How to use Cloudflare: Speed Up Your Site and Protect It

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How To Use Cloudflare For Speed And Security - Mathilde Gauvain

TL;DR

It’s time to have the talk – the one website owners like to ignore. I have to talk to you about performance & security for your website.

See, usually, when you build your website you pick a host and they sort out the delivery of its content to your visitors so you can just get on with setting it up / running your business. You never really have to think about how it’s done, right?

Website speed is relative

Did you know? the speed your site reaches for you isn’t going to be the same as for many of your visitors.

What that really means is your website is slower to the majority of your ever-expanding user base than it is for you.

When you setup your web hosting, your host assign a server to your account (shared, dedicated, cloud etc). If your site is on a shared or dedicated server based in your region, that means that it loads that much faster for you and your local visitors than it does for someone on the other side of the planet.

Although this is all digital, there’s a physical infrastructure behind delivering your content, and that has an effect on its delivery time.

Big companies & those making a lot of $$$ from their websites (working on it, right?) can afford a cloud hosting solution. But what if you can’t?

In this case, a free CDN like Cloudflare* is the perfect option for your website. This is the solution to relative website speed for most websites.

How Cloudflare CDN works

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) helps your website load faster for your visitors, wherever they are, not just where you are because the content is served to them from a server that is closer to their region.

With Cloudflare* this service is included in their free plan so it is very accessible. If you were to go for a paid plan however, your site content would be served from whichever is Cloudflare’s fastest network path, in real-time.

How Cloudflare helps with security

Cloudflare encrypts traffic going through your website and monitors against trends they are seeing globally so your site is always protected against any new threats they encounter throughout the network.

Check out this video from TechCrunch that shows you how Cloudflare encrypt internet traffic (it’s pretty cool):

How to use Cloudflare CDN

Setting up is very simple – first go to their website here. Once there, click on the Sign Up link at the top next to a big orange button like this:

Cloudflare Home - How To Use Cloudflare - Mathilde Gauvain

Follow the steps to create your account. When you’ve done this Cloudflare will ask you to change your domain nameservers to point to them instead of directly to your website host.

This is how they are able to deliver the content for you so go ahead with their instructions.

You won’t have to worry about a downtime while this change is processing – the way this works is even after you make the change, right up until it is active the previous settings continue to apply.

Once you have made the change, however, you will want to go to your WordPress admin > plugins > add new > search for Cloudflare > install & activate

Cloudflare Plugin - How to use Cloudflare - Mathilde Gauvain

Using this plugin will make compatibility between your site and the Cloudflare SSL a breeze, however, if you need further support, this will be web host-dependent, so you will want to contact your hosting provider.

TL;DR
Ever heard of Cloudflare? CDN? Nope, right. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. These are usually expensive to use but the folks at Cloudflare offer their amazing starter level services for free. Here’s why you would want to sign up with Cloudflare:

 

  1. Your site could load much faster: Once you sign up with Cloudflare for free, your site content is delivered to your visitors from a server that is closer to them, rather than where it is physically hosted. That means it takes less time to load.
  2. Icing on the cake, Cloudflare’s service includes extra security: their services protect your site from DDos attacks. That’s the kind that overwhelms your site’s server with so much traffic that overloads. They’re quite common and used by hackers for a variety of reasons.

If you want a quick win with your website (it’s not every day right?) go on to Cloudflare, sign up for their free plan & make your life easier today.

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