Cloudflare

Cloudflare 101

Used by millions of websites globally, Cloudflare is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to improve your website’s speed and enhance security against online threats – like DDoS attacks. As a Content Delivery Network (CDN), Cloudflare helps business of all sizes boost their online assets through unique solutions that can be leveraged for a big impact with little user effort. Any business or website owner that is looking to optimize their content for speed and security should be using Cloudflare to keep up with the modern demands that internet users have grown to expect.

Cloudflare

What is Cloudflare?

Virtual Private Network Acronmy

Although sometimes confused with other hosting providers, Cloudflare instead works in conjunction with your website host as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to transfer your website’s visitors to a nearby server to ensure they have the best experience possible. By functioning as a CDN, Cloudflare also provides security benefits while reducing loading times through minification and unique optimization tools. Without these features added to a website, analytics data may show high bounce rates as users struggle to use the website properly or experience downtimes due to cyber-attacks.

With a robust free option, website administrators can connect their website to Cloudflare. Once this happens, the service requests a copy of the website from the hosting provider so it can be easily accessed through Cloudflare at any time. Simply taking the time to connect your website to Cloudflare’s free CDN is often enough to start experiencing faster loading times, and, while there are paid options available, they likely are not necessary for a positive experience with the service.

Do Not Waste Your Time on Multiple Plugins

Web security and optimization can often be challenging for website administrators and, historically, required intense amounts of time and a variety of plugins. Through Cloudflare, these problems can be accounted for quickly by implementing a solution that makes achieving these goals easy. If you are serious about enhancing your website speed or security, Cloudflare is the best option to simplify the process and start seeing real results fast.

Coudflare security

What Are the Benefits of Cloudflare?

Now that you know what Cloudflare is, you may be wondering what benefits the CDN service can provide for your website or why you may be interested in utilizing the service. Whether you have an informational website, eCommerce website or a simple blog, there are many great features included with the free Cloudflare version that can help improve your websites security and user experience. Some of the benefits you can expect once implementing Cloudflare for your own website include:

SSL Certificate

SSL Certificates

There tends to be a common misconception that only eCommerce websites need an SSL certificate. However, SSL should be used on every website due to its status as a ranking signal for search engines like Google. With an SSL certificate, users can rest easy knowing that their information or data is encrypted between the user’s computer and the server that the website is being accessed from. Cloudflare offers a free SSL certificate and can easily transfer your website to an HTTPS status to remove the “Not Secure” warning displayed with your website’s pages.

Image Optimization

Image Optimization

Did you know that around 60% of a web page’s total loading time is consumed by images? This could include a combination of detailed background images, custom header images, supplemental images or any other images that may be found on the page. Cloudflare Polish is an included tool that can optimize website images to a smaller size and enable faster loading speeds for visitors. As a bonus, website administrators can choose to compress as lossless or lossy to target their unique needs. Any website that takes advantage of images to enhance their user experience should actively be using this tool.

Code minification

Minification

Many websites found online have unwanted characters on their pages that are not required for service – like whitespaces, newline characters, comments or block delimiters. Using a minification tool through Cloudflare can help remove these unnecessary characters and, in turn, reduce the overall content load to help pages load even faster. Currently Cloudflare’s tools support minification for HTML, JavaScript and CSS through an “auto minify” process. To see changes take effect immediately and reduce the overall file size of a website’s source code, cache should be purged following minification.

DNS Protection

DNS Security

The Domain Name System (DNS) works to transfer the physical IP address of a website to a recognizable domain name. This helps users find the websites they are looking for faster without needing to memorize a numeric string of numbers to find the information they are looking for or interact with a website. Through a tool called DNSSEC, Cloudflare is able to protect a website against forged DNS answers and protects the website with digitally signed DNS records to ensure the requests being received are the same as the ones published by the website to thwart forgery attempts.

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Budget-Friendly

Cloudflare offers a free plan that offers basic protection from DDoS attacks and provides a shared SSL certificate. For most small businesses and professional websites, the team at MyVCMO primarily recommends this plan because it is budget-friendly and provides the core requirements needed for a website to be secure and optimized for users. In the rare situation that additional features may be needed, Cloudflare offers a range of competitive plans that meet various budgetary restraints or technology requirements.

Ready to Get Started?

Finding the right security and optimization tools for your website should not be a challenge. The team at Maennche Virtual CMO has successfully implemented Cloudflare services for countless websites. In our experience, most websites can use the free plan to achieve their goals. So, this is always our recommendation in most cases. If you are ready to take advantage of these tools but are not sure how to get started, our team is here to help.

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Matthew Maennche

Chief Strategist

With over two decades of in-the-trenches marketing experience, Matthew Maennche’s views on developing and supporting a successful business are fundamentally different from the norm. As a developer and strategist, Maennche has helped thousands of businesses of all sizes, both domestic and international, take their organizations to the next level.

Matthew also spends time giving back to the local business community as a volunteer, mentor, and leader for the local chapter of SCORE.