What is Cloudflare? what are the advantages and Disadvantages of using cloudflare? How can I enable cloudflare on shared hosting or VPS? I am often asked by these questions. Today I will answer these questions once and for all.
What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare is a CDN (Content Delivery Network) which has more features than a Standard CDN has to offer. There are many advantages of cloudflare and some disadvantages also, we’ll have a look at it later in this post. Lets define cloudflare. Cloudflare is a CDN which sits right in the middle of your domain name and web host. It provides added security to DDoS attacks, It also cache the static resources of your website making your site load faster and putting less load on to the web hosting.
Cloudflare is a free service, with premium packages for high traffic site. It gives you ability to change your web-hosting without waiting for the name-servers to propagate. For example, Lets say you have a site hosted with host “A” and you want to migrate to host “B”. You can migrate within minutes, if you are using Cloudflare. But if you are not using Cloudflare, migration can take up-to many hours. Cloudflare has many data-centers around the world, which means that your visitors will be served by the data-center that is nearest to them.
Advantages of using Cloudflare
- It hides your web-host’s original IP address so that any hacker may not be able to attack the server.
- It cache your site’s some (or all) resources to load the site quicker and making the actual server work less.
- It gives you ability to block all the DDoS attacks by changing the site’s security.
- If your site goes down, Cloudflare will continue serving cached data until your site comes back up.
- If your domain registrar don’t provide option to add DNS records, you can use Nameservers of CF and add host’s DNS records there.
- Cloudflare’s base offering is free of cost and allows 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.
Disadvantages of using Cloudflare
- As Cloudflare acts as a man-in-the-middle, If Cloudflare goes down, your site will also go down, even if your web-hosting is up.
- Cloudflare allows you to change the security of website to “I am under attack” mode, which blocks all DDoS attempts. But it also blocks all the robots, which is a minus for some people.
- Sometimes Cloudflare acts weird, like it sometimes disallow access to the site, but it happens once in a blue moon.
How to enable Cloudflare on a shared hosting or VPS
Just 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 and cache settings you like and click next. Now copy the name-servers given by Cloudflare and add them in your domain registrar.
To conclude, I can say that cloudflare is a very good service which provides very good level of security and redundancy for free. but if you are willing to pay, you can look for some other (better) CDN options, Like MaxCDN etc.
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