There is no doubt, implementing Cloudflare is one of the quickest ways to speed up and add security to your website.
Cloudflare is loved by millions of websites to decrease the web page load time and protect from online threats, including DDoS.
If you heard Cloudflare for the first time, then here is a one-liner.
Cloudflare is a CDN (Content Delivery Network), and the Security Company helps small to enterprise business to supercharge and secure the online assets.
The following are some of the benefits you can leverage by implementing Cloudflare.
Remove unwanted characters like whitespaces, comments, newline characters, block delimiters, which are not needed for a web page to serve.
By eliminating those unnecessary characters, the file size gets reduced. Hence it helps to load the page faster.
Cloudflare supports three file types of minification.
You can enable them under the “Speed” tab.
Newly introduced HTTP/2 protocol is two times faster than HTTP/1.1
It helps to load multiple page elements parallelly over the single TCP connection and has another advantage like header compression, push technology.
HTTP/2 acceleration is by default enabled, so you don’t need to do any configuration.
Update: Cloudflare now offers HTTP/3 support.
SSL is not just for an eCommerce website, or if your site has sensitive information transactions, it’s for everyone. Having your site accessible over HTTPS ensures data is encrypted from the user computer to your server.
SSL is also a new Google search engine ranking signal. Cloudflare offers a FREE universal SSL certificate, but if you need custom one from Thawte, Symantec, Rapid, GeoTrust, Comodo, then you can always buy and upload your certificate.
Add DNS security to your domain by enabling DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extension). DNSSEC help to mitigate the request forgery vulnerability.
DNSSEC can be enabled under the “DNS” tab.
Once activated, don’t forget to test it.
WAF (Web Application Firewall) helps to keep your site secure from OWASP top 10, CMS (WordPress, Joomla, etc. ) vulnerabilities. Cloudflare WAF got more than 145 rules to protect from almost all types of web application attacks.
The general myth is adding security will slow down the website, but that’s not true. Cloudflare WAF is built during a performance in mind. It adds less than 1 ms latency.
The benefits of using Cloud WAF is you don’t have to worry about updating ruleset for any new vulnerability as cloud-based security provider will take that care.
Cloudflare WAF is only available from the PRO plan.
More than 60% of web page size is contributed by images.
If you are having lots of images on your website, then Cloudflare Polish can help to optimize them to a smaller size for fast loading. You can either choose to compress lossless or lossy.
Polish also supports WebP compression and available in starting from PRO plan. Alternatively, you may refer this to learn how to compress images for WordPress, Joomla, or another platform website.
Instruct the visitor browser to cache the static resources for a longer period, so repeat requests are loaded from the local cache to speed up the web page loads.
Don’t bother about using any third-party plugin or writing
.htaccess for leverage browser caching instead, you can get this done using Cloudflare under the “Caching” tab.
Are you using WebSocket application?
Cloudflare forwards the WebSockets traffic to your origin server without any manual configuration needed. It supports SSL too.
Cloudflare recently announced a cloud load balancer to distribute your web traffic to multiple servers. Load balancing ensures a website is always available when one of the backend servers goes down.
A load balancer not just helps in better availability but also decreases the page load time by serving the content from the nearest origin server based on the user location.
Cloudflare load balancer support automatic failover, geographic routing, health checks
Optimized Network Routing
Argo, a new Cloudflare service to route the site responses over Cloudflare optimized network to deliver the content faster and securely. Argo aims to reduce the latency to deliver the best possible user experience.
Argo is an additional service billed based on usage. This can be activated under any plan.
Optimize and secure your domains using the Page Rules. It allows you to control the way Cloudflare works on an individual URI, subdomains, or entire website.
You can do things like:
- Set cache level
- Automatic HTTPS rewrite
- Setup redirection
- Customize rocket loader
- Customize web application firewall
- Disable apps, performance, and security, server-side excludes
And, a lot more…
Cloudflare offers a fixed number of Page Rules according to the type of plan you choose. But, if you need more, you can always buy additionally.
AMP Real URL
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) aims to enhance the performance and speed of mobile content. Hence, users can access content quickly from the search results shown by Google on mobile phones.
This feature allows the browsers to display canonical URLs natively for content that are published in a mobile’s AMP viewer, without extra coding.
The AMP Real URL by Cloudflare utilizes signed HTTPs to authenticate the content by the publisher when it is served from the AMP cache of Google. When it detects a supported browser, the AMP Real URL creates signed exchanges for the requested content.
The benefits of using AMP:
- It boosts page loading on mobile phones. It optimizes pages for supporting asynchronous script loading with quick render times.
- AMP pages get higher priority in search results performed from mobile devices. Thus, it helps enhance mobile SEO.
- It helps AMP content in retaining the original URLs on getting displayed in the search results by Google on mobile.
Rate Limiting helps mitigate Brute Force login attempts, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, and other malicious intent against the application layer.
The global 42Tbps anycast network of Cloudflare is 15 times bigger as compared to the biggest DDoS attack recorded ever. As a result, the powerful network is capable of protecting all your assets against the critical online attacks.
Rate Limiting allows you to define responses, configure thresholds, gain insights on API and website.
Web Security & Optimization is challenging, but leveraging the right solution makes that easy. If you are looking to optimize your site for speed and safety, then give a try to Cloudflare and see how it goes.
Cloudflare got a FREE plan so you can start from there.
Need an alternative to Cloudflare?
Sure, there is one, always – Try Sucuri.