Cloudflare – What is it and why would I care?

I have been using Cloudflare for a long time.ย  It is one of my go-to services and I use it to protect all of the public services I run for myself and other sites/ organizations.

The basic premise of what Cloudflare do is that they are a distributed Web Application Firewall (WAF) and CDN but they also offer so much more. Because they have a large number of POP’s they can cache and push content closer to your end users to give them a better experience. This also offloads work from your firewalls, DNS, Web and Database servers.ย  At present they have 139 sites globally allowing you to host a site anywhere and get good global performance.

Cloudflare has an amazing free tier so you can get started easily.ย  ย I use this to host all of my public DNS records. So what does that look like?

[codeblocks name=’host -a’]

As you can see they have given me 2 Nameserver records (Matt and Fay) and also 2 A records Neither of which are my source web server.

Then within the Cloudflare portal, you input where the real webserver lives cloudflare will do the rest.ย  My blog is still a little bit light on readership but you can see Cloudflare handling the spike in requests.

Cache in action

They are also handling the SSL cert for me and the redirect so all traffic is HTTPS to my site allowing me to close port 80 on the firewall all within the free tier.

If you are using WordPress I would strongly recommend the Cloudflare plugin is installed.ย  This way when you make changes to your site it will automatically purge the cache if required

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