After much procrastination (I had a beta invite years ago) I finally decided to give CloudFlare a try. About 10 days ago I setup Cloudflare for one of my smaller websites and over the last week have added 3 more. For those that don’t know what CloudFlare is, the short answer is that it is a CDN (Content Distribution Network) service that also offers some nifty security features. CloudFlare claims that it can stop or prevent DDOS attacks, hacking attempts and spam all while making your website faster.
So far, overall, I love Cloudflare and will probably setup the rest of my sites to use in the next few days – for the cost, so far it seems to be a no brainer. Not perfect, but very, very good. Here is my shortlist of pros & cons of using Cloudflare.
Pros of Using CloudFlare:
- Very easy to setup and use. If you use WordPress or Drupal, and have access to your domain registrar (to change your nameservers) it’s not difficult to get up and running
- “Set it and forget it” security – not the best security solution, and probably not perfect, but if you’re on a shared host or don’t have aspirations of being a security expert, it’s way better than nothing
- Easily block IP’s, IP-ranges, and even entire countries
- “Always Online” – Because CloudFlare is (like) a CDN, it can continue to serve cached versions of most (but not all) of your webpages even if your website goes down. Earlier this week my datacenter had to replace a hard drive on my dedicated server. The server was down for the better part of 2 hours, and yet the majority of my pages were still available via the Cloudflare cache (awesome!!)
- Cost: All of the basic features of Cloudflare are FREE, and the basic features are probably all you need – and no constant upsells!
Cons of CloudFlare:
- Limited security rules. Cloudflare’s basic/shared protection is great, but if you need custom page-rules you are limited to only 3. If you are on a shared web-host, this is still a giant improvement over nothing, but if you are on a dedicated server running Mod_Security and integrated CSF (like me), it’s very limiting.
- Limited stats and analytics. The threat and attack statistics are very limited in detail – but still far better than nothing. The daily traffic reports are also limited, but you can still use your Google Analytics and this becomes a non-issue.
- Minifying & “Rocket Loader” can break your stuff – Not necessarily a “con”, as any minification and asynchronous loading can break your webpages. Just be aware, and be sure to test your website carefully.
Overall I am loving Cloudflare – If you are looking for a way to make your blog or website more secure, speed it up, or make sure it’s always available I highly recommend that you give it a try. Even though Cloudflare is relatively easy to get up and running, at iHelpers.NET we are offing a special price on setting up your CloudFlare if you need help or just don’t have the time to deal with it yourself.