Just weeks ago CloudFlare debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt and was the runner up. How they didn’t win amazes me.
I was skeptical at first. I mean, a service that requires you to change your DNS hosting is asking a lot. It didn’t take long for me to realize how beneficial the 5-minute setup was.
Before I go on, let me make it clear that I’m not using any affiliate links here. I genuinely love CloudFlare’s technology and believe that everyone should be informed.
CloudFlare claims to be a performance and security enhancement. At the DNS level, they intercept traffic and weed out the bad requests (i.e. spammers, unwanted bots, malicious IPs, and more) before they even get to your server.
Additionally, they can insert Google Analytics tracking code for you. They can obfuscate email addresses to protect them from spammers. They cache your site’s resources around the world and are able to return the files directly from the cache server that is closest to the visitor. I could go on, but you get the point … they do a lot to speed your site up and keep it safe.
The proof is undeniable. Take at look.
- Average pageviews per visit rose from 2.06 to 3.98 – 90% better!
- Bounce rate fell from 61.98% to 3.57% – 94% better!
I also had an average of 48 spam comments before CloudFlare … after, an average of 6.
These stats don’t mean much without an explanation. It should be obvious though. CloudFlare stops all the bad traffic from ever getting to my site, so Analytics is only tracking quality traffic. So my human visitors click around the site more and don’t leave immediately as opposed to bots and spammers. These stats don’t prove their experience is any better — although it should be. The increase in pageviews may also be due to the better load time due to the caching.
With all of the crappy traffic excluded my traffic stats are a much more accurate representation of my authentic visitors.
The image above shows the traffic that tried going to my site. You can see that 81% of my traffic was from non-threatening, real users like yourself. The threats were weeded out and not allowed into my site.
There are some caveats to CloudFlare. Because they are brand new there have been a few hiccups. For instance, I’ve experienced an increase in downtime because they’ve made some hardware changes since their number of customers blew up after the TechCrunch coverage. Its minutes worth of downtime so I’m not worried. With time their DNS hosting will improve.
By now you might be expecting to pay a pretty penny. You’d be dead wrong. In fact, the basic services are free. You can pay for advanced security and real-time stats, but all the benefits I’ve seen are achievable through a free account. Really, give CloudFlare a shot. I wouldn’t have spent this much time doing a CloudFlare review if it wasn’t worth it.