Cloudflare

Having a reliable and fast serving website is essential today. You can have the best website in the world but if it is not up when people are trying to load it then there is not much point. Not to mention how important it is to have a fast loading website. Having a content delivery network can improve your website load time, but a decent content delivery network costs money and if you are on shared hosting you might not want to pay more money for a content delivery network just yet. Not to mention a content delivery network does not help to keep your website safe from hackers, spammers and botnet zombie machines.

This is where Cloudflare comes in. Cloudflare helps to protect your website by doing several things. First it helps to protect it from the visitors you don’t want to visit your website. It uses threat data from Project Honey Pot and a variety of other third-party sources to identify online threats. Cloudflare will then challenge. You can even use the threat control panel to ban ip addresses even entire countries.

Cloudflare can also keep your website online when for some reason or other your server goes down. Cloudflare can offer visitors cached pages while your server is offline allowing them to browse and read your content while your server is not available. Visitors will see a small notice that your server is not available. The notice will disappear as soon as your server comes back online again.

Cloudflare will also improve your websites load time, by caching the most used parts of your website. Images, javascript files and cascading styles sheets can all be cached and served through Cloudflare.

I have been using Cloudflare for just over a month on several of my own websites and I have been impressed so far with the service. I am only using the free service, but with the four sites I have added to the service I have seen a overall speed increase of 49%, saved 3.1GB in bandwidth and saved myself from 9,406 unique threats. I have also had the opportunity to test how Cloudflare can keep a website online when the server goes offline. While it was only for a short time the websites content was still available while the server was offline. Cloudflare has certainly improved several of my websites that on shared servers. I am currently only using the free Cloudflare service on some personal websites, but Cloudflare does offer more stats and control.

To get a sense of what Cloudflare can do for your website check out the 90 second video of what Cloudflare does. Also be sure to check out the Cloudflare tour page for more information.

Overall, Cloudflare is am impressive service. I am going to continue to use it for my personal sites and see how the performance improves over time. If you want to try out Cloudflare it only takes a few minutes to setup. If you do come back and leave a comment about what you think of the service.

2 Responses to Cloudflare

  1. I have a GIANT concern with this policy of cloudflare. In fact, going to a site that does this makes me angry & I never visit it again. I guess this is a revenue source for them – but as a visitor – I don’t like it:

    “Alerting Visitors of Infected Computers: CloudFlare alerts human visitors that have an infected computer that they need to take action to clean up the malware or virus on their machine. The visitor can enter a CAPTCHA to gain access to your site.”

    • I can understand that this could be a source of frustration for some visitors. It is possible to turn down the security level so only the most dangerous threats are presented the challenge page. Personally, while it is annoying for some, I would rather have it set higher than having that persons infected computer trying to do damage to the site or harvesting email addresses to spam.

      Looking through my stats I have not seen any kind of significant drop in traffic to the sites I use Cloudflare on. There has been a significant drop in hacking attempts on the sites and I would rather have that extra layer of protection even if the risk is to annoy the occasional visitir.

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