When I first heard about Cloudflare years back, I was like why the heck I need to use it. My site is loading fine and more over I read too many issues back then. Last year, after WPEngine hosting started charging my site for extra visits, I started using Cloudflare to get rid of unwanted bots and spam visits. That’s how I started with Cloudflare and after using it for months, I’m so positive about this free service that I recommend to all the readers of ShoutMeLoud.
If you are not using Cloudflare or have never heard about it, this guide for anyone who don’t have technical skills to understand and make most out of it. So, lets get started with this detailed tutorial and learn everything about Cloudflare.
What is Cloudflare and how does it work?
To explain Cloudflare: Let’s understand how Internet works. For example lets say there is a website ShoutMeLoud.com which is hosted on a web-server with I.P “126.96.36.199”. Now, when you type ShoutMeLoud.com in your browser, your browser sends a request to DNS and get the result “188.8.131.52”, and that’s how you are able to access the site.
When you setup CloudFlare, you add Cloudflare Name-server to your domain and now Cloudflare starts filtering (Bad bots, hack attempt) all the request coming to your website. There are few more things involved in between, but in short all the traffic which comes to your website, goes through Cloudflare and it blocks any spam or illegal access, thus protecting your website all the time.
Do remember, when you integrate Cloudflare with your website, nothing in terms of technology changes, only the traffic coming to your website is filtered. Here is an image which explains your website with and without Cloud Flare:
Now I recommend every one of you to start using Cloudflare as it’s free to use and you can always upgrade to paid plans (If you require). Here I’m sharing benefits of using Cloudflare which should compel you to use it right away.
Benefits of Using Cloudflare Network:
It stops attacks such as Brute-force and hacking attempt:
Cloudflare filters out most of the spam attacks at the Name-server level and such requests doesn’t even hit your server. It protect your website from DDOS attack, SQL injection, comment spam. This provide a secure environment to your website.
In the past many users have complained that their readers were unable to access the site after using Cloudflare and that is because; they have selected security level to be medium or high. I would recommend to keep it low to ensure visitors from all part of the world will be able to access the site and doesn’t have to face the issue. You can learn more about Cloudflare security here.
While changing hosting, no need to wait for DNS propogation:
This is one benefit which I learned when I was moving from WPEngine to Cloudways hosting. When you are using Cloudflare, you don’t have to wait for DNS propagation to happen. All you need to do is, change the I.P address of server from your Cloudflare Dashboard, and your domain name will start pointing to new host immidiately.
One of the major benefit of CloudFlare is free CDN. It’s easy to integrate and it doesn’t change your image URL or show URL such as cdn.domain.com. I have been using Cloudflare CDN for almost 8 months now, and never had any performance or SEO related issue. Infact after using it for ShoutMeLoud, now all my sites are Cloudflare CDN enabled. Cloudflare caches your static file (CSS, JS, Images) and serves it from the nearest location. In this Network map you can see where all CloudFlare servers are. If you are not sure what CDN is: Read about CDN (Content delivery network) here.
Using Cloudflare CDN will increase your site performance by almost 50% and also your site will load way faster than it is now.
Save server bandwidth:
A majority of web hosting in today’s date offers unlimited bandwidth but there are many like WPEngine which changes based on hits. Cloud flare filters out spam bots traffic and you save a lot on your bandwidth. From the above image you can see I have saved 375.6 GB for ShoutMeLoud in past few months.
Important things to know:
When you are making any theme changes on your site (When Cloudflare is enabled), you need to purge Cloudflare cache under settings and enable Development mode. WordPress users can use plugin call Sunny, using it you can purge cache manually or it automatically purge cache when you publishes a new blog post.
After using Cloudflare for almost 8 months, I highly recommend you to use it. This may sounds a bit technical initially to setup Cloudflare (Watch below video), but it’s fairly simple. More over it works perfectly with any cache plugin which you have enabled on your blog and so far I haven’t seen any issue with CloudFlare. For your information, I’m on their free plan. Watch below video to learn setting up Cloudflare for your Website:
Make sure you check your website loading time before and after setting up Cloudflare to see the performance difference yourself. If you are using Cloudflare and knows any major advantage, do let us know via comments. Don’t forget to share this articles with others on Facebook and your community.