What is Cloudflare? Our Ultimate Guide

Introduction

In a nutshell, Cloudflare is a web service that allows you to add an SSL certificate, DDOS protection, Caching and other goodies to protect and speed up your website, for free. It’s good practice to have a system like this in place to prevent any attacks and to make sure your website is safe and secure for visitors.

Cloudflare Logo

Cloudflare Logo

Setup

Setting up Cloudflare on your website is actually extremely simple. Signup at cloudflare.com and enter your website address, i.e. ourwebsite.com and they will automatically scan your website for any subdomains and redirects you have in place. Once this is complete you will be instructed to change your name servers on the domain to correspond with their chosen servers.

Once you have changed over your name servers you’re pretty much ready to go, then it’s just a matter of toggling what modules you want on your site and hey presto, you’ve got Cloudflare!

Support

Cloudflare Support

Cloudflare Support

Cloudflare offer support via a massive FAQ section, where you will find answers to a multitude of questions from the Cloudflare community. You will also find phone numbers and email addresses on the Cloudflare website if you would prefer to speak to someone.

CDN

Cloudflare is also a content delivery network or CDN. A CDN is used to make sure users around the world are served your website quickly. If your server is based in London and you’re accessing your site from Florida it’s going to be slower than if you accessed it from Bristol. This is where a CDN helps.

A CDN stores your website around the world in different locations to make sure that everyone gets a super fast copy of your site. Pretty nifty, huh!

DDOS?

DDOS, or a denial of service attack is a malliloucs attack in which a cluster of infected computers or zombies are all instructed to send multiple requests to your website at the same time. The aim of the attack is to render the server unusable in an attempt to take down a website or to access unauthorised data.

SSL

Cloudflare offers a free SSL certificate for all website son the system. An SSL certificate secures connections to your website and will make sure that any eavesdroppers will not be able to decipher information your customers are submitting via forms on your site.

Having an SSL certificate is now good practice for any website as this proves vital for security and also helps your site ranking as Google favours website with an SSL certificate.

Pricing

As I mentioned earlier, Cloudflare is free – but there are 2 more tiers available on the system. The Free tier includes SSL, Stats, DDOS protection and performance increases. The Pro Tier includes more speed features, mobile optimisations, realtime stats and a WAF, or Web Application Firewall. Finally, the Business tier includes 100% uptime, better DDOS protection and Railgun web optimisation.

You can definitely get away with using a free plan on your website. The free plan includes all the base features required to ensure your site is safe and secure and that your visitors data is safe. If you are looking for extra piece of mind or a business solution, the Pro and Business packages are definitely something to look at but keep in mind that there isn’t really many differences between the two packages!

Round-up

I personally feel as if all websites should be using Cloudflare or a similar service to protect their websites. Not only does Cloudflare offer fantastic security benefits but the system will also ensure your website is consistently speedy!

I use Cloudflare on all websites at Cumbria Web Solutions and am confident that they are all safe and secure at all times. The addition of monitoring tools is also a huge benefit as you can monitor sites without logging into separate accounts.

I would definitely recommend cloudflare to anyone with a website, no matter how big or small and recommend that you sign up today at cloudflare.com – you won’t regret it!