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There is no second thought that everybody hates slow websites. Speed is one of the essential factor to consider in online business. If your website is slow, then you’re likely to stay behind. If you don’t know, Google considers website speed into the account while deciding your Search Engine rankings, because Google loses some percentage of visitors with each millisecond delay. Also, those websites with good loading speed has very low bounce rate and high conversion rate.
So in order to get high rankings and provide best user experience, you need to speed up your site. There are several ways to speed up your website like; buying a quality web host, optimizing design, optimizing the images, adding CDN, etc. Here the efficient method to speed up your site is by adding CDN (Content Delivery Network).
As defined in Wikipedia; a content delivery network is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers across the internet. Basically the main purpose of CDN is to provide high performance and high availability to the end-users. For example; my website servers are located in USA, so when a user from India or any other country try to open my site, it takes a little time-delay while loading. So with the help of CDN provider we can increase our site speed.
There are several content Delivery Network providers like MaxCDN, CDNetworks, EdgeCast, Amazon CloudFront, etc. but these are usually not free.
Speed Up your Site with Free CloudFlare CDN. Cloudflare is one of the best free available Content Delivery Network and Website security provider. Apart from being a CDN provider, cloudflare is known for providing high website security. For this reason, many choose cloudflare.
Cloudflare was founded on 2009 by Matthew Prince. Cloudflare currently severs over 785,000 website including this site. I’m using cloudflare since three months, and the overall performance of my site has increased a lot.
Cloudflare’s Main CDN Features
- Cloudflare makes your site faster: Cloudflare has 23 data centers around the world. Its CDN automatically caches website’s static files
- Saves 60% bandwidth and reduces server request up to 65%
- No charges for bandwidth consumption
- Easy setup: no complicated setup process
- Page Rules: Page Rules is a powerful new set of tools that allows you to control how CloudFlare works on your site on a page-by-page basis.
- Always Online: This is one of the best feature I like about cloudflare; this feature enables you to keep your site online even if your server goes offline.
- Works with other CDNs; if you’re already using another CDN, you can use cloudflare without issues.
Cloudflare’s Optimizer Features
- Rocket Loader; automatically optimizes your pages to minimize the number of network connections
Cloudflare also provides Paid Pro and business packages which comes with other great features like Session optimization, SPDY, Railgun, etc.
As I said above, the best thing about cloudflare is its exceptional security features. Recently, Cloudflare saved thousands of websites from major botnet attack.
Cloudflare saves your website from malicious spam bots to High-profiled DOS attacks. Moreover, it protects your site from SQL Infection, cross site scripting, email harvesters, etc. Cloudflare’s technology automatically detects new attacks that arise against any website on its network. Then cloudflare starts to block the attack for the particular website and the entire community.
My website used to get lots of spam comments, but after I installed cloudflare it almost reduced to zero. Cloudflare displays Captcha security to suspicious IP’s that try to visit your site.
Easy to control security settings
Cloudflare’s control panel is so easy that anyone without any technical knowledge can understand the security options. You can set your security to the level you want, if you set it as ‘High’, your website will be protected from all kind of security threats. And cloudflare shows you the list of threats that have been stopped from reaching your site. Also, you can block a particular IP or a whole network from accessing your site.
By stopping unwanted malicious visitors and bots before they get to your website, you save bandwidth and server resources. If you’re on a shared server, I recommend you to use cloudflare.
Similar to Google Analytics, Cloudflare provides Analytic feature that can show you the Website traffic, search engine crawlers, threats, in real-time.
Setting Up CloudFlare
Setting up cloudflare for your website is very easy. It only takes some steps. If you’re on Bluehost or Hostgator hosting, you can directly activate CloudFlare through Cpanel with couple of clicks. But if your domain is non www. (example.com), you have to activate directly signing up for Cloudflare.
Step 1: Go to Cloudflare and Signup for an account.
Step 2: On entering dashboard, fill your website URL and Click ‘Add website’.
Step 3: CloudFlare will automatically scan your domain records.
Step 4: Select the Plan you want ( free plan is enough unless you run a large business site).
Step 5: Configure DNS: CloudFlare automatically adds your DNS records, check to make sure everything is correct.
Step 6: Updating Name-servers: Now this is important step, Cloudflare will provide you different nameservers which you have to update through your domain registrant.
Step 7: Almost finished, wait for 24-48 hours for nameservers to propagate. you might face some downtime during these hours.
Configuration with WordPress
Even though CloudFlare works quite well with WordPress, Some WordPress users facing some issues with Cache Plugins. If you’re using a W3 Total Cache plugin, you’re lucky; Cloudflare can be easily integrated with W3TC plugin.
On W3TC plugin settings, enter your cloudflare email and Cloudflare API. That’s it. Also, you can set security profile directly from there. However, make sure you don’t activate Minify option on both sides; plugin and Cloudflare dashboard at once. It will cause some issues.
As i mentioned above, Website speed is very Essential. Cloudflare is the best available free Content Delivery Network with advanced security features. You don’t have to spend a penny to secure and fasten your site. I highly recommend everyone to use it.
If you have any question regarding setting up cloudflare, feel free to contact me or drop a comment below.