CloudFlare: What it does & How to set it up
Designed for all website and server operators, Cloudflare is a free, reliable DNS system. It allows people to visit and view your website at great speeds regardless of location. It also makes your website more accessible by saving a “copy” of your site to CloudFlare’s global network and then sending that to your viewers. This is handy if your viewer is geographically far away from your server, or if your server ever goes down.
Now the question arises, with all that functionality for free how hard is the setup? Don’t worry! It’s easy as pie.
Here are 5 simple steps to transfer your site to CloudFlare:
- The process begins with creating an account on Cloudflare. visit https://CloudFlare.com and click “Sign Up” in the top right corner.
- Once you’re good to go with CloudFlare, you will need to add your website. So, type your domain (eg: http://example.com) in the box and begin scanning.
- Once the scan is complete, check that your DNS settings have been completely copied over from your old DNS server. CloudFlare does a pretty good job with copying these records, but it can miss one every now and then.
- The next step is choosing your plan – and we said this was free – so let’s pick that one. This plan is perfect for small websites and projects or even if you are just curious.
- Finally, this last step is a bit time-consuming, but it’s usually due to the time required for your nameservers to be updated.
Log-in to your domain name registrar and update your nameservers to the new ones provided by CloudFlare. Once these update (or propagate if you are speaking geek), you will receive a confirmation email and your site will running through CloudFlare!
So what’s with the paid options?
CloudFlare’s paid options introduce extra features like enhanced security, custom rules, GZIP compression, Video CDN and load balancing just to name a few. However, the free plan contains the most useful and widely used features.
The only downside to CloudFlare’s Free and Pro tiers is that the customer service is quite poor. Luckily for us they are used by so many people that awesome user-submitted help is just a Google search away.
How CloudFlare keeps your site online… Even if your server isn’t.
Always Online™ is a free feature that caches (or copies) a static version of your pages in case your server goes offline.
If your server is ever unavailable, Cloudflare will serve a limited copy of your website to keep it online for your visitors.
If you need any help setting up your account with CloudFlare, or if you have any other questions, head over to our Support Page and drop us a line!