Using CloudFlare can make your web site load twice as fast while improving security. In our review of content delivery networks, CloudFlare was a stand out.
Deerfield Hosting, Inc. is a CloudFlare optimized partner.
About Content Delivery Networks
A content delivery network can speed up your web sites by delivering them from servers closer to the people viewing them. This is particularly effective for viewers not in North America where our servers are located. CloudFlare has 23 data centers strategically located around the US and around the world. All the Internet giants use delivery networks to improve performance and security.
Hundreds of thousands of websites – ranging from individual blogs to e-commerce sites to the websites of Fortune 500 companies to national governments — use CloudFlare. CloudFlare handles more than 65 billion monthly page views. This is more than Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Zynga, AOL, Apple, Bing, eBay, PayPal and Instagram combined. Over 25% of the Internet’s population regularly passes through the CloudFlare network.
While our servers already deliver good web site performance, using CloudFlare can make performance even better. When you sign up for CloudFlare, we begin routing your traffic to the nearest CloudFlare data center. As your traffic passes through the data centers, the static portions are cached for a short period of time, typically less than 2 hours. After 2 hours a check is performed to see if updates have occurred.
By automatically moving the static parts of your site closer to your visitors, the overall performance of your site improves significantly. CloudFlare’s intelligent caching system saves bandwidth and decreases the load on your hosting server. This means your web application will run faster and more efficiently.
On average, CloudFlare customers see a 60% decrease in bandwidth usage, and a 65% decrease in server requests. CloudFlare will typically cut the load time for pages on your site by 50%. This means higher engagement and happier visitors.
You just had a demonstration of the CloudFlare service. This site is delivered by CloudFlare!
Additional Optimization – Railgun
Railgun is a WAN (wide area network) optimization technology that we offer our hosting customers in partnership with CloudFlare. Railgun technology greatly speeds up the delivery of non-cached pages. While CloudFlare automatically caches 65% of the resources needed to make up a page, 35% can’t be cached because the resources are dynamically generated or marked as ‘do not cache’. The 35% often includes the initial HTML of the page. That must be downloaded before any static content, such as images. Railgun speeds this remaining 35%.
Railgun uses compression techniques similar to those used in streaming video. Only those portions of dynamic pages which changed since the last access are identified and sent to the requesting server. CloudFlare charges $200 per month for this service, but we are now offering it to our customers for free. More on Railgun.
Over the course of 2011, CloudFlare identified a 700% increase in the number of distributed denial of service attacks. As we have talked about here before, the trend is ever increasing attacks. CloudFlare’s security includes a range of protections against attacks.
What is powerful about the CloudFlare approach is that systems can get smarter as more sites are included. They analyze the traffic patterns of hundreds of millions of visitors in real time. This allows filtering to ensure good traffic gets through and bad traffic is stopped.
Hackers use automated systems to systematically probe for vulnerabilities on thousands of sites. When an attack against one or more sites has been identified from a particular source, that source and attack vector can be stopped from reaching additional sites.
CloudFlare has stated that their goal is “nothing short of making attacks against websites a relic of history”. And, “given our scale and the billions of different attacks we see and adapt to every year, we’re well on our way to achieving that for sites on the CloudFlare network.”
How To Enable Cloud Flare and Railgun on Your Site
Nearly any website can deploy CloudFlare. Getting set up is easy! A FREE CloudFlare account can contain up to 5 web sites.
- Log in to cPanel
- Find and click on the orange CloudFlare icon
- If you are not yet signed up with CloudFlare you can do so at this point.
- Click on Statistics and Settings
- Scroll down and find Railgun – select a rail gun instance (there may be only one)
- Next to the Railgun drop down, there is a box which will say “off”. Change it to “on”
For site owners who would like to take advantage of CloudFlare’s advanced offerings, there is a ‘Pro’ tier of services for $20/month. The ‘Pro’ tier includes all of the ‘Free’ tier’s offerings, as well as extra features like SSL, additional web applications and more frequently updated analytics.
Every day more than a thousand new sites, including some of the largest on the web, join the CloudFlare community. We encourage you to join them!
Questions or comments? Let’s hear them!