A CDN is a Content Delivery Network that speeds up web performance by caching content on servers worldwide.
You can think of it as a mini data center in every major city. It stores your website’s most popular content, so visitors get it quickly no matter where they live.
A CDN works because your ISP usually only has one connection to the internet.
If you’re hosted in Los Angeles, and your customer is in New York, they would have to communicate with your server twice—once to request the data and a second time to receive it.
But with a CDN, several connections from all over the world work together to provide efficient, fast access for customers no matter where they are.
Here’s how Cloudflare CDN helps make your site faster.
What is a CDN?
In short, a CDN is a service that allows sites to load pages faster and make them more secure.
Web giants like Google and Facebook already have massive internet infrastructure that provides seamless performance.
However, millions of small companies and home pages still suffer from poor performance and may not optimize the modern web.
These small, unprofitable sites require super-fast performance to be competitive in their market against the web giants, and they need to be protected from online security threats such as malware and attacks.
Cloudflare provides a CDN that serves and protects these websites from outside attacks and safeguards traffic from the many providers out there in the wild.
How a CDN Speeds Up Your Site
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) speed up the delivery of websites and web applications by taking requests from a web server and delivering the requested information as quickly as possible to end-users.
It’s much faster than sending the information over a single TCP/IP connection that’s also a bottleneck on all kinds of websites.
A typical website will have several resources in various locations worldwide, and they’re typically connected via the internet.
While data traveling through the internet is relatively efficient, it’s also shared by numerous other users.
The fewer users, the more data you have to send to each.
How does Cloudflare work?
Before we discuss CloudFlare’s technical implementation, let’s look at how the product works from a technical perspective.
At the bottom of your web page (if not visible), you will see the usual red exclamation point-style warning that the current security level is high (you’re not using HTTPS yet).
If you don’t enable HTTPS, this exclamation point may change to green.
Cloudflare uses HTTPS, HTTPS Everywhere, HSTS and SSL Secured POP to secure your traffic from vulnerabilities.
When Cloudflare detects that a browser has visited your site before (using HSTS), the website will redirect the user to CloudFlare’s CloudFront distribution.
Why should I use Cloudflare?
In short, if you run a large website or business and want to improve the speed of your site significantly, CloudFlare’s service is likely to be of interest.
CloudFlare’s CDN layer acts as a middle man to your server hosting and third-party websites.
For example, if you run a site that generates a lot of traffic, many of the sites in the cloudflare.com CDN will be hosted on your site instead.
This means you have many more sites sending more traffic, and your servers will load faster.
Another benefit of using CloudFlare is that they maintain a global network of large data centers protected with secure DDoS-protection services, keeping your websites, applications, and services safe from outside attacks.
Who can benefit from Cloudflare?
Anyone who wants to speed up their website and has web server requirements, such as fewer than ten servers or no CDN at all, should consider using Cloudflare.
Anyone who has a heavily loaded website by data-heavy sites (music stores, ecommerce sites, social networking sites, etc.) will benefit from Cloudflare.
Their Fastest CDN plan is ideal for web admins with a minimal site or who are doing content-heavy web apps like ecommerce that consume high bandwidth and have very high volumes of data.
This type of website needs very fast CDN and ideally doesn’t need to deal with other security risks such as malicious hackers or nation-states.
What are the limitations of Cloudflare?
The CDN is an open-source project with a heavy contributor base, so limitations will always be.
There is a dedicated forum for identifying and reporting CloudFlare’s limitations.
The short answer is this: anything outside of the CDN security and performance features has minimal functionality.
The excellent news is Cloudflare doesn’t have any premium features or any licensing fees.
There are no limits on the number of websites you can host on their CDN, and all plans include free bandwidth and an unlimited number of domains.
What are the Cloudflare CDN (Flexible Hosting) benefits?
CloudFlare’s flexible hosting allows you to set up a wide range of websites and change your hosting options at any time.
CloudFlare’s cloud security and performance-enhancing CDN are as robust as free.
Don’t let speed be your only reason for choosing Cloudflare. This service offers an excellent service that’s both secure and fast.
It’s one of the best website builders globally and has a massive community of users.
For the customer experience, the support team was friendly and responsive, quickly explaining how to take advantage of their hosting and cloud security features, such as blocking spam or abusive comments.