I use CloudFlare ... and I am happy!


OK I admit, when I first heard about CloudFlare at TechCrunch Disrupt, I really liked the guy (Matthew Prince, CEO) but I was very dubitative on the efficiency of his service.
So, I tried for one of my website: compare-le-net.com (sorry folks, it's only in French!). Compare-le-net.com is a kind of directory, melted with news, coupons, etc. It is developed in php/mysql, run on a dedicated server (Linux) and, according to Google Analytics and CloudFlare analytics, serves 6 million pages each month.
The server was doing well, but sometime, the load was pretty high. Last year we optimized all the queries, improved the cache and all the config. Frankly, I didn't think we could significantly improved it more.
As Google announced that load time of pages will start to be very important in its algorithm, I though to move for an other stronger server but CloudFlare appeared!

First experience: I freaked out

Few days after TCDisrupt, I moved the DNS from my server to CloudFlare's DNS, using the free features. The average load was 300, after the operation it was 190. Not bad for a free service. But you know what? I freaked out when I consulted my Google Webmaster Tools, and more specially the diagnostic part. The Google Bot didn't explore my pages anymore, and the average time to load a page increased ... Back up!!!

I immediately stopped using CloudFlare, post on their forum and sent them a tweet. Matthew himself answered quickly:
"Issues solved. Worked directly with Google which adjusted some crawl
practices for us. Should actually get better crawl velocity on CF than
you'd ever get on your own now. I will give more details as soon as I
get clearance from Google to say more."

Second experience: the "wow effect"

One month later, journalists and bloggers were unanimous: CloudFlare works, and works very well. So I decided to make a second experience by using their CloudFlare Pro solution, which cost $20/month. This time, I was definitely impressed. Server load fall down to 70, page load time fall by more than 34% and Google bot crawls now 40,000 pages per day.
Users from Canada, France and North Africa gave me positive feedbacks: the site is very fast now. Unfortunatly it is to early to see an evolution on the traffic but I sleep better now because my server is less solicited, and better protected (see below).
To prove what I say, just have a look to these screenshots:

How does it work?

I will not entering the details because it's boring and I am not qualified neither, but CloudFlare is a sort of CDN (Content Delivery Network) that filters the traffic and re-routes it to your website. There is also cache systems, firewalls and servers located all around the world to deliver the content faster. On the paper, hakers who try to attack your website with DoS technics (Denial-of-Service attack) will be stopped as well as abusive bots and crawlers. On your side, the configuration can be made in 5 minutes, by changing the DNS servers on your domain name and possibly create some DNS records on CloudFlare website.
The cache policy and many other parameters can be adjusted in the Pro settings.


Feel free to test it. The Pro version can be revoked at anytime. For me, Cloudflare is the big winner of the TCDisrupt of San Francisco last october. Congrats guys!

> Website : www.cloudflare.com
> Twitter : @cloudflare

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