CLOUDFLARE is a USA-based platform that is designed to improve your website performance and keep it more secure. Easy to set up and becoming increasingly popular with businesses across the globe, it is backed by large corporations such as Microsoft and Google.
Cloudflare is defined as a Content Delivery Network or CDN which is basically the system for getting your website to users who want to view your site. The system focuses on creating the infrastructure which means your site downloads more efficiently whoever is viewing it and wherever they are.
Cloudflare is a lot more than that, however, with strong security measures and tools that help improve SEO.
It does all this by:
* Reducing content such as white space so that pages download quicker for users. For example, if you have plenty of images on your site, Cloudflare Polish can reduce file size and improve download speed.
* It uses the new HTTP/2 protocol which is twice as fast as the previous incarnation.
* It provides SSL for higher security on all websites. It also adds DNS security to your website.
* It protects you from vulnerabilities with a cloud WAF (Web Application Firewall).
* It utilises browser cache to improve repeat downloads rather than repeating requests at the server end which can slow content download.
* It uses load balancing so that your website is distributed across different servers, reducing the risk of downtime and increasing speeds in the process.
For businesses this all means a number of things that are becoming increasingly important in a competitive and largely online driven environment.
For a start, sites with Cloudflare load at least twice as fast. Most savvy businesses know that download speed is vital. Customers expect to click on a link and for the content to appear immediately. If your site takes even a few seconds to download, users are likely to get frustrated and head elsewhere. Sites that operate through a CDN like Cloudflare also use less bandwidth, have 60% fewer requests and get an added layer of security protection that other servers don't currently provide.
Cloudflare products and solutions are encapsulated by four tenets:
With a global CDN, web optimisation and a fast DNS, as well as new systems like Argo, which routes users through less congested paths, Cloudflare prides itself on 'supercharging' performance for their clients.
2. Website Security
This is key for any business, particularly when it means protecting against denial of service attacks (DoS). The company says it has the best security in the business and it's systems don't impact on performance.
What users also want is for their server system to be reliable. They don't want it cutting out and incurring substantial downtime. Cloudflare has the capacity to handle 60 billion DNS queries a day - and is continuing to grow.
One area that you often don't get with other CDNs is a deep insight into threats and web crawlers. You get this with Cloudflare, including a range of analytics and audit logs which can be actioned upon from the central consol.
Impressed? You should be! And now you're sitting there thinking Cloudflare sounds amazing and expensive... the free Cloudflare services are more than adequate for most SMEs. Essentially this CDN protects your site, speeds it up and is free - no catch. We have utilised Cloudflare for our own and certain client sites for two years, and we highly recommended it!