At a time when your fast-loading web pages and websites rank high on search engines, a time when page speed – especially mobile loading site speed, is used a ranking factor by search engines, you have to invest in the best Content Delivery Network (CDN).
CDNs increase website/ page loading speeds between servers and websites and to online users by keeping copies of static web content enhancing the speed of content delivery.
CloudFlare is one of the best CDNs. Below, we look at the top reasons for using CloudFlare.
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What is CloudFlare?
Cloudflare refers to a content delivery network which acts as an intermediate layer between a web host (hosting server) and the person browsing your site (your domain name).
It is a huge network of data centers sitting pretty between a web server and the rest of the internet. Cloudflare is part of Google’s Cloud Platform CDN Interconnect program along with Level3, Fastly, EdgeCast, Highwinds, and Akamai.
While Cloudflare works to increase your website’s loading speed, it is different from most other CDNs in that: while ordinary CDNs work by mirroring an entire site from a domain, subfolder, or subdomain, Cloudflare speeds up page speeds by serving up cached static content to site visitors.
Now, even though Cloudflare is best known for its role in content delivery, one of its biggest function is to protect your site from threats, malicious attacks, or abusive crawlers and bots.
Cloudflare screens your visitors to ensure the expected traffic is safe.
For these reasons, Cloudflare is an application that you need to accelerate your website and to secure it. By working like a CDN, it enhances the speed of content delivery.
How does the Cloudflare system work?
When someone types a domain name on their browser, their computer sends a query to the Domain Name Server system then it gets back the IP address of the web hosting server.
Cloudflare comes in to replace software and hardware necessary for efficient content delivery.
In this case, the Cloudflare team will assign two Cloudflare nameservers which will act as the authoritative nameservers specific for your domain.
These actions will not change your website or your web host. However, since you have Cloudflare as your authoritative nameserver, your web traffic is accelerated and cleaned up.
All these actions are made possible by Anycast, a network technology that routes the initial DNS lookups for domain names to certain Cloudflare data centers.
Thanks to the network technology, the Cloudflare data center will receive request query returns as Cloudflare IP address and not the IP address of your web server.
So, all content requests by visitors go to the Cloudflare data center.
Reasons Why You Should Use Cloudflare
Stops Hacking and other attacks
Cloudflare is set up in a way that results in rapid and effective filtering of spam attacks. The spam attacks protection takes place at the entry/ nameserver level which means that the attacks will not reach the servers.
It also protects your website from SQL Injection, DDoS attacks, and comment spamming.
The mitigation of DDoS attacks is essential because it prevents malicious traffic which could even crash your website or dampen your website’s performance.
You might also like Cloudflare because of its capacity to prevent the breach of data on your customers as well as the data-theft protection feature.
This network solution further blocks any abusive bots from accessing and damaging your website via fraudulent checkouts, content scrapping or even account control/ takeover.
All these security capabilities come from Cloudflare’s big number of data centers (currently 165) based on the Anycast network.
This network boasts a 25Tbps-capacity to defend against large-scale attacks. The network can handle attacks up to 15X bigger than the biggest DDoS attack which has been recorded in history.
And, by observing at least 300billion request every day – only 10 percent of HTTP traffic across the world, Cloudflare effortlessly and proactively protects against threats. It also learns from the attacks that target the 12 million domains present in its network.
Here is a detailed look at the security measures or options provided by Cloudflare. Some of these features are only present in the high tier Cloudflare plans.
Its Reputation threat module identifies IP addresses and blocks malicious attacks. It can also block IP addresses to prevent an attack.
Protection from DDoS attacks:
DDoS attacks are the attacks whose objective is to make an online service or a website unavailable.
Often, these attacks target specific websites in a network of computers.
The network is called a botnet. A Botnet represents the network of computers that is used to undertake a DDoS attack. In most cases, the computers used as botnets are used in attacks without the knowledge of the owner.
The owners are recruited through malware installations.
Protection to Heartbleed vulnerabilities: a heartbleed bug is a form of vulnerability that was discovered back in 2014.
The bug affects the SSL cryptographic software library resulting in thieves accessing encrypted and protected information.
On the SSL bit of security, you might also like Cloudflare because it provides secure SSL certificates to all its users.
While offering the highest level of security to web servers and websites, Cloudflare also enhances website performance. For this, Cloudflare works with both static and dynamic content.
You also get to choose the subdomains that you want to be part of the Cloudflare CDN and the ones that you don’t.
With its easy integration and the fact that it will not change your URL even when working as an authoritative nameserver, Cloudflare is easily a must-have CDN.
Anycast routes site visitors to the data center nearest their browsing location. The result is data caching and increased loading times.
The increase in page speed also comes from Cloudflare’s ability to optimize your site for the visitors who are on the IPv6 network.
This optimization works even if servers are based on the traditional IPv4 infrastructure.
No propagation delays
When integrating Cloudflare into your website, your hosting information remains the same which means that you don’t have to worry about waiting for up to 72 hours for the changes to be effectuated.
It is also easily activated on the cPanel.
Reduces web hosting costs by saving on the server bandwidth
Although most web hosts offer unlimited bandwidth in their hosting packages, you know that the bandwidth is not that unlimited.
Since you don’t want to learn that the hard way when your site crashes from a traffic spike, you might want to make Cloudflare your partner in business.
It will save on bandwidth by filtering out spammy traffic and traffic from the spambots.
Cloudflare also reduces costs by offering a simpler way of enabling the hotlink protection (preventing HTTP referrers and others from embedding any of your assets).
In the world today, the success of your website, blog or e-commerce site depends on a host of features including loading speeds, bounce rates, and stay time.
But, thanks to CDNs, it is possible to reduce your website’s bounce rates, boost conversion rates, increase stay time, and boost your visitor’s experience.
According to Kissmetrics, even a –second delay in your page response could result in a 7 percent drop in your website’s conversion rates.
And DoubleClick reports that up to 5 percent of mobile visitors abandon slow-loading sites after seconds. However, the use of a CDN will reduce this significantly.
In WordPress sites, for example, then boost in performance comes in various ways including:
- Reduction in TTFB (time to first byte): the use of CDN shortens the distance traveled by data resulting in a reduction in latency. Besides latency, it will also reduce TTFB.
- Enhanced content delivery times from caching.
- HTTP/2: this also results in a boost in performance by enabling even better multiplexing, HPACK compression using Huffman encoding, parallelism, server push, and even ALPN extension.
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With Google making page speed a ranking factor, Cloudflare is an invaluable application that boosts your page speed, enhancing user experience.
Finally, you might want to invest in Cloudflare because of its reliability. The reliability is seen in Cloudflare’s huge market base, as well as its ability to resolve up to 60 billion queries every day.
It is used by at least 12 million websites which include top government agencies, e-commerce sites and business enterprises.