Cloudflare is an American company that offers a variety of services such as hosting, security services, and distributed domain name server (DNS) services.
Cloudflare’s main mission is to help create and expand more desirable Internet services. These services are provided to users in the form of content delivery network (CDN) and security service. Today, industries, businesses, nonprofits, bloggers, and anyone who uses the Internet in any way.
It takes advantage of Cloudflare as a tool to provide speed and security for users. Cloudfeller increases Internet service requests by about 17%, responding to an average of 25 million HTTP requests per second.
How does Cloudflare work?
In the early years of the Internet, when a user wanted to download a website, their request was sent from a personal computer to a server. If the number of simultaneous requests exceeds a certain amount, the server will malfunction and users’ access to the server hosting resources will be lost.
This was an obstacle for hosts to provide content quickly, safely and reliably. Cloudflare has made the use of sites, applications, and blogs more secure and useful in order to overcome these barriers and facilitate users’ access to the content provided. This feature is implemented by a tool called edge network, which speeds up access to information by shortening the communication path. In this network structure, data centers are installed in more than 200 locations around the world and provide faster access to information.
Using security protocols, Cloudflare protects Internet services against threatening actions such as DDoS attacks, malicious robots and other security breaches. It also allows website owners to place their desired applications on the website without the need for a dedicated developer.
Benefits of Cloudflare
It offers a number of operational features, including SSL and content distribution for various websites across the network. Previously, Internet service providers or any expert could easily access the site or application used by the user, even if the content was encrypted.
It offers services under the name DNS or 184.108.40.206 Free Service, which can be used by any Internet communication device. So this service makes it possible to view and inspect the data and content used by the user by the service provider.
Disadvantages of Cloudflare
According to surveys of various industries (including, film making, music, book publishing, etc.), Cloudflare is used in approximately 40% of content thief websites. This service acts as a host between the user and the website support host and, with the help of its network of servers, steals the content of the site or makes changes to it. According to the Alexa Ranking Survey, out of 500 offending domains worldwide, 311 (63%) use Cloudflare services.
Cloudflare allows website owners and operators to use its services anonymously; So this feature is very interesting for content thief websites. If a website uses Cloudflare services, the IP address of the backup host will be replaced with a dedicated IP address defined by Cloudflare, and the previous address will no longer be recognizable.
How to install Cloudflare
Its Services is one of the most useful tools available to the web developer. This service has been added to WordPress in the form of a plugin and offers several features such as increasing the speed of the website based on the CDN feature, increasing the security based on the SSL feature and a series of other useful and useful features. In this section, the advantages of installing it for WordPress site, how to install it on WordPress and how to configure the official plugin for WordPress are presented.
Benefits of installing Cloudflare for WordPress site
Here are some potential benefits of using Cloudflare for WordPress:
- CDN: Content delivery network (CDN), which is a Cloudflare service, increases the speed of the website by statically delivering content from a large network of global servers. In fact, it is the most common free CDN service.
- SSL: If your website has not already received an SSL certificate, it allows you to use the HTTPS protocol for your WordPress website to see the green lock of your browser.
- DNS: It is a DNS service provider that speeds up your website. This service is based on the amplification of the time to reach the first byte (TTFB).
- Security rules: Cloudflare allows you to define specific security rules for different parts of the site, such as the WordPress dashboard.
- DDoS Protection Protocol: Cloudflare is one of the most powerful tools against DDoS attacks. It also allows you to filter malicious traffic.
- Other benefits: It allows you to shrink structural code, compress Brotli, and implement other security measures.
How to install Cloudflare on WordPress
Before you can configure the various options, you must first connect your site to Cloudflare. It is essentially a reservation proxy service, meaning that:
In order for Cloudflare to be enabled, the domain name servers must first be managed so that these servers can use the content received from the CDN and also filter malicious actions (if Cloudflare security features are enabled). To do this, the domain name servers must first be changed to Cloudflare, which is the first step in the installation process. The steps are as follows:
1- Creating a free Cloudfeller application account
In the first step, go to https://dash.cloudflare.com/sign-up and register.
On the next page, enter the domain name of the WordPress site for which you want to use the Cloudflare feature, and click Add site.
