Cloudflare uses , features , advantages & disadvantages
Cloudflare is a CDN ( Content Delivery Network ) that offers more features than the Standard CDN can offer , It offers added security to DDoS attacks , It caches the static resources of your website making your site load faster & putting less load on to the web hosting , It is the CDN which sits in the middle of your domain name & web host .
Cloudflare passes all the traffic which would hit your server to go through the filter process of Cloudflare and only the validated traffic is being routed to the host , You can have different security levels based on the spammers & the hackers that you want to be filtering out .
It is the commercial content delivery network with the integrated distributed denial of service (DDoS) defense , It can act as a reverse proxy & domain name server to your website , It offers a useful IPv6 transition mechanism if your hosting provider doesn’t present native IPv6 .
It is the content delivery network which acts as a middle layer between your actual host & user browsing site using your domain name , It is a free service , with premium packages for high traffic site , You can change your web-hosting without waiting for the name-servers to propagate , It has many data-centers around the world , So , your visitors will be served by the data-center that is nearest to them .
Content delivery network or CDN is different from Cloudflare , You can use alternative mirrored CDN url to serve the static content from the CDN , CDN serves the content from the nearest location from where the content is being requested which makes the content served faster , The browser don’t need to send extra header information for the static content and you can reduce the packet size to speed up your site’s loading time .
If you are serving the CDN content from the same domain/subdomain , CDN can free up your server from serving static content , it can serve the content from the nearest location to the end user , It allows the browsers to fetch the content parallel to your site’s content and it makes faster user experience .
You can go-to Cloudflare.com and signup for a free account , Add your domain and it will automatically detect current name-servers and IP address of current host , Just select the security & cache settings you like and click next , Now copy the name-servers given by Cloudflare and add them in your domain registrar .
Advantages of using Cloudflare
Cloudflare hides your web-host’s original IP address so that any hacker can not attack the server , It caches your site’s some (or all) resources to load the site quicker & making the actual server works less , It gives you the ability to block all the DDoS attacks by changing the site’s security .
As CloudFlare is like a CDN , it can continue to serve cached versions of most of your web-pages even if your website goes down , It enables you to add multiple number of domains , You can block access to your site for certain regions or countries , If you are receiving many attacks from particular countries , It gives you free SSL , which you can use on shared host as well .
Cloudflare is free to get started whereas the other CDN services are paid , As your site is being filtered and only genuine traffic is being passed , your site can save the resources as well as can increase the speed of your site because of the caching being performed by the Cloudflare .
Cloudflare blocks DDoS and DoS , DDoS is an attack on the server to send too many automated requests to the server from various locations to bring it down , If you your IP Address is known to the hacker , Cloudflare can protect your server from DDoS as the attacker targets IP directly by passing the Cloudflare .
CloudFlare is a middleman between your server and your visitors , Sensitive data go through the CloudFlare server when they are delivered to a client , CloudFlare has the ability to monitor all your traffic , It can inject the code into your HTTP headers and your web pages and it can have any consequences .
Disadvantages of Cloudflare
For some reasons , CloudFlare can slow down the page load rather than speeding it up , It is normal as a step (a hop) is added between your server & a client , Since additional settings should be made on the CloudFlare website , The misconfiguration can lead to down times & traffic drops .
Unless your site has decent amount of traffic & you need the spam protection and have the issues with hacking or DDoS , Cloudflare had the issues with owners being blocked out of site , Cloudflare sometimes disallow access to the site , If it goes down , your site will go down , If you are looking for a way to make your blog or website more secure , speed it up , or make sure it is available .
If you are on shared hosting , you may need to check if your host supports Cloudflare or not though most shared hosts do not support Cloudflare , With Cloudflare , setting wildcard sub-domains are not possible , There is not enough information on the data that is cached .
Cloudflare offers limited security rules , Cloudflare’s basic/shared protection is great , but if you need custom page-rules you are limited to only 3 , If you are on a shared web-host , this is still a giant improvement over nothing , but if you are on a dedicated server running Mod_Security and integrated CSF , it’s very limiting .
Cloudflare has limited stats & analytics , The threat & attack statistics are very limited in detail – but still far better than nothing , The daily traffic reports are also limited , but you can still use your Google Analytics and this becomes a non-issue .