Cloudflare is one of the internet's biggest networks and a service that millions of websites are using right now. Naturally, there is a good reason why that is — many of them, in fact. Today, we would give you several reasons why you should consider adding it to your site right now if you don't have it already.
What is Cloudflare, and what does it do?
Cloudflare is a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and security company that can help any business run its website much faster and add extra security. The service can even protect entire teams, and this functionality is free for up to 50 users.
In other words, if you run a small company with under 50 employees, you can protect all of them without extra costs.
Cloudflare has the power to secure and ensure the reliability of your resources, which includes websites, applications, APIs, devices, and more.
Now, you might think — why should I use that? My website is loading just fine, and I never had any problems with security.
But, before you go down that road, consider one thing — the speed and security of your website are its most valuable assets. That means that you can never have enough of them.
The internet is fast, and people using it are even faster. That means that time is of the essence, and studies have shown that websites that take more than a few seconds to load could quickly lose visitors' attention and interest.
If your site starts taking a bit more time to load due to the amount of content you will upload over time, you might begin losing visitors for that single reason.
And, we also mentioned the matter of security. Even if you never had any security breaches or other types of issues, that doesn't mean that you never will. The internet is vast, and online threats can lurk behind any corner. Dangers such as DDoS attacks can hit anyone at any time, and over the last decade, they have been growing more extensive, more powerful, more damaging, and more numerous.
Massive DDoS attacks are no longer a rarity, as the Internet of Things left plenty of devices for hackers to hijack and use for their purposes. You need to make sure that your website can handle them, and that is where Cloudflare comes in.
Let us first briefly discuss what Cloudflare is and what exactly it does, before we move on to the benefits of adding it to your website.
The benefits of using Cloudflare
As you may know, your web page is probably filled with unwanted characters taking extra space and forcing the users, browsers to read them to open the page entirely. This process doesn't last for very long, but you will likely want to reduce all the junk and clean up the files when every second count.
In doing so, you would reduce their size and make it easier for the page to load. These unnecessary aspects usually include things like comments, whitespaces, block delimiters, newline characters, and more.
2) Preventing hacking attempts and brute-force attacks
As mentioned, hackers are everywhere these days, and they come in all shapes and sizes. You have professionals, such as the state-backed hackers who target entire governments, as well as amateurs who are trying to hack their school system to change their grades.
There are infinite shades between the two, but one thing that ties them together is that they will do anything to get what they want. If they happen to want information, money, or even to bring some more chaos into the world, they can and will attack anyone they want. Some day that anyone might be you.
It is also worth mentioning that they have various hacking methods and tools at their disposal, so you need all the help you can get.
With Cloudflare, you can filter out most of the spam attacks and prevent them from ever reaching the server you use. You can fend off DDoS attacks, comment spam, SQL injections, and more. That will make your website safer, and more importantly — it will prevent it from crashing.
3) Image Optimization
One thing that pretty much every website has and needs to have are images. However, images also slow down the loading process quite severely; thus, your website's aesthetics negatively impact its functionality.
And, as mentioned, if your site needs only a second more to load than what your visitor is willing to tolerate, they could give up on waiting and leave your site before they can even check it out.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this if you use Cloudflare. The service offers Cloudflare Polish, a feature that can help with optimizing images to a smaller size. As a result, your site will load faster while keeping all the photos you uploaded.
Of course, you can choose the effectiveness of the impact, and so you can either compress lossless or lossy. Also, the Polish feature supports WebP compression, which is available if you have a PRO plan.
3) Free CDN
The next significant benefit of using Cloudflare is having free CDN. Integrating it is extremely easy, and it will not change the URL of your images, nor will it show URLs related to the cdn.domain.com. You will be able to use it without any SEO or performance-related problems.
CDN will significantly boost the speed of your visitors' load time, thus improving your chances of having the visitor browse through your websites and check out more of its pages.
For those who might not know, a CDN — Content Delivery Network — is just what the name suggests — a network of servers that stores your website's files in different locations across the world.
When someone attempts to load your website, the network will immediately withdraw these files from the physically closest servers to the individual's real-world location.
Since the files have a shorter distance to travel, the site will load faster, and you will end up with a customer satisfied with your site's performance, which is ultimately beneficial for your business. And yes, Cloudflare offers this service for free, so definitely don't lose the opportunity to make use of it.
5) Cloudflare Analytics
A lot of people tend to use Google Analytics for retrieving data useful for their website's performance, and for those who can do it, that is perfectly fine. However, Google Analytics is not available in every country. Another issue is that numerous privacy extensions block any report going to Google Analytics.
Alternatively, you can use Cloudflare's own Analytics service, which can tell you all you need to know about your site. That includes things about how many people have visited your site, where they are from, and more.
Best of all, this feature cannot be blocked by extension or anything similar, so you don't have to worry about compatibility.
6) Browser Caching
Another way to speed up your customers' loading time is to enable visitor browsers to cache the static resources for a more extended period.
Basically, through Cloudflare, you can instruct your visitor's browser to remember some aspects of your website that do not change. When the visitor comes again, these aspects will be loaded from the browser instead of servers where the data is stored.
That will mean that the data that does have to arrive from the server travels in lower quantity, and so, it is loading faster. Third-party plugins that try to leverage browser caching exist, but they are less effective than Cloudflare's Caching option, which you can find in the Caching tab.
7) Free SSL
Apart from the CDN, Cloudflare also provides you with free SSL. This is not only needed for eCommerce sites, as you may have been led to believe. User privacy is necessary for every website, and Google has been pushing it with all its might.
That is why sites with SSL enabled have an advantage when someone searches via Google. If you run an eCommerce site or some other website that requires user privacy, SSL is crucial. But, even if you don't, protecting your users is critical, as this is one of the ways of the modern internet.
Thanks to Cloudflare, you won't have to pay for getting SSL — it will be available to you for free, so do consider it for this reason, also.
These seven advantages are only some that Cloudflare brings, and there is much, much more. However, from what we have listed here, you can already see that there are plenty of advantages and benefits to using Cloudflare, as your sites' load times will be lightning-fast, while they will be more secure than without it.
You can boost security in other ways, of course, but it is easier to use a single all-in-one solution than to have to combine several specialized plugins and services, so do give it a chance.
You can start for free and move to more premium plans when your business grows.