Then, you will be asked to select one of the plans. So you can choose the Free Plan to get started; This plan provides all the features needed by most WordPress sites.
2- Confirm DNS records
As soon as you select the plan, Cloudflare scans the DNS records on your site. If you do not know the details of this step, do not worry. All you need to confirm is to see the orange cloud icon in front of the original domain name you have already entered (no action is required if you see the orange cloud).
After viewing the orange cloud, click Continue.
3- Updating domain name servers to coordinate with Cloudflare
At this point, Cloudflare introduces you to a new set of DNSs that replace existing DNSs:
Domain name servers are the part where your domain name connects to your web host. When you switch to Cloudflare’s domain name servers, It is able to drive data traffic to your website. The purpose of this is to filter out malicious traffic. It redirects normal traffic to your website under normal circumstances, while filtering out malicious traffic before it reaches your site.
Note: Domain name servers take at least 24 hours to update, so do nothing until less than 24 hours have elapsed since the changes were made.
4- Configure some of the main settings
On the next screen, you can configure some basic settings for how it works.
If you want to use SSL / HTTPS, you must select the Full option. This method increases the traffic security on your website and allows you to see the green lock of the client browser.
Before choosing the Full option, make sure your WordPress site is up to date using HTTPS. All you have to do is update your WordPress site URLs.
After making the changes, click Done.
5- Confirm the completion of the connection process
As soon as you click Done in the previous step, you will see a message asking you to complete the process of installing the domain name servers.
Do not worry, this message may take up to several hours to complete, as it takes up to 24 hours for the domain name server configuration changes to take effect. Wait 30 minutes to an hour, then click the Re-check now button to see if the DNS has been updated. The following successful message should be displayed as soon as the changes are applied. You simply installed Cloudflare for your site.
How to configure the official Cloudflare plugin for WordPress
Once you have connected your WordPress site to Cloudflare, you can manage some of its features from the dashboard. However, to help WordPress users, it has introduced its official WordPress plugin. This dedicated plugin has two features:
- Automatically configures some of the most important Cloudflare settings to optimize WordPress site performance with it.
- Allows you to manage some Cloudflare settings from the WordPress dashboard without the need to use the Cloudflare website
For these two reasons, we recommend that you use the dedicated Cloudflare plugin for WordPress. So to do this, follow these steps:
1- Install Cloudflare plugin
The official plugin is listed at WordPress.org, so you can install it directly from the WordPress dashboard by searching for the keyword.
2- Connect to Cloudflare account
Once the plugin is activated, go to Settings → Cloudflare and click Sign in here.
Enter the email address for your account and the API key for your Cloudflare at the bottom.
Then click Save API Credentials.
How to access the API key in a Cloudflare account
To find the API key:
Go to the dashboard.
Click on the account icon in the upper right corner.
Select My Profile.
Click on the API Tokens bar.
Click View in front of the Global API Key (you will need to re-enter your password to view it)
Copy the number and add it to your plugin settings in the WordPress dashboard.
3- Optimizing Cloudflare settings
After activating the plugin, the Optimize Cloudflare for WordPress option will be displayed for you. Click Apply to automatically optimize Cloudflare settings for WordPress.
4- Development of page rules
The page rules are a series of additional settings that allow you to create more security. In fact, by defining a page rule, a series of actions are formulated that will be performed if the input URL follows a certain pattern. So the condition of the page rules is that the orange cloud is displayed in the DNS record verification step. Page rules have two important functions:
- Only the rules of the page with the highest priority affect a request.
- The page rules in the Cloudflare dashboard are sorted in descending order of priority.
A page rule conforms to the following URL pattern:
<scheme>: // <hostname> <: port> / <path>? <query_string>
Example of a URL based on the template above:
Finally, it should be noted that the page rules can be created, edited or deleted at any time via the the dashboard.
If you want to speed up your WordPress website and protect it from malicious attacks, Cloudflare is one of the best free services ever offered. Although the process of installing it requires a series of changes to the domain name servers, but these changes are made only once and the benefits for your website will be permanent. Briefly, the process of using it for WordPress website can be described as follows:
1- Create a Cloudflare account
2- Change the domain name servers to coordinate with the Cloudflare domain name servers
3- Installing the official plugin in order to optimize the configuration of the WordPress website