What is Cloudflare? And What are the benefits of using Cloudflare?
By Adarsh Sojitra on May 16th, 2022
The internet is a place where you can find anything. We have websites, blogs and web tools that can do any task or provide any required information. For example, you want to buy any materialistic things like clothes, electronics or food. You can get it in a couple of hours at your doorsteps. Here, we can find millions of small, medium and large businesses connected to the internet. Big companies have their security equipment or are secured privately. And small and medium businesses and other non-tech humans have a limit with the security policies. So, Cloudflare provides security and performance to small and medium-sized businesses and web assets like Websites, Applications or any device connected to the internet.
In short, CloudFlare is an infrastructure provider of the internet. And the ideal behind Cloudflare is to provide reliability, extra security and performance to devices connected to the web. It provides some core features for free and the simplest setup for installation. With GUI and API interfaces to manage your website, Cloudflare is the largest network. It offers most of the key features for free with limited usability, but it also has premium memberships for extra features.
Working of Cloudflare
As per the technical perception, CloudFlare works like a Reverse Proxy server. That means your website traffic will be routed by Cloudflare servers, spread in more than 200 cities worldwide. In simple words, each request will be attended by Cloudflare before it reaches our website. Cloudflare adds more performance and security for both sides of people, like owners and visitors. Cloudflare checks each request and scans for any malicious content based on the IP Address information. It also has other types of information checks like Resource request, Request payload and frequency and the user-defined firewall rules.
All the Cloudflare servers, also known as “Edges”, will cache the web pages and content and then serve it to the visitor. Here edges will become your CDN(Content Delivery Network), so the visitors must touch the Edge before reaching the original website. And with the dynamic web pages, CloudFlare will send each request to the original web server.
Features of Cloudflare
- Stable Content Caching
Cloudflare servers or edges cache the web pages for faster delivery which is also beneficial in reducing latency issues.
- Alleviate DDoS Attack
DDoS attack stands for denial-of-service, which means these attacks will temporarily disrepute the host’s services. So the visitor can’t reach or sees the error of server unavailable. Cloudflare provides complete protection against DDoS attacks. On average, Cloudflare blocks more than 57 million threats per day to be secured.
- Location-Based Routing
Cloudflare uses Geo-based routing to serve the content super fast and balance server loads. It means the request will be responded to by the nearest server of the device location.
- Argo Tunnel
Cloudflare allows you to create a safe tunnel between the DataCenters and Hosting servers. You can build a secure transfer tunnel to ensure secure communications.
- Mobile Optimization
Cloudflare uses some virtualisation to detect the type of devices that have been used to send the request. Then Cloudflare optimises the performance for the devices with lazy load images and browser cache, and the whole process is working on auto-mode.
- Streaming Platform
Cloudflare also provides a demand-streaming platform that is economical and ready to use.
Cloudflare also offers insights and intelligence with the help of cache data. It also allows different dashboards, which can be personalised using GraphQL and Analytics API.
- Identify New Threats
Cloudflare servers contain intelligence systems to learn every attack attempt on your website. So, next time they can provide instant solutions for other websites based on recorded experience.
- Big Network
Cloudflare is one of the most truly connected networks using strategic partnerships in China. It delivers fast, secure, and reliable experiences globally for the user’s device.
- CDN with Load Management
Cloudflare has a Great load management strategy with more than 200 centres globally. As we discussed, it redirects the request to the nearest server to balance the traffic load.
Advantages of Cloudflare
- One of the primary advantages of Cloudflare is providing free Security with Performance on a large scale.
- The second most effective advantage is most of the core features available in the free plan of Cloudflare.
- It also works as a Content Delivery Network with caching to increase the website’s speed.
- Providing Free SSL certificates for your website is one of the core features of Cloudflare, which can be renewed annually.
- Cloudflare will protect your website from malicious bots and DDoS attacks to keep your website safe and ready to use.
- It also offers Managed DNS (Domain Name Service) with short TTL(time to live).
- Cloudflare also provides custom and forwarding rules that will affect based on situations. It also has an option for serverless functions.
- The most important advantage of Cloudflare is API support, which is used to manage most of the other services.
- Cloudflare is a famous Domain Registrar Services provider.
- You will find different independent addons within CloudFlare to manage different services.
- Cloudflare has become too user-friendly and a favourite compared to other competitors with an easy-to-use interface with minimal setup requirements.
Disadvantages of Cloudflare
- The primary disadvantage with Cloudflare is the fear of single-point failure. If the Cloudflare server fails, your websites and emails may also go down sometimes.
- The second most effective disadvantage is the free and premium plans. The free plan offers much functionality with limitations, while other premium plans are very costly.
- Cloudflare has managed DNS server zones, which may not be that helpful for some users.
- We can’t change the name using the free plan of Cloudflare.
- The free SSL certificate can only be accepted if Cloudflare is active on that Domain. Even the SSL certificate is only one level deep.
- The Domain Registration feature is not available for all users, and it comes with limited TLDs to be registered.
- You have limited page rules and Worker sites with free plans.
As we discussed, CloudFlare is one of the largest global networks and keeps working to provide enough security and performance with load balancing techniques. We also discussed that it has too many core features available for free to use but with limitations. You can even buy the premium plan to extend the usability. It has the most user friendly and both graphical and API interface. It will be helpful for both types of people, technical and non-technical. Cloudflare has many advantages, and we discussed each with an example. But, there are some disadvantages of CloudFlare, like the Extensive cost for Premium plans.