CloudFlare CDN and Optimisation

CloudFlare CDN and Optimisation

CloudFlare

We are pleased to have partnered with CloudFlare to offer its innovative next-generation content-delivery and caching service which all shared and reseller hosting customers can take advantage of by enabling it directly within the cPanel control panel. Many of the features offered are absolutely free to use, including its content delivery network (CDN), content caching and malicious traffic protection.

In this article, we’ll explain just what CloudFlare is, what it does and why all kinds of websites – from static to dynamic websites and blogs – can benefit from the services CloudFlare offers that helps to ‘supercharge your website’.

It is probably a good time to try and explain what category CloudFlare fits in and what exactly the service competes with. Of course, CloudFlare competes with the likes of Amazon’s CloudFront and others – but, strictly-speaking – it isn’t just a CDN. Try to consider the CDN aspect as one of the features which CloudFlare offers – realistically, it fits in more than one category. Things like content caching, code compression and minification, and malicious traffic protection – these are not offered by other CDN providers.

Using CloudFlare

CloudFlare is surprisingly very easy to set up and use. In fact there is very little that you need to do. The service works on the network level – all you need to do is change your domain’s nameservers, and it does the rest. On set up, it automatically determines where it needs to send requests if it needs to be processed by our servers (e.g. server-side applications which you have installed – such as forums). Note that server-side applications are still served by our servers – CloudFlare will direct that traffic to our servers.

Benefits of CloudFlare

  • Accelerates your website’s speed and performance with its distributed delivery network spanning 23 data centres worldwide.

  • Compresses and minifies CSS and JavaScript, and consolidates multiple JavaScript files into single requests.

  • Caches your site’s content: This way, requests may not even need to reach our servers if CloudFlare can deliver a cached version of the page they’re trying to reach.
  • Protects your website against malicious traffic by blocking them before they reach your website. You have fine-grained control over what CloudFlare should do with any malicious traffic it detects.

Let’s take a look at each benefit in detail.

Content delivery network

Using CloudFlare brings almost immediate benefits – its content delivery network helps to reduce hops and lowers latency. Because CloudFlare has delivery points around the world, wherever your visitor is – they will experience a fast and speedy experience visiting your website.

Compression and code minification

Part of the work on making your website as speedy and responsiveness as possible is making sure your code is optimised. The CloudFlare optimiser does just that – it compresses CSS and JavaScript code as much as possible and combines multiple JavaScript files into a single request to lower the overhead of multiple network requests.

CloudFlare does this automatically without requiring you to make any software or code changes. Quite simply, the only thing you need to do is to change your domain’s nameservers – CloudFlare does the rest.

Caching of site content

It automatically determines what part of your website can be cached and what can’t, and it does this for you seamlessly. Caching allows CloudFlare to deliver the content which a visitor is requesting without ever needing to reach our servers in the first place. With content caching, many requests are handled completely on CloudFlare’s network without having to reach our servers at all.

As you can imagine, this can save you a lot of bandwidth and server resources.

Protects against malicious traffic

It sounds unbelievable but is true – CloudFlare helps to protect your website against malicious traffic, and can defend against a wide-variety of malicious attacks like SQL injections, XSS and DDOS attacks. How does it do this, you ask? CloudFlare handles millions of requests every day, and along with external sources like Spam Honeypot, has a broad view on whether traffic attempting to access a website is malicious. On default settings, CloudFlare will block most malicious traffic from even reaching your website.

CloudFlare gets more intelligent over time and learns about new threats very quickly. What types of threats does it help protect against, you ask?

  • SQL Injections
  • XSS (Cross-Site Scripting) Attacks
  • DDOS Attacks
  • Comment and post spammers

How do I get started using CloudFlare?

It’s really easy. Simply log in to your cPanel control panel and find CloudFlare which is listed under the Software/Services category. Then simply:

  • Enter in your e-mail address and check your e-mail for CloudFlare login details
  • Change your domain’s nameservers to the ones specified by CloudFlare
  • Configure a few options, and you’re done – it’s that simple

We’ve created a page on our website where you can learn more about CloudFlare.

Have a question about CloudFlare? Call our knowledgeable sales team on 0800 862 0380.

Ben Stones

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