About CloudFlare Hosting
Founded in the year 2009, CloudFlare is a web hosting company started by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn. But the company did not start as a web hosting company instead it begins as a project design company with an aim to eliminate spammers from destroying the email addresses on websites. But later on, the company shifted its focus and started working as a web host. The founders of the company have realized with time that the main reason behind the slow performance of any website is its security software. As a reason for this, the development team of the company has begun to find the ways in which the site performance can be improved along with providing the solid internet protection. This also started the Content Delivery Network, web security and site caching in the company. In this review, we will discuss all the important aspects of the company.
Summary of CloudFlare
Started as a company who keep the track of spammers who are responsible for harvesting email addresses from the websites, CloudFlare has successfully shifted its focus in 2009 in providing web hosting solutions with more security options to its clients. The company after realizing the main reason which slows down the performance of the website is the security software started working not only on minimizing performance lags but also on solutions for speeding up the performance lags. The main thing on which the company focused is that they provide all these solutions along with solid internet protection. This has given rise to a new performance and website security service which is popularly known as CloudFlare. The clients of the CloudFlare also gets faster load time of their site, better security against DDoS attacks, less bandwidth consumption, and many more features.
Pros of CloudFlare
Like every web hosting company that is present out their CloudFlare also offers some many advantages to its clients. So in this review let us first discuss some of the Pros provided by the company to its clients.
1. Advance Security options
The first advantage provided by the company to its clients is the security. When it comes to providing protection to your customers and your website, CloudFlare provides few options for the same. The main elements of security that are provided by the company include cross-site scripting i.e. XSS and SQL injection. To protect your website from the attacks that happen against the code of your website one need protection. This also helps in keeping the information of credit cards as well as account information of your customers safe. Blocking option is another security option which is provided by the company. There are a number of options provided by CloudFlare. The company provides a variety of options to their clients which includes protection against email harvesting. In addition to this, CloudFlare also provides your customers with a system that notify them in case their computers get infected with a virus from your website.
2. Management System
The website of CloudFlare is quite intuitive and neatly organized which helps its customers to use their software with ease in order to optimize the speed and security of your website. The company also provide a tool which helps you to keep the track of traffic statistics of your website so that you can notice if there is any sudden drop or an increase of the visitors on your website. Also, you can get an alert if there are any problems which will occur due to this sudden drop or increase in your visitors. In order to get updated information about the company and the product then you can also go to the community section present on the company’s website. In addition to this, for any question, the customers can also directly contact the company via email address. CloudFlare also has a company wiki for their customers which contains all the important information regarding the performance and security tools of the website. Also, the customers who have an account on CloudFlare can also add any information so that the information can be updated from time to time.
3. Great Performance
The performance features offered by the company helps its clients to improve the speed of their website. The quick load time helps you to keep your customers happy as your website will load quickly which will not make your customer wait for the website to get open. As a result of which customer will not leave your website out of irritation without even visiting it. The performance of the website also depends on the global content delivery network i.e. CDN which helps in increasing the bandwidth without needing any extra hardware. As CDN is a global network so all your clients will get good loading time irrespective of their loading time. CloudFlare also has static content caching which help in loading your website faster for return customers. Along with this, a website preloader is also offered by the company which helps in pre-caching the popular pages of your website and hence make the load time faster for your customer.
4. Wide variety of tools
A large variety of tools like cross-site scripting and protection against SQL are provided by CloudFlare to improve the performance and security of your website. Some of the most important tools provided by the company to its clients are global CDN and content caching. All the tools are present in the cloud so there is also no hassle of installing any software or hardware. Hence your website will have quick load times and will be secured for your clients.
Cons of Cloud Flare web hosting
Every company has some disadvantages, and CloudFlare is no different. In this review, we will also discuss some of the disadvantages of the CloudFlare which you may want to know before considering it as your web host.
1. CloudFlare Makes Websites Slower, Not Faster
1. During the first few years, CloudFlare used to fulfill all the needs and purposes of your website but as it gained popularity with time and more people begin to use their free plan its performance came down. Hence CloudFlare who was known for its speed performance was no longer the same.
2. CloudFlare provides advanced security features only on paid plans.
3. If you are using the free plan then CloudFlare will take 24 hours to update and propagate any analytics data. In addition to this, the company will only allow you once in a week to update your cached versions. This is quite not expected to form such a company.
