More performance and security with Cloudflare

Peter Heck

First of all, we need to define the term “Content Delivery Network” (CDN). I’ll use the definition from Wikipedia here:

“A content delivery network(CDN), also known as a content distribution network, is a network of regionally distributed servers connected via the Internet, which are used to deliver content – especially large media files. A CDN provides scalable storage and delivery capacities and ensures optimum data throughput even during high load peaks.

CDN nodes are distributed across many locations and often also across many backbones. They work together to serve requests from end users for content as economically as possible. Individual locations are referred to as PoP(Point of Presence) and consist ofs server clusters.

In the background(transparent), the data is stored in the network(caching) in such a way that the respective delivery is either as fast as possible(performance optimization) or uses as little bandwidth as possible (cost optimization), or both at the same time.

Large CDNs maintain thousands of nodes with tens of thousands of servers.”

Even if the performance of a website hosted by IONOS is sufficient for most customers, there is still a lot to be said for using a Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN):

  • The performance of a website as a ranking factor for search engines should not be underestimated, even if the content with a higher relevance is still included in the evaluation.
  • But the perceived speed for the visitor is also a factor to consider. The user experience is better on fast pages and bounce rates are lower.
  • Security can be significantly increased with Cloudflare’s CDN products, which are subject to a fee. The web application firewall (WAF) effectively filters out unwanted requests. There is also basic protection against bots.
  • There are also advantages in the area of SSL encryption (e.g. setting the TLS versions used, HSTS headers etc.), the DNS and the possible use of workers (e.g. to integrate http security headers).

I myself have ordered and configured the paid Cloudflare CDN Pro (cost: 20 USD / month) for our company website. After a fundamental optimization, I now achieve dream grades of “A” in all areas in the test:

Results from for our homepage

The statistics that can be called up in Cloudflare’s dashboard also show how effectively the service works – here are some examples:

Here you can see that approx. 75% of requests are answered directly from the CDN. It should be mentioned here that I had switched off the CDN for testing purposes during this time.
Number of attempted attacks on the homepage detected and blocked by Cloudflare

If you are now interested in using a CDN, simply contact us to find out more.

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