What is Cloudflare?
Websites and web applications have become common these days, For many things, we have got at a website (or) a web application to do that task. Most of these websites and web apps are made secure and private mostly but many small businesses and non-tech guys are limited access to their security policies. Cloudflare helps to provide security and performance to these types of websites.
Cloudflare is an Internet infrastructure provider, whose idea is to enhance the security, performance, and reliability of anything connected to the Internet. Cloudflare most of the core features for free and provides and simple setup for installing and using it. Cloudflare has both UI and API for managing your website.
Cloudflare works on a Freemium model but offers most of its core features for free with some limits,
Free features of Cloudflare are :
- DNS hosting —
DNS is responsible for translating domain names into IP address, Cloudflare provides DNS hosting to manage DNS records, and Cloudflare records come into effect very fast in most the cases.
- CDN —
Content Delivery Network is a service that caches your website and serves the website from geographically the nearest server which in turn increases the loading speed of the website.
- SSL/TLS —
Cloudflare provides free SSL for the domain name and wildcard subdomains for 3rd level in the hostname for free
- Firewall —
Limited to 5 rules Cloudflare firewall provides a way to block traffic using IP address, hostname, known bots, URI, and more.
- Page rules —
Limited to 3 rules Pages rules provide different functions like redirects, HTTPS rewrites, and more.
- Apps —
Created by developers, Cloudflare apps provide different functionalities with just a click of the button.
- Analytics —
Cloudflare analytics provide simple analytics for your website
- Registrar —
Cloudflare provides domain registration for wholesale price with free Whois redaction
- Workers —
Working of Cloudflare :
Many web hosts provide direct integration to Cloudflare using their web hosting Cpanel but you can also sign up from cloudflare.com. Click to add site and follow the instructions and at last change the name servers for your domain that’s it you are now using Cloudflare.
Technically Cloudflare acts as a reverse proxy which means complete traffic will be routed via Cloudflare servers which are spread over 200 cities worldwide. Cloudflare is the first service to combine security with performance. Cloudflare servers which are called “Edge” servers by the company cache the contents of the webpage and serve then acting as a CDN and as the traffic need to touch the Edge server before the original web server, Cloudflare can block any malicious bots, protect from DDoS, and can also block traffic according to firewall rules.
Advantages of Cloudflare :
The main advantage of Cloudflare is that it provides security and performance for free at a larger scale, few other advantages are :
- Cloudflare has a free plan with most of its core features.
- It acts as CDN which increases the load speed of websites.
- Cloudflare protects from malicious bots and DDoS attacks.
- It provided Managed DNS with short TTL.
- It provides free SSL certificate completely managed by Cloudflare, renewed annually.
- Cloudflare Provides forwarding rules and serverless functions.
- Cloudflare has different independent addons for different services.
- Cloudflare provides Domain Registrar services.
- Provides API for managing most of the services.
Disadvantages of Cloudflare :
The main problem of Cloudflare is single-point failure, If Cloudflare goes down, your website sometimes email also goes down, and few other disadvantages are :
- The free plan comes with many limits, and Paid plans are not cheap.
- DNS zones are managed which may not be useful for some users.
- Can’t use Custom Name servers in the free plan.
- SSL certificate will only be accepted which Cloudflare is active on that domain.
- SSL certificates are only one level deep and issued to sni.cloudflaressl.com with your domain in SAN’s field.
- Domain registration is not yet available for all users and comes with limited TLD’s to register.
- Page rules and Worker sites are very limited in the Free plan.
Most of the disadvantages won’t be an issue for non-tech people and small businesses and it’s better that way. At last, I say that it’s better to use Cloudflare for small businesses, non-tech people, small sites, personal websites, and add-ons can be used if you want an upgrade