What Is Cloudflare: All That You Need to Know (+Infographic)

Cloudflare is a popular name in the industry today. Let's find out more about what it's all about.
Olivia Johnson
26 Jan, 2020

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It’s important to know what is Cloudflare if you’re serious about the security and hosting of your website. It’s one of the most popular companies offering security solutions. In this article, we’ll know more about it.

What Is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network, often written as CDN. Let’s first get to know about CDNs. These are networks responsible for the delivery of content.

It will not be wrong to state that the internet will not work without a proper CDN. In fact, you use CDN every day, to access the web, open your blog, etc., without even realizing it.

CDNs ensure you can access data found on the web. This includes everything from written content like news articles and reviews to videos on YouTube and other such platforms. In fact, every bit of browsing, including social media platforms, involves the use of CDNs.

The need for CDNs is quite evident. Today’s generation is impatient with no time to wait for a website to load. Most users will quit a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

This delay is due to some things, mainly the physical distance between you and the content you’re trying to access. CDNs bridge this gap to ensure you can access the content at a fast speed, no matter where it’s hosted.

How Does A Content Delivery Network Work?

The job of a CDN is to bridge the gap between you and the server but how does it work? The concept is quite simple. It works by utilizing caching technology.

CDNs copy websites and store these copies on different international locations so that users can reach it without any trouble.

You do not have to access the main server to browse content. You can reach the nearest server, thus reducing the time needed to make a connection. As a result, the website loads faster and performance is guaranteed.

Caching is a popular technique. Almost all browsers keep a cache of the websites browsed. The next time you visit a site, the browser will pick the cached file saved on your computer, thus reducing the time it takes to load a page. CDNs work in a similar fashion thanks to local servers.

Interesting Things You Need to Know About Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a big company yet not many people know about how it works or what it is all about. Launched in 2010 at the much talked about TechCrunch Conference. This San Francisco company is a reverse proxy provider and CDN with over 60,000 sites under the platform.

Here are some of its most interesting services:

1. Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection: DDoS is a Denial of Service attack that uses multiple infected systems to hit a target. The attack results in a DOS attack and brings down the system. Most hosting providers do not allow good protection against such attacks. It can result in your blog going down. Cloudflare safeguards the system to prevent such attacks by using a mix of security features including captchas.

2. Domain Name Service (DNS): Cloudflare handles DNS requests for users on an anycast network. The company offers the best response times out there and is very much in demand for this reason.

3. Content Delivery: Cloudflare creates cached versions of content and spreads it across its large number of international servers. Users can access the server that offers the fastest response time, i.e.: is the closest, to ensure lower CPU usage, better speeds, and lower bandwidth requirements.

Cloudflare is a popular name today and is being used by a large number of companies including Medium, Yelp, DigitalOcean, and Stack Overflow.

How Does It Work?

how does it work

Cloudflare works as a reverse proxy and is known to be quite reliable. It may sound very complicated on paper, but it is quite easy to use.

Sign up for the service and a copy of your website will be stored on Cloudflare servers, also known as data centers. Next, link the DNS and your site will be easily accessible to users. The servers improve delivery by storing content on their data centers. These servers are reliable and can handle heavy traffic, too.

You will not have to worry about having to manually cache your site every time you make changes to it. The system works automatically; however, it may take about 24 hours for the DNS servers to get connected for the first time.

Another great feature of Cloudflare is site security. It can block threats based on a number of factors, such as blacklists, reputations, and HTTP headers. Other than this, Cloudflare can also prevent spam, stop DDoS attacks, and protect key ports against hackers.

What Else Cloudflare Has to Offer

Cloudflare also offers image optimization. Its advanced technology can reduce the file size by about 35% without affecting quality. Plus, it also makes sure images are mobile-optimized, thus improving overall performance and load times.

This is very important since images can affect load times in a very negative manner.

The user-friendly platform is also known for more kickass features like IPv6, SPDY, HTTP/2, dedicated SSL certificates, traffic rules, etc. You can choose from a variety of plans to pick one that suits you the best.

Cloudflare: The Last Word

Now that you know what is Cloudflare, it will be easy to understand how it can help you. There are a number of CDNs out there, but Cloudflare stands tall thanks to its amazing features. It protects sites, is easy to use, and also improves speeds.

While there’s potential for improvements, it may still be a wise idea to try the free plan to know what it’s all about. Updating to a paid program is very easy as well.

Published: January 26, 2020 | Updated: 26 Jan, 2020January 26, 2020
26 Jan, 2020
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