Cloudflare, Inc. is a web infrastructure and website security company and a leader in CDN solutions that makes connections to your site secure, private and fast. A content delivery network (CDN), in its simplest form, is a group of servers distributed worldwide at different locations. Their main function is to work together to speed up online content delivery.
Here at Fishtank, we use Cloudflare as a CDN solution for many of our clients. Once implemented, this achieves an immediate increase in performance and reduction of load on infrastructure beyond what was capable before that for their websites. I will attempt to outline five benefits of using Cloudflare, but let me preface that by saying that Cloudflare has a plethora of available features, from analytics to traffic to performance.
Ever had an attack on your website? Cloudflare stops attacks and hacking attempts. This way, you can have peace of mind that a malicious hacking attempt will get intercepted, and your site will remain functional.
Cloudflare filters out most of the spam attacks at the name-server level, and such requests don't even hit your server. It protects your website from DDOS attacks, SQL injection, and comment spam. This provides a secure environment for your website.
You can allow approved sources that are hitting your websites. The events summary will show you how many requests to the website were blocked and their IP addresses. Continue to see large amounts of traffic hitting your website that is unknown? Just block them in the WAF rules.
Cloudflare has optimization features to speed up your website.
You can resize images from any origin where only the original image is cached. This allows you to adapt to different sizes and devices.
The ‘Polish’ feature allows you to improve the time images take to load by optimizing images hosted on your domain.
Cloudflare supports three file types of minification.
While enabled, this will reduce the file size of source code on your website.
Page Rules are a feature of the Cloudflare content delivery network that allows website owners to define specific actions to take on incoming requests to their website, such as redirecting URLs or caching certain files. This is a feature I often use as it allows me to set different cache levels and also bypasses the cache for specific pages.
Creating page rules can allow for settings such as:
You can also set the edge cache TTL to anywhere from 14 days to 1 hour
Cloudflare offers site performance improvement because it has proxy servers located throughout the world. Proxy servers are located closer to people visiting your site, which means they will likely see improvements in page load speed as the cached content is delivered from the closest caching box instead of directly off Cloudflare’s server. The bounce rate (the percentage of users who navigate away after only viewing one page) has been shown to decrease if a site performs quickly because users are more likely to stick around.
Cloudflare has an ‘Always Online’ a feature which caches a static version of your website, through its integration with the Internet Archive, keeping your website available in case your origin server goes down. I’ve personally seen Cloudflare ‘save’ a website and keep it online even if the origin server was unresponsive.
Cloudflare offers a FREE universal SSL certificate with any type of plan, even the free plan. The platform’s modern SSL improves webpage load times to provide a better visitor experience for your website. You can store your Edge certificates in Cloudflare and they will renew yearly.
Cloudflare isn’t only limited to these benefits and has many features, such as easy DNS management. There are no additional hardware, software, or code changes required and essentially you can just point your nameservers to Cloudflare, and you’re all set!
Cloudflare offers affordable pricing plans with a free plan for basic features. This makes it an ideal solution for small businesses that need website optimization and security without breaking the bank. Additionally, its premium plans are reasonably priced when compared to other CDN providers in the market.
We are pleased to be recognized as a Cloudflare Certified Partner. This designation is awarded to Fishtank Consulting for the ability to demonstrate how Cloudflare's industry-leading tools have drastically increased performance and security for our clients.
If you are interested in the platform, send us a message to [email protected] to get started.
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