. A robust, open-source reverse caching proxy designed to speed up web applications. It’s high performance and advanced caching system makes it an ideal Squid Proxy alternative. Designed to optimize web pages and improve loading times, improving user experience. When you request a web page, Varnish provides the cached version. Besides, when your server fails, Varnish cache continues to serve the cached content. This allows web content to be served faster and makes websites more responsive.

Varnish Cache also provides load balancing and failover protection. Essential for maintaining stable and reliable web services. Supports edge side includes (ESI), making it capable of caching dynamic web content. Furthermore, Varnish Configuration Language (VCL) enables users to customize rules that dictate how requests and responses are handled.

Pros of Varnish

  • Advanced cache validation ensures updated content is ready for delivery in real time.
  • High performance content replicator to optimize content delivery while consuming less bandwidth.
  • Provides a private CDN to customize for optimizing user experience.
  • Easy to use configuration language.
  • Allows you to add custom CDNto the website easily.

Cons of Varnish

  • Difficult to set up.
  • Complex documentation.

6. Nuster

Nuster is a high performance cache server based on HAProxy. Acts as both a RESTful NoSQL cache server and HTTP proxy cache server with excellent caching capabilities and high-speed data processing.

Nuster supports HTTP/1, HTTP/2, WebSockets, and gRPC, making it a highly versatile proxy server. Use Nuster as an internal NoSQL cache that sits between your application and database like Redis and Memcached. In addition, place it between end user and your application.

Pros of Nuster

  • Supports all programming languages with HTTP.
  • Provides a User Facing RESTful cache.
  • Provides all features of HAProxy including ACL, HTTP, HTTP/2, etc
  • Enables disk persistence.

Cons of Nuster

  • No sufficient documentation.
  • Require regular updating to maintain stability.

7. Traefik

Traefik is a cloud native proxy server and load balancer for its automatic configuration and discovery features. Designed to handle modern infrastructure needs and is especially well suited for cloud native environments. This server integrates seamlessly with your existing infrastructure components, and configures itself dynamically. It has automatic service discovery and adjusts accordingly to changes.

Additionally, Traefik supports multiple container services and has native support for Docker, Amazon ECS, Kubernetes, and other services. Besides, it has lots of middleware that enhances its capabilities. With its flexible layer 4 and layer 7 routing, Traefik helps balance web traffic efficiently. Easily determines which traffic corresponds to a certain  backend server or container and routes it appropriately.

Unlike Apache Traffic Server and NGINX, Traefik requires minimal configuration to manage routes. For instance, all you need to enable JSON logging is a single command line.

Pros of Traefik

  • Appealing web UI and provides real time metrics.
  • Automatic SSL termination.
  • Scales automatically upon changes in the container environments.
  • Sufficient documentation that covers all aspects of the proxy.
  • Built in support for Let’s Encrypt (ACME) for certificate management.

Cons of Traefik

  • Requires a significant amount of CPU and RAM to run efficiently.
  • Lacks some advanced features such as content filtering and traffic shaping.
  • Limited user support.

8. Pound

Pound is a lightweight alternative to Squid Proxy that serves as an HTTP frontend, reverse proxy, and load balancer. It’s open source and suitable for small to medium scale web applications. Serves multiple SSL secured web applications, each with its own certificate.

One of the top features of Pound include its automatic failover mechanism for backend servers which ensures for and reliability. Furthermore, it offers HTTP/HTTPS load balancing, SSL termination, and WebSocket support. As an SSL wrapper, Pound decrypts HTTPs requests from client browsers and forwards then backend servers. Also, it verifies requests for correctness and ensures bad or malicious traffic is not passed to backend servers. ensuring only the right one gets forwarded. Despite its lightweight nature, this proxy  efficiently manages and distributes web traffic.

Pros of Pound

  • Easy to perform security audits.
  • Free and open source and suitable for small websites.
  • Automatic failover. 
  • Allows developers to set rules for redirecting traffic.

Cons of Pound

  • Lacks a documentation to guide new users.
  • Not suitable for high traffic web applications.

9. Tinyproxy

Another solution of Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows is Tinyproxy. A lightweight  HTTP/HTTPS proxy daemon ideal for low memory footprint.  Particularly suitable for smaller networks or devices with limited resources due to its minimal CPU and memory footprint.

Despite its lightweight nature, Tinyproxy supports anonymization, load balancing, and servers as a reverse proxy. Furthermore, it supports transparent proxying, allowing users to forward traffic without modifying requests or responses.

Pros of Tinyproxy

  • Easy to configure and use.
  • Very small footprint of around 2MB.
  • Access control features to help you block unwanted users.
  • Provides multiple levels for logging errors .

Cons of TinyProxy

  • Lacks a graphical interface.
  • Cannot handle huge amounts of traffic due to its lightweight nature.

10. Artica Proxy

Artica Proxy is an excellent for a robust, enterprise grade solution. This proxy server provides URL filtering, load balancing, and caching capabilities. Unlike most servers which are command line based, Artica Proxy provides a user friendly interface to allow users to interact with their servers.

