What is the Cloudflare CDN?

This article discusses Cloudflare's content delivery network (CDN), and how it can help improve your web site's performance and security.

What is the Cloudflare CDN?

CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a distributed network of servers that provides several advantages for a web site:

  • Cached content: By caching web site content, Cloudflare helps improve page load speeds, reduce bandwidth usage, and reduce CPU usage on the server.
  • High availability: With a redundant network of servers worldwide, if a server experiences an issue, Cloudflare's CDN simply “fails over” to use another server.
  • Increased security: Cloudflare helps improve security by blocking threats before they even reach a site. Cloudflare's CDN can also provide some protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

All managed hosting customers at A2 Hosting automatically get access to a free Cloudflare account.

Some features and services, such as SSL, require an upgrade to our Cloudflare Basic, Plus, or Firewall plans. Each upgraded Cloudflare plan is domain specific; additional Cloudflare subscriptions are required for each additional domain.  For more information about these plans, please see https://www.a2hosting.com/cloudflare-plan-comparison.

How the Cloudflare CDN Works

When you activate the Cloudflare CDN on your account, your site becomes part of the Cloudflare network. This network routes web site traffic through Cloudflare's global network of data centers. (To view a map of Cloudflare's current data center locations, please visit https://www.cloudflare.com/network-map.)

Cloudflare optimizes web content delivery by storing duplicates of static content (such as CSS, JavaScript and image files) on its servers. Your web site content is served from the Cloudflare server located nearest to your visitors, which decreases page load times. If a server in Cloudflare's network is very busy, web traffic is automatically routed to the next server nearest to your visitors.

Cloudflare's CDN also blocks threats and limits abusive bots before they reach your server. This helps increase security and reduce wasted bandwidth.

Cloudflare works for both static and dynamic web sites. However, Cloudflare is not suitable for web sites that stream video or audio directly from their origin server. Embedded videos, such as those from YouTube or Vimeo, however, are compatible with Cloudflare.

How Do I Start Using Cloudflare?

You can activate Cloudflare for your site through cPanel, however it is highly recommended that you activate Cloudflare through Cloudflare.

Please note that it is recommended that you configure Cloudflare directly through Cloudflare’s site, as the Cloudflare cPanel plugin is no longer receiving updates, and the premium Cloudflare options can only be configured directly through Cloudflare’s site. Please refer to these articles, Getting Started with Cloudflare and Creating a Cloudflare account and adding a website, on Cloudflare’s website to create an account and start customizing Cloudflare to best suit you and your site’s needs.

If your account does not include cPanel, you can register directly on Cloudflare's web site. For more information about how to set up Cloudflare for your account, please see this article.

More Information

For more information about Cloudflare, please visit https://www.cloudflare.com.

To learn about using the Cloudflare CDN with your A2 Hosting account, click here.

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