Are you after a free global CDN, DNS, DDoS protection and web security provider that can speed up and protect any site online.
CloudFlare operates a highly-available global content delivery network that has security measures built into every layer and regularly clocks in lightning-fast speeds.
The concept of combining web security and performance enhancing into a CDN is relatively new and there aren’t many products that offer both of these features. CloudFlare speeds up your website and protects it from security threats.
According to CloudFlare, on average a website using CloudFlare loads twice as fast, uses 60% less bandwidth, has 65% fewer requests and is more secure.
CloudFlare’s cheapest CDN plan is 0.00 per month (i.e. free!). CloudFlare has so far made more than 2 million websites across the globe faster and safer. Join today.
CloudFlare was founded by Matthew Prince, Michelle Zatlyn and Lee Holloway in 2009. Although CloudFlare started as a project designed to stop spammers from harvesting email addresses on websites, in 2009, the company’s focus shifted towards providing web security solutions.
With time, CloudFlare founders realized that security software was one of the factors behind slow site performance. This prompted the development team to find ways of improving site performance while at the same time offering solid Internet protection.
This is how the Content Delivery Network, site caching, and web security service that we now know as CloudFlare was born.
CloudFlare is essentially a content delivery network designed to optimize page load times by acting as an intermediary between site servers and visitors. At the time of writing, the company reports of operating 76 data centers around the world.
CloudFlare uses proprietary technology known as Anycast to route your visitors to the nearest data center from their current location. This in turn causes your cached website to open twice as fast the average load time. As an added bonus, CloudFlare optimizes site speed for visitors on an IPv6 network even if your server environment is still on the old IPv4 infrastructure.
Besides providing CDN optimization and site caching services, CloudFlare also blocks threats that might compromise your website or waste bandwidth and other server resources. The software offers a host of security features that protect websites against security threats such as SQL injections, spamming, and DDoS attacks.
When it comes to pricing, users should be glad to know that CloudFlare offers both a free version and several paid plans. The free plan offers full access to the global CDN, a broad range of security features, SSL encryption and powerful statistic reports about site traffic. However, it has a few caveats such as weekly site crawls, as well as an activation period and analytics updates that take effect after 24-hours.
On the other hand, CloudFlare’s paid plans, namely Pro, Business and Enterprise, feature better site protection, more frequent site crawling, mobile optimization, and DDoS protection.
Setup and Ease of Use
CloudFlare is very easy to set up as long as you have a self-hosted website. Enabling the service on your website simply involves making a few changes to your domain’s DNS settings, a process that takes less than 5 minutes.
CloudFlare’s Wizard set-up takes care of everything step-by-step. So, there’s no need to change your site’s existing code or make any hardware and software installations.
After setting up CloudFlare, you can start to monitor traffic statistics for your website. Analytics data is usually updated every 24 hours on the free plan and at 15-minute intervals if you choose to go with one of the paid versions. CloudFlare offers an intuitive interface that can also be customized if you’re on the premium plans.
When it comes to protecting your website and visitors, CloudFlare offers quite a bit of security features. For starters, the Reputation Threat module blocks malicious threats by identifying IP addresses. CloudFlare also offers the ability to block IP addresses by range or country. This helps to keep already known threats at bay.
You don’t have to worry about bots crawling your website and harvesting email addresses because CloudFlare provides protection against content scraping. Other standard security features include SSL encryption, HTTP/2 as well as protection against DDoS attacks, SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and comment spamming.
Higher tier plans provide advanced security features. For instance, if you’re on Pro the plan and above, your site will benefit from a Web Application Firewall and OWASP ModSecurity Core rule set. In addition, Business and Enterprise plans receive advanced layer 3, 4 and 7 DDoS protection.
