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#1 whitebread

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 14:05

Someone mentioned CloudFlare in another thread... I had heard of it before, but I never really understood what it is. I know it's some kind of Content Delivery Network (I think that's what CDN stands for :p).

So... What is CloudFlare? And how does it work?


#2 n_K

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 14:22

You point your site at their servers and it caches content from your site depending on what kind of content it is.
I.E. html, css, js, etc. are all cached on their servers so it doesn't have to keep fetching it from your server, but the cache is limited to a few hours or so, so that if you make changes, they will be propegated out to clients.

Basically it caches static content.

#3 OP whitebread

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 14:25

^ Ah, OK. Cool. :)

#4 +Medfordite

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 14:47

It does more than that - I use them for a few sites.

Aside from site caching, it does also deliver the cached content globally from their various data centers placed around the world. This in turn, speeds up the site response time for those farther away from your server in terms of hops by reducing them. Also, by using them, you get some advantage of them presenting a challenge page to various IP's which are deemed as tied to questionable sources. If the traffic source isn't a bot, then a captcha lets them through. See this as an example:

cf.jpg

One downside to using them if you are serious about hosting is to get the benefit of using their services, you have to switch your domain's DNS pointers to theirs. This creates a whois entry showing your domain pointing to something like jake.ns.cloudflare.com and gina.ns.cloudflare.com instead of your host's ns1.foobar.com and ns2.foobar.com type of pointer. So, if you ever have an issue with your host's server for whatever reason and talk to them, a lot will immediately blame it on cloudflare first.

I have about 50% of my sites running through them. My main hosting, an e-commerce store I host and a couple of others I don't. My hosting site, I prefer to use my own nameservers for a more professional and trusted appearance if a customer should whois my site. E-Commerce site sort of dies with cloudflare's script minimization features. And the others, are basically clients which don't want to be on cloudflare's networks for their own reasons.

For a free service (You can upgrade for more features), they are a very good and don't seem to have many issues. When changing IP's for sites (If you change a server or web host), it is a simple matter of going into your site's control panel there and changing the ip. Within roughly 10 minutes the site is already pointing to the new server. A BIG plus, if you are trying to avoid the DNS migration which can take up to 72 hours since most ISP's and DNS providers cache their own pointer to your site for 24 hours worldwide. Since your DNS stays with cloudflare, no migration needed. :)

#5 primexx

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 15:52

I was really tempted to start using them until I figured out that yes, you do indeed need to switch your DNS to them. I just spent considerable effort switching my DNS service out of the US, not gonna put it right back in.

#6 ZeroHour

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 16:32

I have used them before but I found issues with some ISP's connection through cloudflare to our servers.
Basically it worked well for most but there were enough with problems to cause us to stop using cloudflare for proxy/cache.

#7 remixedcat

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 19:11

Yes, it's a CDN+sec solution. I love it. I highly recommend it specially for sites hosted on low end servers or if you have lots of visitors from other countries.

Although not as powerful as Akamai or Edgecast CDN it's still a very good CDN and has over 13 nodes.

#8 remixedcat

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 19:12

I have used them before but I found issues with some ISP's connection through cloudflare to our servers.
Basically it worked well for most but there were enough with problems to cause us to stop using cloudflare for proxy/cache.


what were those issues? have you pointed those out to cloudflare?

#9 DaveLegg

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 19:16

We tried using it for a while too, and it caused us a few issues. I was in contact with CloudFlare at the time, but they were unable to offer us a resolution at the time, so we had to stop using it. It's a nice idea though, and something we may look at again once they're more mature.

#10 remixedcat

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 19:17

would you go with another CDN like Edgecast???

#11 TheGhostWalker

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 12:08

Do not revive dead topics -.-

#12 SuperKid

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 16:41

Cloudflare is brilliant for caching and site protection, 100% worth using it and there support on twitter is brilliant.

#13 +Dermot

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 04:39

I find them great, specially for a free service.

The anti spam features and cloud based distribution is very handy.

However it does cause some issues when it comes to dealing with disruptive members who get past their challenges.

That been if a new member signs up on IP Board while you're behind cloudflare, all their ip addresses are actually cloudflares IP ranges

So you lose the ban by IP feature.

#14 remixedcat

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 07:29

I find them great, specially for a free service.

The anti spam features and cloud based distribution is very handy.

However it does cause some issues when it comes to dealing with disruptive members who get past their challenges.

That been if a new member signs up on IP Board while you're behind cloudflare, all their ip addresses are actually cloudflares IP ranges

So you lose the ban by IP feature.


you have to Install mod_cloudflare to get the original visitor IP and thenwhitelist the IPs for cloudflare server side and then it will work....

also I believe there are hooks for that as well....

#15 remixedcat

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:19

Weirdest thing is i got more spam while i was using cloudflare. Which was weird.

and the spam has stopped since i set my nameservers back to my server.


IPB has the anti-spam built in. It's very nice as well.

did you try what I said muggerfugger?