In this article, you’ll learn how to create a free account on Cloudflare with a simple sign up process that takes less than 5 minutes. You’ll learn how to successfully create an account and then add your first website in simple steps. That’s, if you as a webmaster, wish to increase your web performance & security.
Generally, the public Internet does its best to deliver your content — but it can’t account for network congestion. Leading to slow load times and a degraded end-user experience. The Cloudflare network is different. It routes over 10 trillion global requests per month.
Cloudflare was created to ease these difficulties and empower users with the resources to make their sites, apps, and blogs safe and performant. So, if you’re a pro web developer, you can start straight away!
All you can do all this through the use of a powerful edge network that provides content and other services as close to you as possible. Meaning, you’ll get the information as fast as possible. So, what is it and how does it work? Why does every webmaster need it for their web performance & security?
What is Cloudflare?
People use Cloudflare services for the purposes of increasing the security and performance of their web sites and services. It’s on a mission to help build a better Internet. Now that it’s one of the biggest networks operating on the Internet.
Today, businesses, non-profits, bloggers, and anyone with an Internet presence boast faster, more secure websites and apps thanks to Cloudflare. Now that it’s one of the world’s largest networks.
More than 25 million Internet properties are on its platform, and its network is growing by tens of thousands each day. Cloudflare powers Internet requests for ~15% of the Fortune 1,000 for more than 1 billion unique IP addresses per day.
Cloudflare secures and ensures the reliability of your external-facing resources such as websites, APIs, and applications. It protects your internal resources such as behind-the-firewall applications, teams, and devices. And it is your best platform for developing globally scalable applications.
How does Cloudflare work?
First of all, in the early days of the Internet, when you wanted to load a website, your request would go from your computer to a server, which would then return the web page you requested.
If too many requests came in at once, that server could be overwhelmed and crash, becoming unresponsive to anyone trying to access the resources it hosted. This made it difficult for owners of Internet properties to provide content that was fast, safe, and reliable.
You see, Albert Einstein figured out some time ago that the speed of light is a hard upper limit on how fast you can communicate. And there comes a point when the only thing you can do is move the content and computation closer!
That’s why Cloudflare puts data centers in more than 200 cities all across the world: to give you what you’re looking for quickly! It also provides security by protecting Internet properties from a malicious activity like DDoS attacks, malicious bots, and other nefarious intrusions.
In the end, this allows website owners to easily insert applications into their websites without needing to be a developer.
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The other key features include:
- Security: Firewall, DDoS protection, rate limiting, bot management, VPN, and more as explained more in their security details.
- Performance: Intelligent routing, mobile & image optimization, video, cache, and other more elaborate performance details.
- Reliability: As can be seen, from their reliability details, there is more load balancing, DNS, and even a virtual backbone.
Dynamic Content Delivery:
Almost half of the online consumers will abandon a page that takes more than 2 seconds to load.
End-user experience needs to be immersive, interactive, and real-time – regardless of their location, device, or current network conditions.
- Congestion Avoidance: Routing decisions informed by real-time network conditions.
- TCP Optimizations: Persistent TCP connections further minimize latency for non-cacheable content.
- Global Support: Network routes supported across the entire Cloudflare network, including China.
- Tiered Caching: Content served from adjacent data centers reduces cache-miss rates, server load, and end-to-end latency.
Secure your team and devices:
Behind-the-firewall applications and devices are foundational to the work of your internal teams. Not to mention, the recent surge in remote work is testing the limits of many organizations’ VPN and other hardware solutions.
Cloudflare for Teams has everything your team members need. Especially, to securely work on corporate applications from any location or device — without a VPN. They’ll provide you with Cloudflare:
Access: Protect behind-the-firewall internal applications, like Jira and Confluence, SAP, or in-house developed applications, without needing a hardware VPN.
Gateway: Protect corporate devices from visiting malware and phishing sites, and enforce other corporate web policies for your organization.
Build globally scalable applications:
When it comes to— build globally scalable applications, the traditional model of building cloud applications requires you to set up containers and deploy to zones.
Should your application or website surge in popularity, you have to manage the scaling process. Cloudflare Workers change that! You write the code, and they handle the rest.
With serverless functions, storage at the edge, and instant static sites, you can build your applications directly onto their network.
You’ll Get Detailed Analytics:
What I like most about them is that their services run silently in the background. Keeping many of the websites and services you depend on up and running.
Bearing in mind, knowledge is power, the analytics within the dashboard gives you an in-depth look at the performance improvements achieved using Argo Smart Routing.
The detailed analytics include:
- Comprehensive histogram
- Comparative traffic response time with Argo enabled
- Measurable global performance improvements
Enabling Argo activates Argo Smart Routing and Tiered Caching, reducing Internet latency on average by more than 30% and connection errors by 27%.
What is Argo Smart Routing?
The Cloudflare network provides Argo Smart Routing with a unique vantage point to detect real-time congestion. And then route web traffic across the fastest and most reliable network paths.
Argo Smart Routing is a service by Cloudflare that uses optimized routes across its network — to deliver responses to your users more quickly, reliably, and securely.
Read and learn How to Install Cloudflare on WordPress the Right Way
It’s important to realize, your Internet provider, and anyone else listening in on the Internet can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted.
That’s why Cloudflare offers a free DNS service called 184.108.40.206 that you can use on any device. It protects your data from being analyzed or used for targeting you with ads.
Read and learn how to change your domain nameservers to Cloudflare
When you create a new Cloudflare account, adding an initial domain is included in the workflow.
Using a lightweight agent installed on the origin infrastructure (including container or virtual machine), Cloudflare Argo Tunnel is able to create an encrypted tunnel. Between the nearest Cloudflare data center and the web server’s origin without opening a public inbound port.
This offers an additional layer of protection to keep Internet applications available by protecting them from IP address exposure and DDoS attacks.
As a matter of fact, Cloudflare is built for anything connected to the Internet. It’s the foundation for your infrastructure, applications, and teams. While protecting your Internet presence.
Not forgetting, your website, APIs, and applications are your key channels for doing business with your customers and suppliers. As more and more shifts online, ensuring these resources are secure, performant, and reliable is a business imperative.
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Cloudflare for Infrastructure is a complete solution to enable this for anything connected to the Internet. That in mind, you can have a look at all their products through their official website.
Finally, I hope the above-revised guide was useful to you as a webmaster. But, if you’ll need more help, you can Contact Us or even share your thoughts in the comments section.