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July 24 2017
Products and Services

What Is Cloudflare And How Can It Help My Website?

PostedMonday July 24th 2017

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a global CDN (Content Distribution Network) that aims to provide increases in website performance, security and added availabilities such as caching, load-balancing and DDoS protection. Cloudflare is designed to give your visitors a faster and more responsive experience when they visit your website and best of all, it’s completely free.

Cloudflare’s network has properties in place that cache your static content, protect you from bad hosts, and preserves resources such as load and bandwidth that are integral to server performance.

Given the fact traffic may be routed overseas by using Cloudflare’s free plan, there are several positive reasons to use Cloudflare, as they still aim to eradicate a wide variety of issues that plague web pages today.

How Will Cloudflare Affect My Website?

Cloudflare will also aim to eradicate any negative occurrences such as SQL injections, DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service) and spam comments that may plague your contact form. 

Depending on the hosting plan you have, you may be allocated a specific amount of bandwidth (sending information to and from the site). Cloudflare aims to filter out and reject spam bots which will preserve the majority of your bandwidth, and also allows you to accurately determine who’s visiting your site and what your website’s conversion rates are. Without spambots, your website’s statistics are much easier to analyse.

In conjunction with Cloudflare Railgun, you can expect a 90% decrease in TTFB (Time to First Byte) connections, as well as increased HTML load times.

Is there anything I need to know about Cloudflare’s routing?

Since internet service providers (ISP) such as Telstra and Optus no longer peer their network with Cloudflare, the free and pro service results in traffic being routed through overseas platforms such as Singapore and Hong Kong.

However, the way your traffic is routed is also dependent on your ISP, as major ISP companies such as Telstra and Optus, don’t participate in any peering exchanges local to Australia whilst some do.

Despite the fact this may not be ideal for Australian traffic, any websites or companies with their customer base overseas will benefit tremendously from Cloudflare’s free service.

If you want to utilise Cloudflare’s intelligent routing network and the vast majority of your clientele is Australian based, it may be worth investing in a Business or Enterprise plan. This will ensure that your routing does not end up with upstream providers in other countries, and will stay local to Australia.

Irrespective of this, there are still features of Cloudflare that are worth using, and are mentioned throughout the post.

How Do I Get Started With Cloudflare?

The best part about Cloudflare’s free service is its simplicity. To enable Cloudflare, all that’s required is to enable it through cPanel is to set up your Cloudflare zone as a ‘CNAME Setup’

All existing customers on our Shared Hosting and Reseller Hosting plans can enable Cloudflare through their cPanel account by clicking the application ‘Cloudflare’ and setting up a CNAME setup. You can also enable Railgun once you have set up Cloudflare as a CNAME setup. If you’re interested in finding out more about Railgun, you can read more about it in our post, ‘What is Railgun and how do I use it?

Railgun works to compress content (more so, uncacheable content) on the site. Railgun aims to speed up the connection between Cloudflare’s server and where the data has been requested from and since the data is served directly from the data centre containing the cached content, the content is being viewed by the visitor closest to this server.

Sounds interesting! How Do I Set It Up?

Setting up Cloudflare is easy. All you need is access to your cPanel account, which you can also login to via VIPControlSimply:

  1. Login to your cPanel Account
  2. Find the ‘Cloudflare’ icon in cPanel
  3. Sign up as a new customer.
  4. Set it up as a CNAME setup by clicking the ‘CNAME Setup’ button in cPanel
  5. Sit back and enjoy the wonders of Cloudflare and its awesome features.

If you experience any issues in regards to setting up Cloudflare as a CNAME setup or Railgun, you can always submit an eTicket via your VIPControl account to our Australian based technical support team who operate 24/7 and can assist you at any time of the day.

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