Provides unmatched on-box URL/content filtering. This ensures minimal latency and maximum performance. This server also integrates real-time traffic monitoring features that provide insights into network usage and performance. Notably, Artica Proxy includes automatic updates, bandwidth shaping, SSL inspection, antivirus scanning, and active directory support.

Pros of Tinyproxy

  • Web application firewall to filter incoming traffic into your web server.
  • Built-in antivirus scanner to scan and detect malicious attacks.
  • Uses SSL encryption to hide communication between browsers and proxy.
  • View all metrics ( bandwidth and traffic distribution) through the web interface.

Cons of Tinyproxy

  • Lacks active community support.

11. Memcached

Memcached is excellent for high performance, distributed caching system. While Memcached is an in-memory data store, it has a built-in proxy that enables you to speed up dynamic web applications. Use it alongside other HTTP servers and reverse proxies to cache frequently used data and reduce data load. Memcached is easy to scale and manage. 

Pros of Memcached

  • Advanced caching capabilities that exceed most fully fledged proxy servers.
  • Manage pools of servers across multiple availability zones and local servers.
  • Does not add external dependencies hence simple to compile and deploy.
  • Allows flexible topology designs.

Cons of Memcached

  • It doesn’t provide a lot of the features found in fully-fledged proxy servers.
  • Lacks some security features such as firewalls.

12. Gate.js

Besides with Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows there is Gate.js. The JavaScript proxy server for high performance. Written in Node.js, for asynchronous and event driven model of Node.js. This architecture makes it capable of handling multiple connections simultaneously. With Gate.js, you get features like load balancing, traffic shaping, and HTTPS support with automatic certificate management.

There is innovative file system caching mechanism which enables efficient file transfers. Besides, it’s very easy to configure especially if you are familiar with JavaScript.

Pros of Gate.js

  • Enables developers to exploit all CPU cores without any challenging configurations.
  • Protects your backend servers with web security gateway features.
  • Extensive documentation with handy guides.
  • Written in Javascript syntax.

Cons of Gate.js

  • Lacks a graphic interface.
  • Lacks advanced features such as content filtering and SSL termination.

13. Envoy Proxy

Envoy Proxy is an open source edge and service proxy, designed for cloud native applications. Thanks to its distributed architecture and small memory footprint, this proxy server handles complex microservices architectures. It offers advanced load balancing, supports multiple protocols (HTTP/2, gRPC, etc.), and provides features like circuit breaking and rate limiting.

Built in C++ and is platform agnostic. Besides, it provides deep observability of L7 traffic and detailed metrics and logs that allow you to monitor the health and performance of your microservices. In addition, its robust APIs provide dynamic configuration management.

Pros of Envoy Proxy

  • Allows basic configuration via YAML files and more advanced configuration via gRPC-based APIs.
  • Multiple mechanisms for certificate management.
  • Provides almost all capabilities of NGINX and HAProxy.
  • Collects crucial traffic metrics and displays them via visualization tools such as Grafana.

Cons of Envoy Proxy

  • The C++ syntax is difficult to understand.
  • Extensive documentation.

14. Privoxy

Further down the list of Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows we have Privoxy. An excellent alternative if you only need a forward proxy. Comes with advanced filtering capabilities to control access and heighten privacy. The HTTP inspection feature allows it to filter HTTP requests and responses. Also, it has a web filter that enables it to catch HTML issues and invisible web bugs. Besides, it allows you to customize it to fit specific needs.

Pros of Privoxy

  • Built in ad blocker and cookie management feature.
  • Support tagging on both the server and the client.
  • Supports IPv6 as long as the OS supports it as well.
  • Maintains live connections live independently from the client.

Cons of Privoxy

  • Does not cache data.
  • Has insufficient documentation.
  • Lacks an active community of users.

15. Abyss Web Server

Abyss Web Server is a minimalist web server for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Serves both dynamic and static content over HTTP and HTTPS. Supports various web server technologies such as CGI, FastCGI, and native support for reverse proxying.

Abyss is a highly secure web server. First, it supports client certificate authentication, digest authentication, and basic authentication methods such as username and password. It provides password protection and SSL encryption to secure communications with the backend servers. Besides , it provides automatic anti-hacking mechanisms and supports IPv6 and URL rewriting.

Requires a small memory footprint to run. Its installation has packages for both 32-bit and 64-bit editions so choose the one most suitable for running your applications.

Pros of Abyss Web Server

  • Based on the APX (Anti-crash Protection eXtension) architecture from Aprelium which makes the server crash-proof.
  • Automatic HTTP compression to reduce bandwidth.
  • Support both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols.
  • Configure it to launch automatically when your computers starts up.
  • Has extended server side support to help you create dynamic HTML pages

Cons of Abyss Web Server

  • Not suitable for handling extremely heavy traffic loads.
  • Does not provide a fine-tuned control over configurations as most top web servers do.

16. LiteSpeed Web Server

LiteSpeed Web Server is a high performance, Apache compatible server with incredible speed and low resource consumption. Has load balancing, HTTP/3 support, and built-in security protections. This server has built-in anti DDoS capabilities to prevent attacks that may overload your server. It has an event-driven architecture that excels in handling concurrent connections. This makes it faster than Apache process based architecture.

