What is CloudFlare?
Posted by Alex B. on 31 May 2012 04:55 AM

What is CloudFlare and How Can I Enable It in My Account?


All HostForWeb customers, whether on a shared or cloud hosting plan, can activate the

CloudFlare CDN service enhancement via their accounts’ cPanel. It’s as easy as double-

clicking the CloudFlare icon. You will then be prompted to set up an account. Simply

agree to the Terms of Service, enter your email address and away you go!


Why enable CloudFlare?


CloudFlare is an easy to use and powerful website acceleration and protection solution.

Make your website twice as fast and enjoy protection from a range of online threats, all

at no extra charge.


How does it work? Well, in a nutshell, CloudFlare works as a proxy between our server

and the visitors to your website, caching your site’s static content. This reduces the

volume of requests that get sent to our servers, but still allows visitors to get full access

to your site.


What CloudFlare Does for You…


- Improves Website Performance: CloudFlare’s network has proxy servers located

all over the world. Instead of content being delivered directly off of the HostForWeb

servers, it is grabbed from the closest caching box. By provisioning servers that are

located closer to where your visitors are, CloudFlare improves your website’s speed.

Never lose visitors again due to delays in your site’s page load times – the faster your

site, the happier (and more likely to stay) are your visitors!


- Reduces Your CPU Usage: Because having CloudFlare enabled means fewer request to

our servers, you’ll automatically lower your overall CPU usage.


- Offers an Additional Layer of Protection: CloudFlare is all about blocking bots and

other malicious threats to your website. They collect data online (from Project Honey

Pot, other 3rd party sources and from insights gathered from their active community)

so that they are armed and ready to identify and block threats and attacks before they

get anywhere near your website. Curious about which threats are being stopped?

Your CloudFlare dashboard has all the details here:



- Reduces the Amount of Comment Spam Filtering In: The 3rd party data CloudFlare

collects also allows them to block spam comments from getting through on your site.


- Warns Your Visitors about Problems on Their Computers: If a visitor with an infected

computer tries to access your site, CloudFlare is ready and waiting to alert them to their

problem. Visitors can then take action to deal with the malware or virus lurking on their

machine. In order to access your site, the visitor just needs to go through a CAPTCHA



- Pumps up Website Statistics: You already monitor your website traffic, but what about


insights into non-human visitors? Shed a light on threats and search engine crawlers

with CloudFlare.


- Provides Automatic Offline Browsing: In the unlikely event that the server is

unavailable, CloudFlare will dip into its cache so that visitors can still access your



A few minor drawbacks


- Slight Delays for Changes: If you tweak an existing static file on your website, such as

an image for example, there might be a small delay in the change showing up live online

since CloudFlare is caching your static content. One way around this is to put CloudFlare

in development mode while you’re performing updates – this way, the adjustments

show up right away.


- Inability to Handle SSL Certificates: The part of your site that requires the use of an

SSL certificate needs to be placed on an unprotected subdomain.


- Configuration Changes May Be Required: Requests must be sent to www.$domain as

opposed to $domain. You may need to make a few tweaks to your configuration.


- Effects on Apache Log Statistics: If you use internal stats based on Apache logs,

they will reflect fewer requests to your server and as a result lower load in general,

but this should not affect the visitor experience in any way. If you’re using a web-

based JavaScript program for your statistics (such as Google Analytics), there are no

compatibility issues whatsoever with CloudFlare.


Additional resources

Want to dig a little deeper? Check out these useful links…


CloudFlare gives all HostForWeb customers FREE performance and security

enhancement for their websites. Get it activated in your account today!

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