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September 2020

Why we use Cloudflare

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What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is essentially a Content Delivery Network (CDN).  The core function of Cloudflare is to help small to large businesses secure their online assets and make them faster.  It was set up in 2009 with the original aim of finding the source of email spam and eliminating it.  Over the years it has evolved and now provides DNS and security services to millions of customers. Today, it is one of the largest cloud network platforms and is trusted by over 12 million domains.  Furthermore, it handles around 10% of all internet traffic. We look at how it works and the main benefits of using Cloudflare for your business.

How does it work?

CDNs provide a global network of edge servers.  For sites that serve customers around the world, the network allows the content to be served up much quicker.  If a user visits the site, but is located in another country or even continent from the server then they will experience slow page load times.  With a CDN, the request is directed to the nearest possible server speeding up the content.  Ensuring the least amount of distance between a visitor and a website results in reduced latency, bandwidth and page load times.  Essentially, this means that Cloudflare-powered websites can work faster while remaining secure. 

Similarly, Cloudlfare also provide DNS (Domain Name Server).  DNS is the phonebook of the Internet, it translates a domain name such as wirebox.co.uk to an IP of the server.  This means the browser can download the site quicker.  Having a CDN in front of your website will also mean it can process large volumes of traffic, reducing the risk of the website crashing at peak or high traffic times.

5 Benefits of using Cloudflare

  1. Faster DNS  With a faster DNS, implementing Cloudflare is an easy way to speed up your site.  Speed has long been considered a ranking factor for Google’s algorithm so a faster site will help with search rankings and SEO.  It will also mean that users are being served content quickly from wherever they are in the world.  
  1. Minification  Characters such as whitespaces, comments, newline characters and block delimiters are not needed for a web page to serve.  By eliminating these unnecessary characters, the file size is reduced allowing the page to load faster.  Cloudflare supports three file types of minification: Javascript, CSS and HTML.
  1. Free SSL  Cloudflare offer free SSL’s, which are recommended for all websites.  SSL’s encrypt data from the user’s computer to your server. This is essential on sites that send or receive data or take payments.  In addition, Google announced that they would flag sites without HTTPS as “not secure.”
  1. Browser Caching  By storing web page files, browser caching  further increases page load times for repeat site visitors as requests are loaded from the local cache.  Cloudflare can handle this with the need for any other third party cache plugins.
  1. Enhanced Security  Cloudflare’s security features are highly regarded and will protect your site.  It will automatically block threats such as data breaches, bot attacks and DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks.  As well as providing high level security, this will ensure that disruption and downtime to your site are minimised.

How to get Cloudflare

Every day around 10,000 new customers sign up to Cloudflare.  If you want to join them, the great news is that Cloudlare offer a free package with a decent service for smaller sites.  Depending on requirements there are also paid plans which provide much more advanced security features and options.  Take a look at the Cloudflare plans available.  If you do decide to take out or try a plan, it is pretty easy to get set up too.  Most of the main web hosting providers and Cloudflare options.

Summary

If you are looking to optimize your site for speed and safety without compromising on performance then Cloudflare is definitely worth considering and trialling on a free plan.  It is popular and easy to integrate for WordPress sites, E-comm sites and blogs.  Implementing Cloudflare is one of the quickest and easiest ways to speed up and secure your site. The benefits of integrating Cloudflare are clear.  We have used it for a number of years and have been impressed with its features and how it enhances and protects our own and our clients’ sites.

We help lots of businesses to get started with Cloudflare, so if you would like to talk to us about Cloudflare, or other ways to boost your site performance, then get in touch with our experts for a friendly chat on 0207 993 5485.

For more tips on speed for your site, check out our blog, Top 10 ways to improve website speed.

We help lots of businesses to get started with Cloudfare, so if you would like to talk to us about Cloudflare, or other ways to boost your site performance, then get in touch with our experts for a friendly chat on 0207 993 5485

By Caroline September 2020

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