LightSpeed has a built in cache for dynamic content acceleration and to decrease load times. Provides a highly navigable web administration console for easier server management. Compatible with Apache’s mod_rewrite and .htaccess rules,easily migrate from existing Apache servers.

With LiteSpeed Web Server, choose either the premium version, or the open source edition known as OpenLiteSpeed

Pros of LiteSpeed Web Server

  • Servers static pages faster than Apache.
  • Customizable security features such as bandwidth throttling and per-IP connections.
  • Highly compatible with the Apache web server.
  • Transmits data in a compressed form to preserve bandwidth.
  • Requires minimal server resources to handle connections.

Cons of LiteSpeed Web Server

  • The free, open source version is not compatible with any hosting panel.
  • Limited Windows support.

17. WinGate Proxy Server

WinGate Proxy Server is an HTTP Proxy and SOCKS server designed to meet modern day individual business needs. Integrated communications server and internet gateway designed to enable communications and access control.

With WinGate, you provide secure and managed internet access for your entire network via a single or multiple shared internet connections. Besides, it allows you to enforce access control policies to ensure your backend servers are secure from threats. Its responsive DNS and web caching ensures clients receive responses in real time with minimal downtime. 

Pros of Wingate Proxy Server

  • Increases responsiveness and reliability of your network.
  • Extra productivity features such as email support and internet sharing.
  • Supports multiple web protocols such as HTTP, SSL, and FTP.
  • Built in security features such as packet inspection firewall.

Cons of WinGate Proxy Server

  • Lacks advanced web proxy features found in other tools such as HAProxy, NGINX, etc
  • Lacks active community support.

18. Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is a highly popular, open source Java technology used mainly as a web and application server. Used to power large scale, mission critical web applications with millions of traffic. Implements most Java Enterprise Specs such as:

  • Java WebSocket, Server Pages, Servlet, Expression Language.

Integrates with the Apache HTTP Server. This way, Tomcat handles requests for dynamic content like servlets and JSPs, while the other web server handles static content and serves as the proxy.

Pros of Apache Tomcat

  • Ideal for production applications
  • Great documentation that touches on all features from integration to usage.
  • Very lightweight and loads and redeploys compared to its alternatives.

Cons of Apache Tomcat

  • Does not handle static content.
  • Requires a mainstream web proxy server to function properly.
  • Be familiar with Java.
  • Has issues with SSL installations.

19. IBM WebSphere Application Server

IBM WebSphere is a web application server that provides flexible and secure runtimes for lightweight web applications, microservices, and Java enterprise applications. WebSphere Application Server, servers as an HTTP server and reverse proxy.

IBM WebSphere Application server provides enterprise grade features such as failover support, clustering, and performance tuning. Supports various protocols such as HTTP and IIOP, and runs seamlessly on Linux and Windows.

Pros of IBM Websphere Application Server

  • Integrates with other IBM applications.
  • Supports different deployment methods such as application containers, virtual machines, and cloud native applications.
  • Intelligent management features.
  • Dynamically responds to application to configuration changes to increase developer productivity.

Cons of IBM Websphere Application Server

  • Requires sufficient Java knowledge to use.
  • Difficult to troubleshoot when you want to get the root cause of an issue.

20. Oracle WebLogic

Last on our list of Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows we have Oracle WebLogic Server. An enterprise grade Java EE application server. Ideal alternative to Squid Proxy if you host applications on backend systems written in Java. It functions as a robust HTTP server and reverse proxy, providing a rich set of features for managing complex applications. WebLogic comes with top features such as clustering, load balancing, and robust security controls. 

Offers a highly scalable implementation of Java EE and Jakarta EE. Also it supports running applications on multiple environments such as on-premise, cloud, and containerized environments.

Pros of Oracle WebLogic

  • Fully supported on Kubernetes.
  • Restarts automatically whenever it encounters failed nodes.
  • Has a connection sharing feature that improves application scalability.
  • Provides an intuitive web interface to manage complex tasks.

Cons of Oracle WebLogic

  • Difficult to configure especially if you are not conversant with Java.
  • Has a relatively highly resource overhead.

Thank you for reading the Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows. We are concluding the article now 

Top 20 Best Squid Proxy Alternatives for Linux / Windows Conclusion

If you are looking for a suitable Squid Proxy alternative, the above options come in handy. These tools are fundamentally different in terms of features, caching mechanisms, and load balancing. Since you need a tool that handles your traffic without performance hiccups, it’s imperative you choose a tool with HTTP compression, load balancing, and reverse proxy. Also, it’s best to choose a tool that encrypts data to secure client-server communication. This way, you are able to manage whatever amount of traffic you have and deliver content in real time without overloading some servers.

Avatar for Dennis Muvaa
Dennis Muvaa

Dennis is an expert content writer and SEO strategist in cloud technologies such as AWS, Azure, and GCP. He's also experienced in cybersecurity, big data, and AI.

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