What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare is an online web security provider which can speed up and accelerate as well as secure your website, free of cost. It functions as a proxy between the visitors of your website and the Hoasted.com servers. CloudFlare also reduces the average time taken to load your web pages, save the bandwidth used up by using distributed domain name server services and keeps out malicious visitors from spamming your site.
How Does It Work?
Once you buy the services of CloudFlare, it is enabled and authorized as the authoritative or primary name server. This will allow CloudFlare to have an uninterrupted server route and helps clean up and boost your site traffic.
CloudFlare has 23 data centers globally, and uses network routing technology to provide its services. Some of its functions are:
1. Fastest possible connection– The global network from CloudFlare is able to direct the customers to the nearest data center which results in faster webpage loading, irrespective of where your visitors are located geographically.
2. Filter malicious visitors– CloudFlare can detect malicious users or visitors based on their IP addresses. Malicious users usually are a threat to the site and they often require or request huge amount of data which is many times, unnecessary, and are of a huge payload. The frequency of these requests is also analyzed and such users are blocked. This clears up traffic on the site and genuine users are able to quickly access resources.
3. Static content cache – Static content on your site like Java script, images, CSS content etc (excluding HTML) are cached. This cache stash is refreshed and updated regularly and users are provided with it whenever requested from the nearest data center at high speeds. There are premium routes available for non-cacheable data to be routed just as fast, for users who want to avail such services.
4. Web content optimization – All users, regardless of premium or normal, can make use of the Rocket Loader technology that is included in the plans provided by CloudFlare. This assists the website to process requests for third party apps, widgets and tags in a more efficient manner. Rocket Loader also ensures that the content of your pages are not blocked from loading by any scripts, by bunching all the requests into a single one and then loading them in a sequential manner.
Advantages of CloudFlare
The advantages attributed to using CloudFlare services are-
- Enhanced Website Performance – Using the proxy servers that are distributed globally, and effectively being close to all the visitors of your page, CloudFlare speeds up page loading time to a higher level since the cached content from the data centers are delivered from the closest data center rather than being retrieved directly from the servers.
- Mobile Device Optimization – Technologies like Rocket Loader, AutoMinify etc collaborate to improve page loading and content deliverance as efficient and fast as possible regardless of the type of device being used to surf your site.
- Bot and Threat Protection – Online malicious threats are eliminated and attacks are stopped before they can take shape. This is possible since CloudFlare extracts data from its own community and also makes use of other third party applications and resources to identify them. You can see the stopped and eliminated threats to your site by accessing the CloudFlare dashboard.
- Spam Comments Protection– Spamming and phishing is also taken care of and spam comments from malicious users are blocked.
- Alerting Visitors of Infected Computers – This is a very good functionality wherein users with viruses or malware in their computer, trying to access your site, are warned of their systems being infected. Users can hence clean up their systems and then gain access to your site by entering a CAPTCHA code.
- Offline Browsing Mode – In the case of Hoasted.com servers being taken offline for some reason, users can still have access to the content on your website by retrieving the content from CloudFlare’s data center cache storage.
- Lower Resource Usage – Since you are using CloudFlare’s services in addition to Hoasted.com ones, the overall account CPU usage is brought down considerably. Even otherwise, when traffic is at an all time high, CloudFlare servers have the ability to absorb the requests.
- New Site Stats – CloudFlare gives you statistics of traffic routed to your site, search engine crawlers and legitimate threats.
Limitations of CloudFlare
There are also certain limitations to enabling CloudFlare on your website-
- Because of CloudFlare’s cache storage feature, the stress and traffic load on the server is lessened. But the downside is that when you make any changes such as updating the site or replacing static files like images, it will take quite a while before the CloudFlare’s cache storage is updated in the data centers. To remedy this, put CloudFlare in Development Mode in order to update the changes made immediately.