What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare Inc., the world’s leading web performance and security provider, helps to create a better Internet. Cloudflare Inc. is the largest network in the world, with more than 100 data centres. It powers over 10 trillion requests each month. This represents nearly 10% of all Internet requests and has an impact on more than 2.5 billion people worldwide.
Do you want a global CDN, DNS, and DDoS protection provider that will speed up or protect any website online?
CloudFlare is a globally available content delivery network with security features built into each layer. It regularly clocks at lightning-fast speeds. which combines web security with performance enhancement into a CDN, is a relatively new concept. There are not many products that offer both these features. CloudFlare protects your website from security threats and speeds it up.
CloudFlare claims that a website with CloudFlare loads twice the speed, consumes 60% less bandwidth, handles 65% fewer requests, and is safer.
CloudFlare’s cheapest CDN Plan is $0.00 per Month (i.e. Free! CloudFlare has made over 2 million websites around the world faster and safer. Register today.
CloudFlare is a web security company that was established by Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn in 2009. CloudFlare was originally created to prevent spammers from harvesting email addresses from websites. However, the company’s main focus has shifted to providing web security solutions since 2009.
CloudFlare founders discovered that slow site performance was due to security software. The development team was inspired to discover ways to improve site performance and still provide solid Internet protection.
This is how CloudFlare, the Content Delivery Network, site caching and web security service, was created.
What does Cloudflare do?
CloudFlare offers a range of products to optimize website speed and security. Their CDN (content delivery network) is the focus of this review. It’s designed to speed up site loading times by serving as an intermediary between visitors and site servers. Security benefits are also offered by the CDN.
Do you need web hosting?
If you are looking for a web host provider that will meet your needs, make sure to read our reviews, our A/Z hosting guide, and our top three hosting choices.
How a CDN speeds up your site delivery
Your site is stored in multiple datacenters around the world. Visitors are served from the closest location to your site. The company currently has over 150 data centers worldwide.
CloudFlare uses a proprietary technology called Anycast that routes your visitors to the closest datacenter from their current location. Your cached website will open twice as fast as the average load speed. CloudFlare also optimizes website speed for users on an IPv6 network, even if you are still using the old IPv4 infrastructure.
Additional security benefits will be available.
CloudFlare provides site caching and CDN optimization services. It also blocks threats to your website that could compromise it or waste bandwidth.
This software provides a variety of security features to protect websites from security threats like SQL injections, spamming and DDoS attacks.
Free vs. Paid Plans
CloudFlare has a variety of pricing plans. Users will be pleased to learn that there is a free version as well as a paid plan. The free plan includes full access to the global CDN and a wide range of security features. It also offers SSL encryption, powerful statistics reports on site traffic, and a wide variety of other security features. It does have some limitations, such as weekly site crawls and an activation period. Analytics updates take effect after 24 hours.
CloudFlare’s paid plans, which include Pro, Business, Enterprise, and Enterprise, offer better site protection, frequent site crawling, mobile optimization, DDoS protection, and site protection.
CloudFlare recommends the paid entry-level plan for professional websites, even though the free plan provides basic protection.
In certain situations, you might need the paid plan. Below we list the benefits of the free plan.
- Unmetered mitigation of DDoS
- Global CDN
- Secure SSL Certificate for Shared Use
- I’m Under Attack(tm) mode
- Cloudflare Apps Access
- Audit Logs for Accounts
- CloudFlare rulesets for web application firewall (WAF).
- You can upload your custom shared SSL to the higher end plans
- Only top-tier plans have 24/7 support
Cloudflare is so easy to set up and use.
CloudFlare is easy to set-up if you have a self-hosted site. It takes just a few minutes to enable the service on your website.
You’ll get a wizard
CloudFlare’s Wizard setup takes care of every step. CloudFlare’s Wizard setup takes care of everything step-by-step.
How do I set up Cloudflare
Here are the steps to get CloudFlare set up on your website
- Register on the CloudFlare Website
- To create an account, enter your email address.
