Cloudflare is a US company that delivers content delivery network (CDN) and DNS services across a wide range of products to optimize the performance, deliverability, and online security of websites and applications.
What is Cloudflare?
Cloudflare is a company that provides making websites faster, more secure, and scalable. Cloudflare was co-founded in 2009 by Matthew Prince and Michelle Zatlyn.
Cloudflare is a free service that many website owners use to protect their websites from cyber attacks, speed up page load times for users, and decrease the amount of bandwidth they consume.
Cloudflare services help protect your website from cyber-attacks. It also improves performance and speeds up the loading time of websites. There are two different plans for Cloudflare, Pro and Business plan. The Pro Plan is perfect for small businesses or blogs looking to get started with security features like SSL (Secure Socket Layer).
The business plan has more advanced features such as CDN (Content Delivery Network), which will cache static assets on their servers to be delivered faster to visitors who are geographically close to the server location. The SSL certificate also works through this hosting provider. Let's take a detailed look to discuss what Cloudflare is!
Where is Cloudflare used?
Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and DNS provider for those who don't know. Cloudflare analytics works as an HTTP proxy; they essentially cache sites at their edge nodes and provide users with cached versions if the resource has been requested before, saving bandwidth and speeding up end-user response times.
Cloudflare workers do not see information about the origin(where data comes from), and Cloudflare workers do not know where servers that serve content live.
Cloudflare aims to help web admins speed up and manage their sites. To do this efficiently, we provide three services. A global content delivery network caches your site's content at our edge nodes close to your visitors. Caching means that if someone requests a page from your website, we can give them the page much faster because we've stored a copy of it at one of our servers close to them.
Our DNS servers give your site a better name so that when people want to find you, they can type in the address for your domain and not some other website's domain.
This means we do two important things: we speed up your website by shortening the length of the URL, and we increase security for your site because we don't just provide a longer name; we also authenticate and encrypt connections between visitors and our servers, thereby protecting against cybercriminals who might try to intercept data sent to or from your server.
We provide IP Anycast routing, which means that as visitors from around the world browse to your site, their requests are automatically routed to the nearest Cloudflare edge node (datacenter). This technology allows us to provide a truly global CDN and DNS service.
Full list of Cloudflare products
- Advanced Certificate Manager
- Advanced DDoS
- Always Online™
- Anycast Network
- Apps Marketplace
- Audit Logs
- Argo Smart Routing
- Argo for Spectrum
- At Cost Registrar
- Bot Management
- Browser Insights & Origin Monitoring
- Browser Isolation (Advanced)
- Bring Your Own IPs (BYOIP)
- Certificate Transparency Monitoring
- China Network
- Cloudflare Access
- Cloudflare Gateway™
- Cloudflare Gateway™ (DNS Only)
- Cloudflare Images
- Cloudflare Logs
- Cloudflare Network Interconnect
- Cloudflare Pages®
- Cloudflare Registrar
- Cloudflare’s Security Operations Center (SOC) as a Service
- Cloudflare Spectrum
- Cloudflare Stream
- Cloudflare WAF
- Custom SSL
- Data Localization Suite
- Dedicated SSL
- DNS Firewall
- Enterprise DNS Only
- Enterprise – Primary DNS
- Error Pages
- Image Resizing
- Keyless SSL
- Load Balancing
- Magic Firewall®
- Magic Transit®
- Magic WAN®
- Page Rules
- Page Shield
- Premium Success
- Rate Limiting
- Secondary DNS
- Secure Registrar
- SSL for SaaS
- SSL for SaaS Advanced
- Standard Success Offering
- Static IPs
- Teams for Enterprise
- Waiting Room
- Workers Bundled
- Workers KV
- Workers Unbound
Site Accelerator reduces bandwidth costs by up to 80% and improves response times by serving your site's static files from a globally-distributed network of servers. It also accelerates dynamic content by automatically combining widely used optimizations such as gzip compression, request consolidation, and web font minimization.
Web Application Firewall (WAF)
A WAF is a system built into the website's server or network infrastructure that acts as an intrusion detection system and a security enforcement point.
Cloudflare has a FREE WAF service for all of its users. It protects against SQL injection, Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), HTTP Response Splitting, Denial of Service (DoS), and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).
This means it can protect your website from various forms of cyber-attack such as those listed above, except DDoS attacks, which require more bandwidth and processing power and also requires you to pay for Cloudflare. To know how much you will be required to pay, visit the Cloudflare pricing page.
The WAF can also shield your website against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which are large-scale attacks to knock your server offline by overwhelming it with traffic or requests. With Cloudflare's custom plan, you can choose how much protection you want for your site at what price level.
Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and security company that provides its customers with performance, reliability, and security CDN service. Cloudflare's mission is to help build a better Internet. Cloudflare works with a range of customers, from individual bloggers and startup companies to Fortune 500 companies.
The security part of Cloudflare's service is offered through its Web Application Firewall (WAF) product, which defends websites against common web application attacks like cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection (SQLi), and sophisticated authentication attacks such as credential stuffing and brute force login attempts.
If you're running a website, there's a perfect chance that your web server is behind Cloudflare.
The content delivery network (CDN) now manages more than 10% of all HTTP requests on the internet, processing around 5% of all traffic.
But what the heck is Cloudflare, and how does it work? How does it compare to other CDNs like Akamai and Amazon CloudFront? Let's find out!
Cloudflare is a service that provides security and performance to websites. It can be used on any website, regardless of the size or type. Cloudflare works by using a network of global servers to route your website's traffic while simultaneously acting as a shield from malicious attacks.
Versions of Cloudflare
Cloudflare's free version offers basic features such as caching static content, protection against a denial-of-service attack, and analytics so you can see how visitors interact with your site in real-time
This plan also includes mobile optimization for both Android and iOS devices. The paid version has all the benefits of the free program but adds more advanced features such as SSL support, anti-bot technology called Rocket LoaderTM.
How does Cloudflare work?
To understand Cloudflare, we need to start with its predecessor: Project Honey Pot.
Project Honey Pot was started in 2002 as a distributed system for collecting information about malicious websites. It used thousands of volunteers who installed unique code on their websites that sent the IP of every request to honeypot servers.
This data was used to build an aggregated picture of attack traffic, which was made available at Project Honey Pot's website in the form of free (and anonymized) statistics about malicious websites worldwide.
Around 2011, Project Honey Pot founder Robert Begg noticed something interesting: most of the malicious activity identified by his system came from UDP port 11211 rather than HTTP port 80.
Because many open proxies send requests over UDP, this suggested that many attacks were originating on botnets composed primarily of compromised machines running vulnerable applications like WordPress and Joomla. The next logical step in building out this more brilliant security system was obvious: more competent servers meant no more reliance on honeypots.
Features of Cloudflare
It's worth noting here that this system only works if you control your domain names (also called ” zone apex, “where yourname.com points to a website hosted somewhere else).
Features of Cloudflare you're using a free domain name such as mywebsite.wordpress.com, then Cloudflare won't be able to work its magic, and the requests will hit your web server directly. Cloudflare serves up cached results for its addresses, but it can't cache content for others.
This is where the so-called “magic” comes in. Cloudflare's network consists of more than 100 data centers located worldwide, each equipped with a server running OpenDNS.
When you enable Cloudflare on your website's domain name, a request is sent to the nearest Cloudflare server, which acts as a DNS and CDN services provider.
If you're using a free domain name, this means that requests for your site will be routed through Cloudflare's data centers around the globe on their way to your server – and if any data center can respond from its cache, it will.
If you're using a paid subscription, then Cloudflare will use its global network of anycast servers to route requests for your site around the globe and return the fastest possible response.
Security and privacy issues
In September, one of the most popular performances and security services “Cloudflare” was hacked. This service protects websites against DDoS attacks through a conventional CDN model.
Cloudflare has many security features not often found with other similar hosting providers. Cloudflare is the world's most significant distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation provider.
The website security has a reverse proxy feature protecting against common web attacks. A reverse proxy hides information about the physical location of the origin server when passing requests to an application server.
Cloudflare has a DDoS attack prevention service that can filter all traffic to a website in real-time for any malicious traffic(traffic with potential threats) and Ip addresses.
Some of its marketing slogans are:
- Millions of requests per second are globally distributed across multiple data centers.
- Control over your content while still having global scale automatically handled for you.
- It helps your site load fast by increasing your cache hit ratio so more users have the resources they need from their local edge node closer to them while minimizing redundant requests from users around the world to your origin server, which can bog down your network connections and servers.
- Cloudflare takes security, speed, reliability, and performance using its unique technology.
- We have a global network that sits in front of your servers. This helps us provide faster web delivery, reliable application performance, and protection from various online threats.
The Bottom Line
Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and DNS services, provider. Cloudflare has many of the same clients as Quad9, including Mozilla, Wikimedia, WordPress, and SalesForce. They have grown from 30 to 150 data centers globally in just four years in the past few years.
They currently have around 15-20% market share in the CDN market. Cloudflare network also has an in-browser crypto wallet and cryptocurrency exchange services (albeit limited compared to sites like Binance).