How to set up Microsoft's Web Application Proxy

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This Windows Server 2012 R2 feature allows online users to securely access internal resources.

With Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft has built in a reverse-proxy feature. The Web Application Proxy securely publishes internal resources out to the Internet for access by both corporate-owned devices and untrusted machines alike. Indeed, most deployments of, say, Work Folders or workplace join -- key "work anywhere" features that Microsoft put into Windows Server 2012 R2 -- demand a reverse proxy of some sort, so this requirement is likely to come up for you sooner or later.

As you may have heard, Microsoft killed its flagship reverse proxy product, Forefront Unified Access Gateway, back in December. Many organizations have used UAG to create DirectAccess tunnels as well as portals where applications could be securely accessed from all sorts of clients.

While UAG's capabilities were vast, it may have represented overkill for many applications, so Microsoft has built a capable, if less full-featured, successor into Windows Server 2012 R2. That's what this article is about.

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