- Enter your domain name and click Add Site
- CloudFlare scans your domain’s DNS records within a matter of minutes
- After the scan is complete click Next
- Select the best plan for your small business website
- You can view a list of all DNS records and select the domains you wish to enable CloudFlare.
- CloudFlare nameservers will be sent to your domain.
- Go to your domain registrar to update your nameservers with CloudFlare domain server servers.
- To verify that CloudFlare’s Universal SSL Records have been set up for your domain, log back into your CloudFlare Account
- Your account is ready and will be updated in 72 hours. During this time, your site will not experience any downtime.
CloudFlare allows you to track traffic statistics on your website after it is set up. Analytics data are updated approximately every 24 hours on the free plan, and every 15 minutes if you opt for a paid version. CloudFlare’s intuitive interface can be customized for premium plans.
CloudFlare has many security features that can help protect your website visitors and website. The Reputation Risk Module blocks malicious attacks by identifying IP addresses.
CloudFlare offers the ability to block IP address by country or range. This allows you to protect yourself from known threats.
CloudFlare protects against content skimming so you don’t need to worry about bots crawling and harvesting email addresses. Additional security features include SSL encryption and HTTP/2, as well as protection from DDoS attacks and SQL injections.
Upgraded Security Features Available on Higher Tier Plans
Advanced security features are available for higher tier plans. If you are on Pro the plan or higher, your site will be protected by a Web Application Firewall as well as the OWASP ModSecurity core rule set. Business and Enterprise plans also receive advanced layer 3, 4, and 7 DDoS protection.
What kind of help and support does Cloudflare offer?
CloudFlare provides phone and email support for customers who need technical assistance. You won’t need to contact support because CloudFlare has a comprehensive help center.
You will find video tutorials, troubleshooting guides and searchable knowledgebase articles to help you with your most frequently asked questions.
CloudFlare’s Community section provides updated information on the company and product. You can read blog posts and developer news to get more information.
What are the CloudFlare Pros & Cons?
CloudFlare offers a great free service, but it has its limitations.
- CloudFlare offers more than just speed optimization. It also provides security features that will protect your site from malicious attacks.
- Pre-loader allows you to pre-cache most popular pages, making load times faster.
- CloudFlare will notify you if Google Analytics isn’t working correctly.
- The software monitors site traffic and generates analytics data that will help you understand how CloudFlare and your site are performing.
- Both the setup process and the user interface are intuitive.
- CloudFlare’s Always Online service and CDN continue to serve a cached copy of your website, even if your main server is down.
- CloudFlare offers a free trial that allows you to test its basic features.
- Only the paid plans have advanced security features.
- The propagation and updating of analytics data takes 24-hours for the free version. CloudFlare can only crawl the site update cached versions of your site once per week if you’re on the free plan.
- Analytics and statistics are not perfect, but they are better than nothing. CloudFlare can be integrated with Google Analytics to produce more detailed statistics reports.
Web security with performance enhancement into a CDN, is a relatively new concept. There aren’t many products offering both of these features. CloudFlare speeds your website up and protects it against security threats. Although it has some cons, this service is still an excellent option and a much cheaper alternative to MaxCDN.
Comparison Table of CloudFlare CDN Pricing
This is a concise overview of the plan differences. There are additional features available for the Enterprise plan. Contact Cloudflare for more information.
|Feature||FREE PLAN||PRO PLAN||BUSINESS PLAN||ENTERPRISE|
|Unmetered Mitigation of DDoS||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|SSL||Shared SSL certificate||Shared SSL certificate||Custom SSL certificate upload||Keyless SSL|
|Page Rules||3 Page Rules||20 Page Rules||50 page rules||100 page rules|
|Web application firewall||—||✔||✔ and 25 custom rulesets||✔ and unlimited custom rulesets|
|Polish Image optimization||—||✔||✔||✔|
|Mirage mobile acceleration||—||✔||✔||✔|
|“I’m under attack” mode||—||—||✔||✔|
|PCI DSS 3.2 compliance||—||—||✔||✔|
|Enterprise rate limiting||—||—||—||✔|
|Argo smart routing||—||—||—||✔|
|China CDN access||—||—||—||✔|
|Emergency support hotline||—||—||—||✔|