Cloudflare is a tool that can help you optimize your website and provides additional security. They use different technologies like CDN, cache, proxying, etc…

1. Security

Before performance, comes security. Keeping your website safe is vital and the easiest way to do so with the least amount of effort is Cloudflare. They provide many services to all their customers free of charge.

Security Benefits:

  • Proxy for your website
    • The most important feature for me is that cloudflare proxies all your websites. That means, they IP is from their servers and thus the IP of your server remains hidden. This means attackers don’t know how to access your ssh console, how to attack your mysql databases or how to DDoS you directly before passing the firewall from cloudflare.
  • Firewall
  • Rate Limiting
    • Cloudflare is capable of limiting the rate of login attempts to your service, although most of the time this is limited by your own software if you are using a cms. This is only an extra layer of security
  • DNS Security
    • You have the free added option to use DNSSEC that mitigates DNS request forgeries.
  • FREE SSL certificates
    • If you don’t know how to install one, they do it for you. Although it doesn’t fully protect you.

How has cloudflare helped our website?

Captura de Pantalla 2020-05-16 a la(s) 1.13.19 p.m.

This is an example of daily visitors we had. We did not run any advertisements nor had we any reason for such big spike in traffic. We enabled cloudflare one day afterwards and the amount of traffic dropped drastically, mainly because the visitors were malicious. This helped us increase resources for real visitors and reduce our costs in bandwidth, cpu usage and ram.

This is what cloudflare does resumed in an image.

Cloudflare
Source: https://rhinosecuritylabs.com/cloud-security/cloudflare-bypassing-cloud-security/

2. Optimization

I love to use cloudflare not only because of the security but also because of optimization. It reduces significantly the load times for your users.

Most important features:

  • CDN
    • Cloudflare offers a free CDN with all their products. That means that your website will be fetched from the nearest cloudflare datacenter instead of from your website.
  • Website Optimizations
    • Cloudflare offers different website optimizations that help improve your performance.
      • Caching of requests: This means not all the traffic goes to your website, reducing the load and improving speed because sometimes the data comes from CDN cache or from cloudflare. So they take the price of the bandwidth for free.
      • Bandwidth Usage: If your service provider is strict with the amount of bandwidth you are allowed to use, this service will definitely reduce the amount you use without any added cost. For us it has cached more than 50% of the traffic.
      • Auto Minifi: Cloudflare will automatically reduce the size of all your resources like .css files, html and javascript.
      • Brotli Compression: They increase the speed of https requests
      • Rocket Loader: It’s one of the best features because it helps improve the time in which a javascript loads. Although it might not be useful with all resources because not all of them are compatible.
      • Automatic Caching: Further reducing the amount of bandwidth, by default cloudflare enables browser caching. That means that chunks of your website will be stored in the browser of the visitors. This is all done automatically. Manually this can be difficult to do without experience.

3. Other functions.

  • Always Online : This will help you keep serving your visitors even when your website is down!
  • Development mode: Helps you stop the caching so you instantly see al the changes in your website without having to wait for the cache to refresh.

To learn more about cloudflare visit their website! cloudflare.com

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