Cloudflare Review – Is it the Solution to your Speed and Security Needs?

Carl Taylor | March 3, 2020

Plenty of Content Delivery Networks promise fast speeds and amazing security. Does Cloudflare live up to its hype? This review looks at some of the plugin’s key features.

You’ve spent several years building a vast array of quality content on your website. And all of that work has started to pay off. You’re getting more visitors than ever before, which means more opportunities to create new customers.

But more visitors to a site can create problems. For instance, your traffic levels might get so high that your server can’t take it anymore. With such large numbers, you might find that your content’s taking longer to load. And if visitors have to wait too long they’re liable to bounce away from your website.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) may be the solution to your problems. When you use a CDN, your content gets copied to a bunch of different servers all over the world.

When somebody tries to access your content, the server closest to them activates and delivers it faster than your website could.

It’s a great idea – and one that’s sorely needed in a world where attention spans are shorter than ever. When people expect your website to load in two seconds or less, you need every tool you can get to make that happen.

Cloudflare is one of many CDNs that are vying for your business. In this review, we take a closer look at the platform and what it has to offer your WordPress website.

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare advertises itself as one of the fastest and most secure CDNs in the world. In fact, this combination of high-speed delivery and enhanced security is the platform’s unique selling point.

It’s a novel concept that makes more sense the more you think about it.

With your content spread across so many servers, the possibility of breaches in security grows higher. Cloudflare aims to minimise the risk of attacks, while delivering double the speed of the average server.

Best of all, the plugin offers many of these services for free.

That covers the basics.

But we really need to dig into the specifics to see if Cloudflare is a good option for your website.

Feature #1 – Easy Setup

The concept behind CDNs sounds pretty technical. Unless you work in the online niche, you probably don’t fully understand all this talk about extra servers and content mirroring.

The good news is that you don’t have to understand this stuff to use Cloudflare. The plugin offers a very simple setup, which guides you through the process with an automated wizard.

This wizard takes you through every step, assuming you want to handle the setup yourself. And within 72 hours, you’ll have Cloudflare up and running without ever touching any code or other technical stuff.

Feature #2 – Multiple Tiers

As mentioned, Cloudflare offers a free package, alongside several paid tiers.

The free version of this CDN works well for smaller websites. It doesn’t place any limits on bandwidth and you’ll notice drastic improvements in loading speeds. However, there are some concessions you’ll need to make.

Specifically, the free tier offers limited Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection. In a DDoS attack, large volumes of users all access your website at the same time. Their intention is to overload the servers, thus making it impossible for you to do business.

If you want stronger protection against such attacks, you’ll need to upgrade to a different tier. The Pro tier offers Cloudflare’s firewall services, as well as more responsive customer support. Plus, you get its image optimisation features. Optimising your images decreases page loading speeds even further.

It’s a great option for high-traffic websites.

Finally, you have the Business tier. This one offers advanced protection against DDoS attacks and fully-optimised content delivery. This tier also allows you to upload custom SSL certificates. If security is a major concern, this is the tier for you.

The Pro tier costs a modest $20 per month, with Business costing $200 per month at the time of writing. You also have the option of adding some custom features, at additional cost, if needed.

Feature #3 – Huge Collection of Data Centres

One of the main reasons to use a CDN is to account for a global audience. For example, you may have customers from the United States, the UK, and Australia all trying to access your website.

If your servers are all in Australia, those further afield will have to wait longer to access your content. With a CDN, you’re able to access a large network of data centres that allow your content to load faster.

So it stands to reason that the CDN with the most data centres offers the best service in terms of global speed.

This is an area where Cloudflare really stands out. The company maintains more than 150 data centres spread across the globe.

It uses a technology called Anycast to send a visitor’s request to the nearest data centre. And this large network means that, on average, you halve your page loading speeds.

This near-global coverage makes Cloudflare a great choice for multinational businesses.

Feature #4 – No Network Hardware Required

As a cloud-based CDN, Cloudflare eliminates the need for physical network hardware.

That’s particularly important if you’re aiming to grow your business over the next few years. With physical hardware, you often face limitations in terms of how quickly you can grow.

With Cloudflare, the speed of your growth isn’t an issue. The service offers unlimited bandwidth, which means it can scale based on your demand. The entire process is seamless too. You don’t have to install new hardware and put up with all the delays that come with physical equipment.

When you’re ready to scale, Cloudflare’s ready with you.

Feature #5 – It Leverages Machine Learning

Adding an extra boost to its security features, Cloudflare leverages machine learning. That means it learns automatically from any security threat presented to one of its data centres. And more importantly, what it learns gets transferred to every other data centre in the Cloudflare network.

For example, let’s say that the Sydney data centre picks up an attack. Within seconds, the knowledge gained from that attack goes out to all the other data centres.

The network also has the ability to reroute visitors to different servers if attacks shut down one of its data centres.

Simply put, this means there’s very little risk of your content becoming inaccessible. What’s more, Cloudflare learns constantly from every internet property that uses the service. That means the lessons it learns from one website will get applied to yours.

The end result is a very secure environment that constantly protects against unexpected downtime.

Feature #6 – Quality Support Services

Cloudflare operates an extensive Help Centre that answers almost any question you may have about the platform.

It’s loaded with videos and tutorials that confront the most common problems users encounter. It also has a useful search feature that will help you to find the specific piece of information you need.

And on the rare occasion you can’t find an answer, you have access to both email and phone support.

Now, we have noticed that those who pay for Cloudflare generally get faster responses to their emails. However, even those on the free tier usually get responses within 24 hours.

Is Cloudflare Right for You?

Cloudflare is one of the world’s most powerful CDNs. And perhaps more importantly, it’s also one of the most secure. As your business scales up, security becomes a key concern. You need to protect both your website and your visitors.

Cloudflare offers an array of tools that ensure you can do just that.

Its large collection of data centres and optimisation tools also make sure that you see improvements in your page loading speeds. On average, your pages will load twice as quickly as they did before.

That means fewer visitors bouncing away before they actually see your content.

The availability of a free tier means that you can try before you buy. And if you’re currently operating a small website, the free tier allows you to take advantage of a lot of what Cloudflare has to offer.

And as you scale, you can move up the tiers appropriately.

Simply put, this CDN offers everything you may need from such a service. And our Concierge Service can help you to install it on your website. Just send us a ticket to get started.

Alternatively, chat with our Right Fit Chatbot if you’re not yet a member of the Concierge Service.

About the author 

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.

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