FiveStepGuide may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through links on this page.
Cloudflare CDN review (18 Awesome benefits)
Learn how Cloudflare CDN can benefit your slow website without using WordPress caching plugins: Minify CSS/JS, DNS proxy, SSL, Firewall, HTTP/2.
Course Provider: Person
Course Provider Name: Jatin Grover
CloudFlare helps improve website speed and performance while also protecting it from security attacks and threats. Cloudflare owes its worldwide popularity primarily to its FREE global CDN service with advanced features such as DDoS protection, caching, DNS settings, analytics, and several security controls to speed up your website.
Only a few other global CDN providers like Sucuri and MaxCDN actually combine web security and performance features in their CDN offering. Otherwise, getting both performance and security features is extremely difficult to find at less than $10 a month or FREE (Cloudflare).
Cloudflare CDN benefits and offerings focus on making your website fast, secure, and reliable.
You might want to compare other Content Delivery Networks (CDN) advantages with Cloudflare CDN benefits to speed up your website. In my other article, I have compared an assortment of global and regional popular CDNs.
Top 9 CDN providers comparison: Which is fastest CDN for wordpress? Cloudflare alternative. MaxCDN, Stackpath, Sucuri CDN, Google CDN, Fastly – speed, security
How Cloudflare CDN wins over other CDNs
- Fast loading times to speed up your website content delivery
- 220+ Global Data centers to serve content in shortest time
- Security from hackers
- Detecting and mitigating DDoS attacks via Cloudflare protection
- Proxied DNS in Cloudflare
- Reduce resource usage via URL filtering
- DNS filtering to prevent Bot attacks
- Advanced Caching controls
- Always ON for visitors
- Past and predictable bandwidth
- Fast Video streaming
- HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 protocol
- Free Cloudflare SSL
- Clear and easy pricing plans
- Analytics Reporting
- Web application firewall
- Easy & Quick setup
Fast loading times to speed up your website content delivery
The first benefit of using Cloudflare CDN is speedy delivery of your website content to a user anywhere in the world. The top-of-the-line Cloudflare load balancing across multiple regions ensures network latency reduction.
Additionally, to serve your content pretty fast, you effectively use Cloudflare CDN’s expert proximity algorithm. Use Cloudflare CDN to improve website speed by determining the most efficient destination for each request.
220+ Global Data centers to serve content in shortest time.
Cloudflare CDN benefits a website by serving content using its 214 data centers worldwide. With a broad global network of Cloudflare CDN data centers, your website can easily serve cached static content all over world. All content requests are intelligently routed along the fastest path on the Cloudflare network.
The way Cloudflare CDN helps is by optimizing the delivery of website resources for your visitors. Cloudflare’s data centers serve your website’s static resources and ask your origin web server for dynamic content.
Cloudflare’s global network provides a faster route from your site visitors to our data centers than would be available to a visitor directly requesting your site. Even with Cloudflare between your website and your visitors, resource requests arrive to your visitor sooner.
Cloudflare also has a specific website to provide updated notifications for the performance of every data center.
Do you know FastComet has 13 data centers across the world. Choosing a data center to host your site that’s closer to your target geography +adding Cloudflare services further enhances customer reach. Try Fastcomet today to experience it yourself (45-day money back guarantee and a 1-month service contract possibility) by clicking at the discount banner below.
Read my review of Fastcomet along with other Fast WordPress shared hosting providers I personally experimented and researched.
Brief Note on Cloudflare purge cache
Under normal circumstances, you may not need to purge cache in Cloudflare. However, Cloudflare CDN helps provide a single click button to Purge all Cloudflare cache. Otherwise, you may specify the list of URL for which the Cloudflare cache is to be purged.
You can click the link Cloudflare purge cache as shown on the Cloudflare Overview page. This will take you to the Caching tab. Go to configuration tab and purge Cloudflare’s cache
Try the best WordPress caching plugin to speed up your website by clicking at the discount banner below.
Security from hackers
Another useful benefit of Cloudflare CDN is to secure a website by bundling CDN services with security features. This way, Cloudflare CDN helps prevent any bot or malicious traffic from touching your website.
When a user visits your website, Cloudflare quicky checks for any potential threats in visitor’s load requests before it reaches your website’s hosting space (origin web server).
The checks are performed on at least the following points:
- visitor’s IP address,
- request payload and frequency,
- type and number of resources requested,
- firewall rules: both customer-defined and Cloudflare common ones.
Detecting and mitigating DDoS attacks via Cloudflare DDOS protection
A DDOS or denial-of-service attack is a cyber-attack in which the attacker’s intentions are to make a server or website unavailable to its visitors. It does so by disrupting its host’s services to any other server on the Internet.
