Just a few short months ago, the thought of a company offering a free CDN was pretty absurd to me. After using it for a few months, I’m definitely a convert. CloudFlare is a CDN plus security service that offers a free tier. I know what you’re thinking, this free tier must be tiny, right? Would you consider 30TB (Yes, that’s terabytes!) per month to be tiny? I don’t. Their free tier is good for up to 100Mbps of bandwidth (30TB a month) according to this Hacker News Post. The only catch on the free tier is that you can’t use SSL certificates. So long as you’re not running a secure server, you’re good.
How many of you pay a service provider for DNS? Some domain registrars provide this service these days, but you don’t typically get anycast DNS service when you use your registrar’s DNS service. Anycast makes your DNS faster and more reliable. This is a service I happily paid for for many years from DNSMadeEasy.com. DNSMadeEasy is still a great service, but I barely need it now that CloudFlare provides the same thing for free as part of their base service.
So now CloudFlare is giving me free CDN and free DNS service. What’s next?
Web Performance Optimization
Now that they’ve optimized your content delivery and given your domain anycast DNS service, the next option is to optionally organize your site resources for you such that they will load quicker. This part of the service is fully optional.
Sometimes I use this service, sometimes I don’t. I still prefer to do it manually for best results, but sometimes it comes in handy as an option.
Here’s where CloudFlare makes their money. If you have a popular service, sometimes mean people think it’s a good time to take your service offline by sending you more traffic than your equipment can handle. It’s called a DoS attack or Denial of Service attack. And then there’s DoS’ sinister cousin, the DDoS attack or Distributed Denial of Service attack. I’ve dealt with attacks like these for clients of mine for years and it’s not a fun process. CloudFlare basically shields your site from these attacks. You don’t get it for free, this is where you start to pay, but if you need it, it’s a life saver.
The setup just couldn’t be any simpler.
- Create an Account
- Change your domain name’s name server records
- Start enjoying speed & security
Seriously, that’s it. It makes me smile every time I do this for clients.
So there you have it. You can be rocking your own CloudFlare in minutes. Go give it a shot. Then when you have your cheezer grin on after performing speed tests on your site, write them an email and tell them RubyDeveloper.com sent you. :-)