For a business to succeed, it requires a website that will consistently service the needs of a customer base that expects 24-hour access. When a sight goes down, either as the result of a technical glitch or the actions of a hacker, a business can suffer the loss of sales, trust, and credibility from its customers. To better enable our clients’ websites to stay up and running regardless of what challenges they may face, LocalFresh relies on Cloudflare to help us manage their DNS.
How Does Cloudflare Work?
Cloudflare ranks as one of the world’s largest online networks. Everyone from multi-million dollars businesses to local bloggers have turned to Cloudflare to make their websites faster and more secure. Over 25 million online properties use Cloudflare, and their networks handle an average of 20 million web searches per second across the globe.
So, what does Cloudflare actually do?
Back in the early days of the internet when AOL was king, your email inbox contained 5 percent less junk mail, and everyone still prefaced the name of a website by saying “www.,” connecting to a site was a simple process. You’d type in the address, the request would go to a server, and then the server would connect you to the site. Unfortunately, if a server received too many requests at the same time, that server would become overwhelmed and crash. Like an accident that blocks the highway, you’d then be left frustrated with no way of reaching your destination while wondering what had happened.
This flaw in the system created a lot of hassle for website owners. If your site was successful and received a lot of traffic, you’d risk alienating visitors when pages slowly loaded, became unresponsive, or simply crashed entirely.
Hackers could also deliberately cause a website to crash using a denial-of-service (DoS) attack. In these types of attacks, hackers bombard a site with thousands of simultaneous requests. Unable to handle so many requests to visit the same site at one time, servers would crash and a website effectively goes offline.
Cloudflare was created to address these and other security and performance issues. Using an edge network, Cloudflare creates a system that enables data to flow quickly and securely between servers. This offers the websites using Cloudflare the ability to consistently meets the expectations of visitors by offering 24-hour, uninterrupted service.
How Does Cloudflare Enable Faster Connections?
Cloudflare uses an edge network to shorten the distance between connecting servers. To overly simplify what this means – information has a maximum speed it can move at between two points. No matter how much technology improves, the speed at which we can communicate will always be limited by this principle. However, even though we can’t increase how fast information moves between two points we can shorten the distance between two points.
The internet consists of many, many different networks that are comprised of even more servers. Connecting between networks requires some type of bridge that allows information to flow between. Edge servers, as their name implies, sit at the edge between different networks. Edge serves work to store caches of information as close to a requesting machine as possible, thereby shortening latency and increasing load times. An edge network of these types of servers works to shorten the distance information has to travel to reach its final destination.
Another oversimplification – Let’s say the local grocery store is two miles away, but fortunately for you, they decide to open another location that’s only half a mile from your home. This second store has exactly the same inventory as the old store, but now it only takes a quarter of the amount of time for you to drive to the store and back.
With Cloudflare’s network of edge servers, the distance information has to travel decreases, thereby enabling websites to load faster and data to flow more freely.
How Does Cloudflare Improve Security?
DoS attacks, the use of malicious software, and comment spamming can all threaten the integrity and safety of your website. Cloudflare acts like filter that prevents these and other types of hacker attacks from ever reaching a server.
The Cloudflare network continuously looks for the signs of a potential attack against the sites on its servers. Through a combination of monitoring and backing up site content in edge server caches, Cloudflare can prevent a site from going down during a major attack and to still properly function during a smaller attack.
Cloudflare also offers users a variety of customizable security options. Sites can limit or prevent systems with IP address from certain countries, regions, or specific addresses from accessing their content. This can prevent certain known bad actors from accessing your website. Sites can also limit the amount of traffic or access requests their site can receive at any given time. By limiting how many visitors or requests it can receive, a website can protect itself from a DoS that looks to overload a server.
Overall, Cloudflare offers an incredible range of security options. Whether you want the entire world to access your site or to only have a few devices capable of logging on, Cloudflare provides the flexibility your business needs to remain secure and successful.
Find Out More About What LocalFresh Can do for Your Business
At LocalFresh, we constantly look for new tools that will better enable our clients to meet the needs of their customers. The use of Cloudflare is just one of the many different tools and techniques we provide our clients to improve their sales and customer service capabilities.
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