Cloudflare DDoS protection aids you in securing your website by detecting and preventing any DDOS attacks. It also ensures that legitimate traffic is served your website’s content in correct form thereby not compromising your website’s performance.
Turn ON Cloudflare DDOS protection by switching ON the Under Attack Mode option in Cloudflare settings on the Overview page
Cloudflare DDOS protection provides unmetered DDoS attacks prevention and removal. It does not bill you by the size, type, number, or duration of attacks. Cloudflare provides DDoS attack protection on any plan, including the FREE plan.
The Cloudflare advantage of using caching enables protection of your website against smaller DDoS attacks. However, uncached content requires additional Cloudflare protection response to DDoS attacks.
Cloudflare proxied DNS
Another Security benefit by benefit is via Cloudflare DNS Proxy. The DNS records proxied via Cloudflare protect your website by not returning your origin web server IP address in the DNS queries.
Let’s say, some human or bot visitor requests your website content. Instead of sending true IP address of your website hosting server, Cloudflare proxied DNS mechanism will rather send proxied IP addresses that map to your origin web server. This allows Cloudflare to setup a DNS proxy to protect all requests for your website.
Proxied DNS traffic then comes to Cloudflare edge and then goes as a request to your website origin server. Cloudflare will help mask your origin web server’s IP address. Cloudflare proxied DNS service will then rather present proxied DNS records. This will effectively ensure visitors go via Cloudflare’s secure channel, while preventing attackers & malicious bots from making any nuisance to your origin web server.
However, all unproxied DNS requests to Cloudflare go straight to your hosting website’s origin web server. This method will be deprived of all the benefits of using Cloudflare.
Reduce resource usage via URL filtering
With URL filtering, Cloudflare CDN helps to restrict the web content which users can access by blocking defined URLs from loading.
Almost all companies implement URL filtering, not just to prevent bot attacks but also to “prevent employees from wasting company resources”.Tweet
With Cloudflare, you can use URL filtering to mitigate phishing attacks or malware by blocking malicious web pages. All HTTPS secure web gateways include a URL filtering feature. If a visitor tries to reach a blocked or filtered URL, they are redirected to an “access restriction” or “website not allowed” page.
DNS filtering to prevent Bot attacks
Cloudflare CDN uses the concept of web filtering to block spam algorithms and bad bots while allowing good bots like search engine crawlers. DNS filtering blocks DNS queries to all URLs of a website by blocking the requesting domain name.
URL filtering is more granular and detailed filtering by allowing blocking just few individual webpages instead of DNS filtering of the whole website or sub-domain.
Unlike URL filtering, the Cloudflare CDN benefit of DNS filtering requires far lesser maintenance and customization. It easily and readily applies to all types of web traffic once implemented.
Advanced Caching controls to serve static content quickly
Cloudflare’s network caching helps minimize bandwidth. It reduces the number of requests to your origin server by serving static content from a Cloudflare data center. Cloudflare CDN provides you with 3 features for advanced caching controls:
- Page Rules to specify particular behavior for individual URLs, including what gets cached and for how long.
- Cache API to control how content is cached,
- Advanced routing and URL canonicalization to improve cache hit ratios.
With a better cache-hit ratio, Cloudflare helps further decrease your bandwidth costs. You get actionable insights into the caching of your website – insights such as:
- resources cached, configuration changes needed,
- list of top URLs that missed cache, and,
- others like number and type of requests served and details on data transferred.
Always ON for visitors
Even when your website is under maintenance or has shut down temporarily. Cloudflare CDN gives a huge advantage compare to other content delivery networks by providing an Always On feature will ensure your website content is never unreachable. This feature displays the exact content you want to always show your visitors irrespective of network availability.
Past and predictable bandwidth
Unlike most other Content delivery networks, Cloudflare CDN even has benefits of never charging for amount of bandwidth consumed or served. This ensures predictable monthly bills, regardless of the amount of traffic on your website.
Their algorithms clearly define past and predictable bandwidth. Do note that if you are on a shared hosting, this along with Caching will further reduce your costs if you have more static pages than dynamic pages.
Even if Cloudflare does not provide any limit on your bandwidth usage, your hosting provider may do so. You need to check with your hosting provider if they charge for bandwidth.
You may want to check out the host which doesn’t put a cap on your bandwidth, and rather provides really UNLIMITED bandwidth. Hostarmada is also amazingly SUPERFAST with 6CPU + 6GB RAM. Try HostArmada (30-day money back guarantee) today to experience it yourself.
