My Experience Is cloudflare a good cdn option?

MyDigitalpoint

Well-Known Member
Content Delivery Networks comprise a series of servers aimed to speed up a website by means of providing a balanced load of network traffic, using a caching system that does not only improves a site's performance, but provides visitors with a cached copy of the site whenever this is down, under maintenance or having technical difficulties. This means that a website hosted on a server with CDN enjoys of high availability for the end user.

Nonetheless, one of the most wide-spread services to achieve this goals is CloudFlare, a company that provides both distributed domain name server and content delivery network services, whether on a free or paid basis.

Whoever has a hosting account with Cpanel, likely has seen the CloudFlare logo and the option to activate it.

By doing this, your site should receive a performance boost but.... here is where my question fits in.

By enabling CloudFlare I have always have different outcomes but none of them has been the promised improved performance.

Many times (not just for me) CloudFlare returns a 500 error that while make your site available to the visitor, it's unable to display the famous cached copy that it should be. A 500 error means your site has a programming error, and the server will return this message without need of a beautified CloudFlare page.

On the other hand, I have found that CloudFlare, once active, sometimes work as a kind of proxy that blocks requests from certain IPs. Worst thing is not only the risk of having visitors denied to access your site and content, but many times CloudFlare identifies yourself as a "miserable spammer" that doesn't deserve to access your own control panel, pushing you to raise a hosting support ticket to regain access.

With all this said, what are your thoughts or experience with CloudFlare? Is it really a good CDN option?
 

Webmasterserve

Staff member
Administrator
I have only used the Free plan from CloudFlare for a few days and promptly turned it off when I found some issues with delays in page load and sometimes unexpected 500 errors on webpages. I would not count this as a review because I did not see how it works in the long run, but I am not the only person who has experienced 500 errors and other issues with CloudFlare. On the other hand I am on a new hosting server and thus cannot for certain say CloudFlare was the culprit, it could've well been the local DNS server not responding promptly when CloudFlare requested data.

But, on the other hand I have also tried MaxCDN which is a far more expensive option, overall the website speed had improved drastically but on occasions all content delivered by the CDN, like javascript and css would not load while the rest of the page loaded from local servers causing the webpages to break. I still do not put all the blame on MaxCDN for the reason mentioned above in the case with CloudFlare. When these services worked, page load speed improved drastically from both the CDN providers, more so with MaxCDN which also provides real time stats and monitoring of your web traffic and http requests server via their CDN edge servers.

I really think the idea of using CDN technology is a good in the long run to speed up website load times and reduce bandwidth usage on web hosting servers. For smaller websites, the free option from CloudFlare is good enough and I don't think someone should pay high prices like MaxCDN for a simple blog or a niche site. Bottomline is, I learned my lesson that a good CDN service cannot replace a good web hosting service, if I use a crappy web hosting service and expect CDN to make my website more reliable and fast loading, I will be utterly wrong.

The priority should be Good Web Hosting Service > File & Browser Caching > Optimum Compression > DB & File Optimization > Good CDN provider
 

Yuva12

Well-Known Member
CloudFlare provides a couple of useful services in their free plan including a free DNS, security and CDN.
 
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