Every entrepreneur could benefit from the enhanced speed, security, and performance of their website delivered by Cloudflare. The What is Cloudflare? question gets in the way of understanding the capacity a website can acquire? Put all fretting aside. In this article, we aim to equip you with the knowledge necessary to understand what the service is, what benefits it has as well as how to get started with Cloudflare.
What is Cloudflare really?
Cloudflare is known for being a content delivery network (CDN). Cloudflare has a worldwide infrastructure with multiple servers (data centers) located across 200 cities. These servers serve web content such as images, websites, videos, and much more. As many as 25 million internet properties use Cloudflare according to the estimation provided by Cloudflare themselves. Businesses, bloggers, developers, and anyone in the world can enjoy the performance, security, and faster websites due to Cloudflare.
Let’s dive deeper to see how Cloudflare CDN works.
How does the Cloudflare CDN work?
Back then when the user needed to load a website, the request would be sent from the user’s computer to the server. The server would process the request and send the website page the user had requested.
However, if the server received many requests at once from different users looking for the same page, the server was unable to respond and show the page requested.
That’s where Cloudflare came in. With a powerful edge network, Cloudflare was able to store content as close as possible to the user’s machine and serve the content whenever needed.
In other words, to avoid high loads on the origin server, there is a network of edge servers linked to the origin server. The users requesting a certain web page can be located in different parts of the world. Instead of sending those users to the origin server, the edge network allows one of the edge servers closer to the user’s location to pick up the request and serve the content.
‘What is Cloudflare?’ is no longer a question, is it? But what does this service do exactly to be implemented in a web project?
Caching is the process Cloudflare makes ample use of. To retrieve data faster, those data can be stored in the cache and then served and viewed upon request.
Here’s an illustration. You ask someone a question, but they don’t know the answer. The person who you asked googles the question per se to find out the answer. Now if someone else asks that person the same question, they will recollect the answer.
What’s more, now and then Cloudflare will keep its cache updated by regularly checking with a website. So whenever a visitor requests the very same website the Cloudflare CDN will deliver that updated cache to them.
Meticulous traffic filtering
Incoming traffic can be both good and bad. So a filtering system can come in handy to allow good traffic and stop the bad one. Cloudflare establishes a protection layer (filtering system) along with other security measures a website may have to protect the website from bad traffic such as bots or other nefarious intrusions.
Fast and responsive DNS network
Besides CDN, Cloudflare is popular for its high performant Domain Name System (DNS) network. Cloudflare’s DNS uses the website’s domain name (example.com) to create an IP address that consists of numbers (192.168.1.1). This IP address is necessary for the computer to communicate with the server.
For DNS records proxied to Cloudflare, Cloudflare’s IP addresses are returned in DNS queries instead of your original server IP address. This allows Cloudflare to optimize, cache, and protect all requests for your website.
The aforementioned technologies have allowed Cloudflare to take up the leading position on the market today. Cloudflare indeed stands out from the crowd due to its benefits which we highlight below.
Key benefits of Cloudflare
Cloudflare comes with several advantages that allow any site to deliver the best performance possible. Here they are.
Nefarious activity protection
If you have Cloudflare hooked to your website, it means that all traffic passes through the network. Such malicious traffic as DDoS attacks, spamming, malicious bots and much more are filtered, meaning these threats will never reach your server nor your site.
Due to caching, the Cloudflare network can ensure low latency. Visitors can load a site as close to their location as possible since there is a Cloudflare data center near them. There’s no need to wait until the site loads from the origin server, which is why the speed of loading is fast.
Decreased server load
Visitors going to the site at the same time create a heavy load on the origin server. To decrease this load, Cloudflare’s CDN steps in. The network always serves an up-to-date website’s copy. So there is no need to send those visitors to the origin server since Cloudflare intersects and successfully delivers the requested content to visitors. Thus, the load is reduced and more traffic can come in.
Everyone should care for a secure connection that is established through an SSL certificate. With Cloudflare, the universal SSL certificate comes by default. There’s no need to worry about how to set SSL up since Cloudflare takes that upon its shoulders no matter what web server and domain the client has. More than that, there’s a chance to set up a self-signed certificate upon the one Cloudflare provides.
How to start using Cloudflare
It should be easy to set up a Cloudflare account if you follow the instruction on the official Cloudflare website. It usually takes 5 minutes. All you need to do is add the domain to the newly created account and change the name servers to those of Cloudflare. Now, instead of going to the origin server, anyone trying to interact with your site will first interact with the Cloudflare network.
We care about your website performance so implementing Cloudflare into HostPro’s infrastructure was a strategic decision ensuring our clients receive the best service imaginable. Accelerate your website with us by using our hosting services and enjoy the seamless work of your website right away.