Fast Video streaming
Cloudflare has a rich environment of performance and security services harmonized together specifically for video. Cloudflare’s global ANYCAST network ensures quick delivery of video, shorter startup times, and minimal buffering, irrespective of visitor location.
For live video, Concurrent Streaming Acceleration further helps optimize multiple simultaneous requests with minimal end-to-end latency.
HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 protocol
Cloudflare CDN supports and recommends HTTP/2 as well as HTTP/3 using QUIC. These 2 new protocols come as a dramatic change in HTTP protocol after almost 15 year.
How does HTTP/2 improve page load times?
Adopting HTTP/2 speeds up your website without any changes to your existing codebase. The true benefit of Cloudflare CDN is free HTTP/2 capabilities with just a simple click of a button.
HTTP/2 is a protocol optimized for this new website design and configuration complexity. It helps improve performance by:
- Connection multiplexing – multiple resources in a single network request to avoid slow page rendering & enable fast loading.
- HTTP header compression – Smaller sized headers and simplified HTTP requests speed up a website easily.
- HTTP/2 Server Push – Cloudflare provides additional cache resources to improve page load time.
HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 are free benefits as part of all Cloudflare plans.
Free Cloudflare SSL
Cloudflare helps provide a FREE SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to even FREE plan users. Cloudflare SSL sets up an encrypted link between your web server and visitor’s browser. All data transferred through Cloudflare SSL secure link remains private to this connection.
What are the benefits of serving my website over Cloudflare SSL?
- Performance: Using Cloudflare SSL means your website is a trusted one. Browsers ignore many checks resulting in improved page load times.
- Search Ranking Boost: Search engines favor HTTPS websites because of trustworthiness
- Trust: Cloudflare SSL enabled websites display a green lock in the browser’s address bar, thereby increasing visitor’s trust, especially payment related cases.
- Security: Encrypted connections & secured traffic prevents hackers.
There are two ways you can use SSL to have much more Cloudflare CDN benefits:
- Use Cloudflare SSL certificate to encrypt traffic.
- Use a configured SSL certificate at your web hosting server
The Cloudflare Flexible SSL plan available in the FREE plan helps encrypts traffic from Cloudflare to your website visitors.
However, there’s no SSL from Cloudflare to your origin web server. Why most people still use it because it is the easiest and quickest way to enable HTTPS. No installation of SSL certificate is required on your origin web server.
If you host a WordPress site, you would have more benefits if you add a straight-forward, easy to use, yet powerful SSL plugin like Really Simple SSL.
Clear and easy pricing plans
The best benefit in Cloudflare CDN is that more than 80% of requirements needed to make a slow website load faster is fulfilled by the FREE plan in Cloudflare.
The free plan is really totally free forever ($0 per month) without any speed, security, bandwidth or traffic location restrictions.
With its global Content Delivery Network and super efficient unmetered DDoS attack mitigation, it is the best CDN for speed improvement of blogs and small personal websites.
Pricing comes fairly easy, especially with “no surge pricing” when your website is attacked by bots.
Cloudflare CDN benefits are even better for Professionals — Pro plan . This plan is best suited if you want further Cloudflare CDN benefits of enhanced speed, security & protection. It comes with all features of free plan plus Web Application Firewall (WAF) security, mobile and image optimization, and Cache Analytics. It is priced at $20 per month.
The business and enterprise plans are beyond the reach and necessity of small personal or business websites and blog owners, so I will skip that discussion here. However the comparison table below shows the prices and features of all plans.
One more advantage of Cloudflare CDN is that if you host your website with Cloudflare partners, you will eliminate in-transit data costs from your hosting provider to Cloudflare for all dynamic content request.
Know more about Azure Content delivery networks and how to use CDN as SEO tools for wordpress. Click the video image below to start your 30-day FREE trial
Cloudflare CDN benefits a webmaster by providing a detailed report of your website’s traffic through its analytics page. This report can be available on a site-to-site basis or on a consolidated basis in all plans.
These reports reveal information about regular site traffic, total page views, crawlers, bots and threats. They also include finer details, including the country of origin of threats and search engines that have crawled your site.
Web application firewall
Cloudflare CDN offers a great security protection benefit to your website against DDoS attacks, malicious bots, SQL injections, comment spam and more.
Moreover for online threat protection, Cloudflare uses Website Application Firewall (WAF). Update your website’s DNS settings as a part of Cloudflare CDN setup. It’s server will then act as a proxy between your site’s origin server and its visitors, thereby ensuring a secured protection layer.
