CloudFlare is a performance and security service that acts like a proxy between your visitors and the servers. On the one hand, it ensures your visitors get the fastest possible page load times by optimizing the delivery of your web pages automatically; on the other hand, CloudFlare secures your website via blocking threats and limiting crawlers and bots that are abusive from wasting your server resources as well as your bandwidth. Usually, CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
This articles aims to give a comprehensive introduction to CloudFlare so that you can better understand it and use it for enhancing your website.
The CloudFlare service is specifically designed for protect and accelerate every website that is using it. Once you add a domain to it, your website under that domain will be a part of a big and intelligent global network of websites. Then the contents of your website will be distributed across the large amount of data centers used by CloudFlare. The result: wherever you choose to host your website, you can enjoy an optimized loading speed as from a local server.
Here in below are the main features of the CloudFlare service.
As the core functionality of the CloudFlare service, CloudFlare CDN distributes the static contents of your website including HTML and CSS files across multiple locations around the globe. This is a great way to insure the best loading speed for a visitor when he attempts to load your website, no matter how distant location he is from. Recently, many good hosting companies have offered CloudFlare CDN service for its customers, our Best CloudFlare CDN Hosting will give you some advice.
CloudFlare offers service to protect your website against nuisances and malicious attacks including DOS and SQL injection attacks, thus maintaining a secure environment for your website. To some degree, CloudFlare security is the most important one among all features. CloudFlare not only automatically detects new attacks and blocks them for both your website and the entire community, but also comes with a ridiculously easy security setting along with different level of protection.
Would you like to be able to review all the traffic coming to your website? CloudFlare Analytics service gives an insight to your website traffic. In the help of this service, you are able to clearly know how much bandwidth CloudFlare is reducing on the server hosting your website. If needed, it can also provide you with other more statics like what bandwidth search engine crawlers consume and how that changes over time.
Benefits of CloudFlare
There are several aspects you can benefit from using the CloudFlare service:
- Site Performance Improvement:Proxy servers from CloudFlare are located throughout the world. Consequently, your visitors can connect to the closest proxy servers and get the cached content in much faster page load speed because it is delivered from the closest caching box. It is proved that a visitor would stay longer when there is a faster load speed. .
- Spam Comments Protection:CloudFlare reduces the number of spam comments on your site by leveraging data from third party resources.
- Offline Browsing Mode: On condition that the server you’re hosting your website is unavailable, visitors should still be able to access your site since CloudFlare serves the visitor a page from its cache.
- Alerting Visitors of Infected Computers:If a visitor loads your website with an infected computer, then CloudFlare will send him an alert to take measure to deal with the virus or malware on his machine. Through entering a CAPTCHA, the visitor can get access to your site.
- Bot and Threat Protection:CloudFlare identifies malicious threats and removes them before coming to your site by using data from its own community, as well as other third party sources such as Project Honey Pot. If wish, you can get it clear about the detailed information of threats being stopped in your CloudFlare dashboard.
- Lower CPU Usage:The fewer requests hit your hosting server, the less CPU usage your account consumes.
Limitations of CloudFlare
Before enabling CloudFlare for your website, you may also want to know these:
- Request must be directed to yourdomain.tld rather than yourdomian.tld, it means some configurations should be changed previously;
- As CloudFlare caches static content from your site, the loading on your server may be affected. That is, if you plan to change an image or other existing files, you can’t see the change immediately because there will be a delay before it appears. In case your site is being updated now and you desire to see the changes promptly, then you make it come true through putting CloudFlare in Development Mode.
Assumed you have a WordPress blog and plan to use CloudFlare to enhance you site, you may wonder whether CloudFlare is easy to be set up on your WordPress blog or not. However, the process varies depending on your web host. If your web host has offered you one-click CloudFlare installation, it just takes you seconds for a simple click. Otherwise you may need to install it manually. Even so, the process is still fairly simple as below:
- Step1—Installing the CloudFlare WordPress plugin to restore visitor IP.
- Step2—Login to your CloudFlare Threat Control panel and whitelistist IP addresses you want traffic from or expect traffic from.
- Step3—Review your basic security settings.
- Step4—If you are using services like .htaccess, firewalls or server mods to manage access to your site from visitors, it is vitally important to make sure requests from CloudFlare’s IP ranges are not being blocked or limited in any way.