4. The company has a limited amount of Stats and analytics with it. Although one can combine Google analytics with CloudFlare in order to get a detailed report on statistics.
Review on Features of CloudFlare
In this review, we will also discuss some main features provided by the company to its customers. These are:
1. Content Delivery Network (CDN) – Although many people consider CloudFlare as a CDN the fact is that CloudFlare is much more than just a CDN. CDN is a big feature provided by the company. The company has about 152 data centers which are situated in more than 74 countries present all around the world.
2. Website Optimization – CloudFlare uses technologies such as HTTP 2, TLS 1.3 etc. in order to optimize the websites. Also, the company is working to enhance the contents as well as images for the users of both desktop and mobile. In order to reduce the load times and increase the performance for all the mobile users, the company also have an enhanced Mobile SDK.
3. DNS – There is no doubt that CloudFlare is a master in DNS traffics. CloudFlare is used by approx. 38% of the traffic which is routed to the DNS.
4. Stay Available Always – CloudFlare ensures their clients on providing them availability as well as enhanced performance with the help of advanced technologies such as geo-steering and load balancing.
5. Argo and Railgun – The trademark technology of CloudFlare is Argo routing. In this technology, with the help of a private network of the content a visitor is routed via the path which is a least clogged path. A path is encrypted between the server of visitor and the closest data center with the help of Agro Tunnel.
On the other hand, the performance can be increased by 200% with the help of Railgun as it compresses the contents which cannot be cached up to 99.6%. So Agro and Railgun will help you to connect with your customers in an effective way if you have a rich quality of videos and images on your website.
6. Stream Bufferless – Everyone likes to watch a video without interruption and does not like to wait for the video to get buffer. So, CloudFlare has come up with a solution with the name CloudFlare Stream which helps you to load the high-quality video in zero time.
7. Anycast Network and Spectrum – In order to save your website from the DDoS attacks, CloudFlare has Anycast network which has a capacity of 15 Tb/sec. The Anycast network firstly absorbs all the DDoS attacks and get them dispersed all over the world in a geographical way. In order to protect the TCP applications, the company has also come up with Spectrums.
8. DNSSEC - In order to protect the data of your website, the company has come up with DNSSEC. This helps in stopping the stealing of data as well as protecting the website from the hackers.
9. Web Application Firewall (WAF) – In order to protect web applications from any kind of vulnerabilities, CloudFlare has a Web Application Firewall.
10. Rate Limiting – All the invalid request are detected as well as stopped by the CloudFlare and only the valid or legitimate requests are passed on. Hence protecting your website from an unknown attack.
11. Orbit – All the issues of security which are faced by IoT i.e. Internet of Things are solved by Orbit technology of CloudFlare.
Review on plans of CloudFlare
Now we will review the plans that are offered by CloudFlare to their clients. There are in total four different pricing plans offered by the company. These are:
1. Cloudflare Free
2. Cloudflare Pro
3. Cloudflare Business
4. Cloudflare Enterprise
Free plan vs Paid Plans
It is very interesting to see that CloudFlare offers a free as well as many paid plans. The customers will be very happy to get a free plan from the company. Full access to the global CDN, SSL encryption, a wide range of security features and powerful reports of statistics are provided along with the free plan. Although the free plan also has certain limitations like weekly website crawls, 24 hours to change any analytics updates as well as weekly activation period. The customers also get Unmetered Mitigation of DDoS, Access to Cloudflare Apps, I’m Under Attack™ mode, Access to account Audit Logs and Web application firewall (WAF) with CloudFlare rulesets along with the free plan of CloudFlare.
The paid plan that is offered by the CloudFlare is named as Pro, Business and Enterprise. These plans provide better site protection, mobile optimization, more frequent site crawling and DDoS protection. The customer can also upload their own custom shared SSL. In addition to this, 24/7 customer support is available only on the top tier plan.
Although the basic protection is provided by the CloudFlare on their basic free plan and is best for newbies who want a small website with limited visitors whereas CloudFlare recommends its entry-level paid plan for the users who want a professional website.
Do we recommend CloudFlare?
After the whole review, we will definitely recommend CloudFlare to all the people who want a reliable performance platform along with a global presence. CloudFlare offers a variety of features that anyone can ask for. It has all that a good web host should have. The company also provide so many features for free of cost. CloudFlare is a full package of security solution, feature rich CDN and easy to use the platform.