In 2014, the comprehensive security features of Cloudflare CDN assisted it in dealing with one of the largest DDoS attacks in internet history. Thereafter, it became evident that Cloudflare CDN can easily handle large-scale website attacks.
Do you know Bluehost provides Free SSL, extensive security features, web application firewall, daily backups, bot protection along with great resources for a super fast website at only $3? Try Bluehost (30-day money back guarantee) today to experience it yourself.
Easy & Quick setup
The best advantage of Cloudflare CDN is that it can be smoothly integrated with Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Vbulletin and Joomla.
You actually can sign up with Cloudflare and change the DNS name servers of your domain. This easy step does not require you to modify or write code or install any software or hardware.
In fact, there is a dedicated setup application in cPanel of at least the best WordPress hostings to help setup Cloudflare CDN. In case you want to pull the plug on Cloudflare’s services, you can easily disable it.
Setting up Cloudflare CDN is pretty easy and can be done in minutes even by a beginner.Tweet
To read more about all Cloudflare CDN setup instructions in detail, please visit my other article on specifically this topic.
How to QUICKLY setup FREE Cloudflare CDN for WordPress website. Cloudflare features, cache, security. Cloudflare console tutorial. Configuration tabs explained
The biggest drawback of Cloudflare CDN is that Cloudflare’s support especially for the free plan is almost non-existent. You have to send an email (or submit a support ticket) and keep waiting till you get a reply.
However, Cloudflare’s website offers an extensive knowledge-base for issues, help, and assistance on a host of topics, such as getting started, billing, analytics, caching. You can search for your queries and submit a support ticket, if you are still unsatisfied.
Cloudflare does not offer dedicated IP addresses. This means your website shares domain IPs with other Cloudflare customers. If you want to reduce the number of Cloudflare shared IPs, you will have to upgrade to a Business or Enterprise plan. Then you will have to buy a custom SSL certificate as well.
To keep yourself up to date on similar topics, FOLLOW ME by clicking the following icons.
Know more about Content delivery networks and how to use CDN as SEO tools for wordpress. Click the video image below to start your 30-day FREE trial
I this article I have taken you through 18 different advantages of Cloudflare CDN. It is an easy to set up, flexible, fully configurable and far less expensive CDN service.
Other Cloudflare CDN conveniences are that it provides many security and performance optimizations. And one the biggest Cloudflare CDN advantages is that it helps you improve website loading times by serving content over more than 220+ servers over its global network.
I would any day recommend you to give Cloudflare a try. After all, the basic plan is FREE forever!!
If you are still not ready and would like to compare Cloudflare further, you may look at the following article
Top 9 CDN providers comparison: Which is fastest CDN for wordpress? Cloudflare alternative. MaxCDN, Stackpath, Sucuri CDN, Google CDN, Fastly – speed, security
However, if you have decided to try some other CDN, here are some awe-inspiring images which you may click and visit the CDN cloud heaven.
Thank you for reading this article. I have written several other such Technology related articles in other sections on this website.
If you liked this post, kindly comment and like using the comment form below.
Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)
How do I enable HTTP/2 in Cloudflare CDN?
Do I really need Cloudflare or other CDN?
Only you can answer this question. You need to look at it from a broader perspective of whether you even need any CDN, be it Cloudflare or any other. Whether an extra expenditure of a CDN is needed for your website can be justified by evaluating on at least the following points:
– are you a small website owner or a blogger testing the waters?
– do you have $10 a month to start with Sucuri or MaxcDN or would like to try a FREE version of CloudFlare
– are your readers / viewers located in a single country or geographical zone or spread globally?
– have you already purchased a superb caching plugin like WP-Rocket?
– and so on.
Look at this question in the context of need for any CDN (not just Cloudflare). The answer is very well presented in my take on why I enabled Cloudflare CDN on my site.
What are the features in FREE version of Cloudflare?
Out of the 18 features mentioned in this article, most features are free and others are also FREE but somewhat limited. For example, if you want dedicated SSL, you need to upgrade. But if you have your own SSL from your web hosting, you can very well use the FULL service by Cloudflare. You can see your Cloudflare analytics in detail only in buckets of 24 hour or beyond whereas any paid plan shows you Cloudflare analytics for even last 10 minutes.
Otherwise, most-used necessary features like basic protection from DDOS attacks, shared SSL certificate, website caching, minifying and so on are totally FREE.
Is Cloudflare expensive?
The basic plan is totally FREE forever without any speed, security, bandwidth or traffic location restrictions. With its global Content Delivery Network and super efficient unmetered DDoS attack mitigation, it is the best CDN for speed improvement of blogs and small personal websites. The PRO plan with much more features without any limitations comes at $20 per month.