CloudFlare

CloudFlare Secure Fast Free

CloudFlare is advertised as a means of not only enhancing your site’s security, but also a way to speed up the load times of your sites’ webpages. It works by caching you website’s content on global networks (aka The Cloud), and so when someone from half way around the world finds you site, they will be downloading the content from the closest server, as opposed from your webhost’s server. This is beneficial for you, because it reduces the time it takes to load a page, and in turn increases the chance that potential visitor will stick around … and we all know how impatient we all are : ) Another big plus here is that incase your site goes down, your visitors will still have access to it through the cached content. It is further beneficial to your web hosting company because it reduces the load on their servers, freeing up resources. As such I believe that many more web hosting companies will be offering this service in the future. Additional bonus to this setup is that because the way this works, your site should theoretically see less spam and other web based attacks.

I came upon this service through HostPapa, who has partnered with CloudFlare to make it very easy for non-technical peeps to set this up with ease, however, you can also just as well head on directly to CoudFlare and sign up for the free service … this will require you to do slightly more work, whereas HostPapa does the techie stuff for you.

So the question remains … does this actually work. Before I gave this a try I did go online and looked for some good reviews, but only found a few. Most of them, like me, were somewhat skeptical. All in all, there seems to be no downside whatsoever, and my more heavier sites seem to be running a little quicker … or so I think anyway : ) One question that I was wondering is how does this effect new content. What if I update an existing page … will it take some time for the change to propagate itself through all the servers? CloudFlare does have a “Purge” option within their settings for individual sites, so this should solve that problem if you run into it, but I haven’t had to use it yet,a nd all my pages are seemingly functioning as usual.

I haven’t been using this service long enough to give it a valid evaluation, but as it stands it does seem like a good product … i am using it on this site so you can let me know if the site is loading fast or slow … and I will be back to post some stats if there are any significant changes to observe in the future.

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