CloudFlare

Cloudflare is one of my favourite best-kept secrets for building websites. It’s value for money and it “just works”. By this I mean it sits firmly within the XOX method for delivery. It’s easy to pick up, has little technical debt (most of the features work out of the box) and produces an output which is superb.

I recently used CloudFlare on the site I pulled together to help the homeless (give-a-fiver.co.uk) – you can see the article I wrote about it here.

The only issue I think with CloudFlare is it’s marketing – go and have a look at the website. If you’re technical it might mean something, but the messaging is a bit all over the place.

Essentially I used it to make my site secure using the DNS re-routing – I essentially got an SSL certificate for free. Cloudflare does a lot more however and helps protect your site from classic DDoS attacks. It also has a great caching mechanism, so when users are hitting your site, it’s not hitting your server with the same requests (part of the DDoS mechanism).

From a users perspective, there’s nothing to see. From an admin perspective, there’s so much information and tools in the CloudFlare backend the mind boggles – I’ve only used a few (the quick switch mechanism for caching is helpful when you’re updating a site and want to make sure changes are coming through okay).

It’ll literally take you five minutes to set up CloudFlare on your website – it doesn’t even make a difference if it’s a simple boilerplate one like give-a-fiver.co.uk or if it’s a complex CMS system.

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