Help and Support
If you ever need to contact customer service for technical assistance, CloudFlare offers both phone and email support. However, chances are that you won’t have to contact the support team thanks to CloudFlare’s comprehensive help center. The help center comes replete with video tutorials, troubleshooting guides, and searchable knowledge base articles that provide answers to frequently asked questions. If you want updated information about the product and company, you can also visit CloudFlare’s Community section to read blog posts and developer news.
» In addition to optimizing site speed, CloudFlare also offers security features to protect your website from threats.
» The pre-loader can pre-cache your most popular pages to make load times much faster.
» CloudFlare notifies you if Google Analytics is not working properly.
» The software tracks site traffic and generates analytics data to help you know how well your site and CloudFlare are doing.
» The setup process and user interface are both intuitive.
» CloudFlare’s Always Online feature and CDN continues to serve a cached version of your website even if the main server goes down.
» There is a free version that lets you test CloudFlare’s basic features.
» Advanced security features are only available on the paid plans.
» The free version takes 24-hours to propagate and update analytics data. In addition, CloudFlare will only crawl your site update cached versions once a week if you are on the free plan.
» Stats and analytics are limited but still better than nothing. On the plus side, you can integrate Google analytics with CloudFlare to provide more detailed statistics reports.
The concept of combining web security and performance enhancing into a CDN is relatively new and there aren’t many products that offer both of these features. CloudFlare speeds up your website and protects it from security threats. While it may have a few cons as described above, this service is still a great option and even a cheaper than MaxCDN.
Overall, CloudFlare is worth trying if you need to optimize page load times on a content delivery network that does not comprise your website’s security or cost you a fortune.
CloudFlare plans & prices
CloudFlare uses a different pricing structure compared to other CDN’s. CloudFlare doesn’t charge you for using its CDN, while other CDN’s pricing plans are based on how much bandwidth your website uses. CloudFlare offers four plan types; free, pro, business, and enterprise.
For more information and latest and most up to date prices visit CloudFlare’s website.
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Best CloudFlare alternatives
People share their opinions about companies on Twitter each and every day. We monitor tweets about CloudFlare and apply a sentiment analysis algorithm that classifies these tweets as positive or negative. Every review is from a real person opinion. We use this information and output an approval rating score, which is based on real people, positive and negative, opinions about CloudFlare on Twitter
CloudFlare Review on Twitter
CloudFlare vs Competitor Ratings
Marius Masalar (@mostlymarius)
@pokeefe363 @wp_rocket @cloudflare Depends a lot on the site. Their support is amazing though, just shoot them a note and ask :)
Mark Law (@morktron)
Wow unbelievable #sitespeedoptimization using @wp_rocket and @CloudFlare ! :)
Ben Brockert (@wikkit)
I had no particular awareness of the pervasiveness of @CloudFlare until it decided it didn't like my VPN and started putting up CAPTCHAs.
Jonathan Ashkenazi (@YAshkenazi)
@UprisingServer @jdlemme @CloudFlare I would love to offer @Incapsula_com help. Gartner sole leader for WAF & top Layer 7 #DDoS protection.
Nicolai Schlenzig (@nicolai_s)
@CloudFlare https://t.co/HUOyJbMrUz says up - but your own page is down? :( https://t.co/aGBVVync8w
Brian gisairo (@jgisairo)
I wish I knew this earlier, use @CloudFlare DNS service, quickest worldwide dns updates I have ever seen!
Uprising Servers (@UprisingServer)
@jdlemme @CloudFlare this does not look like it will help us as it's geared towards websites not servers running games. .. :(
John B. Roberts (@pencoyd)
@serverdensity would be interested in seeing @CloudFlare included in CloudStatusApp...how can I help?
Jon Kuperman (@jkup)
@CloudFlare @kentcdodds I was totally wrong on this! @xxdesmus already schooled me in the ways :)
Larry King (@laking44)
@kentcdodds @CloudFlare works very well for me. Good luck.
Matt Holt (@mholt6)
Dear @CloudFlare, please do not close my account just because I have a secondary DNS provider. :(