Development and Design

CloudFlare – A Free CDN To Boost Your Website Speed

CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) are network of servers located on various parts of the world, in which each server tries to deliver the content to the user who is nearest to it. This way the delivering takes very less time, instead of relying on the single server for the whole world. These CDN server catches the static contents like web page themes, images, style sheets and other static scripts and content which will be same for most of the pages in the particular website. As usual the dynamic contents are retrieved from the original server. If you want to buy a CDN for a small website or for your blog it costs much greater than your hosting cost. Even though the costs came down in recent past years, it is still far from our hands to pluck. So what to do? Here comes the free CDN.

Free CDN & Easy Setup

CloudFlare is a new age CDN provider which provides CDN and other services that boosts your website for free. The most astonishing part of CloudFlare is, it doesn’t need any complex set up, just changing the DNS name server to their server is the only thing you have to do to utilize the benefits of CloudFlare. After changing your name server it only took  approximately 24-48 hours for CloudFlare to detect your site.

How It Works?

CloudFlare has 14 data centers around the world, soon after your site is recognized by these servers, they watch for the http requests generated and content delivered from your original server. The static files requested by the browsers are cached in the cloudflare’s servers for future use. The data collected based on these is synced over all the 14 data centers over the world. So now your content is distributed all over the world by storing it in the CloudFlare’s servers.

How It Speeds Up Your Website’s Loading Time?

Now consider a new user requesting a page from your server, the requests pings the CloudFlare’s nameservers (As we have already changed it to point CloudFlare’s Name servers)  the static content in the posted requests are processed by one of the 14 servers which is nearest to the user location. So the delivering of these static content takes very less time than usual as it is delivered from the shortest distance possile. The other requests from the user are forwarded to your site’s server. So your server has to process only the dynamic content of the pages, not all. This reduces server load, and increases the response time of the server.

To summarize the above process, cloudflare reduces approximately 60 percent of the requests to your server and half of the bandwidth from your server.

Other Features of CloudFlare That Helps In Boosting The Performance Of Your Site

CloudFlare Optimizer –  It optimizes your page by combining the javascripts of your pages (which includes cross site scripts like ‘facebook like’, ‘google ads’ and many others) to lower the request numbers, compresses the data from the server to minimize the need of bandwidth to deliver the data and enabling browser caching of content to save the future requests.

Security – CloudFlare servers handles the requests that considered as threats and saves your site from hackers and attacks.

CloudFlare Analytics – The analytical results provided by them are 100% accurate than JavaScript based site watchings (Like Google Analytics) . It won’t miss out a single request and single KB of data.

Automatic IPv6 – CloudFlare makes your site visible to a visitor from a IPv6 network. You don’t have to do any special settings to get this feature.

Integrability – CloudFlare works with other CDNs and other services.

Concluding is running along with CloudFlare for past one month and the result were incredible. We can able to save 30 to 40 percent of our bandwidth and nearly 45 percent of requests with the help of CloudFlare. We Strongly recommend to use cloudflare. Note: You need to change your domain’s name servers to point CloudFlare’s server on your own risk.

About the author

Sakthi Tharan

Alpha Geek | Blogger by interest | Former Web Developer & Designer | Research Scholar | Likes to share what he learned.