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What Makes CloudFlare So Important?

CloudFlare.  It’s the subject of many, many emails to our sales inbox from prospective clients.  If you’re wondering what CloudFlare is and / or why you should care, read on for the full scoop.

cf-certified-partner-badge-250px-lightbackgroundsEarlier this week, Forbes published a great article explaining– in very easy-to-digest terms — what CloudFlare is and why it’s such a great thing to have.  Long story short, CloudFlare is a network of extremely powerful servers strategically located around the world.  If you want to impress your geek friends, then you can refer to CloudFlare by its technical term — a “content distribution network”, or CDN for short.  We prefer the term “a kick-ass service that is like injecting a few liters of espresso directly into your website”.

The idea behind CloudFlare is simple:  it makes your website faster, more reliable, and more secure.

To see how it works, think about your neighborhood coffee shop.  When you want a cup of coffee, you simply walk a few blocks over and fetch a fresh mug of The Good Stuff.  If there’s a long line, or if you happen to live far away from the coffee shop, your coffee run is naturally going to take a little longer.  Simple, right?

baristasYou might be surprised to learn that that’s not much different from how your website works:  your web browser hops a few networks over and fetches a fresh copy of your website.  If a lot of people are trying to get to the same website, or if you live far away from the datacenter, your website is going to take a little longer to load.  It’s an extremely over-simplified example, but that’s the gist of how it works.

So what if you could take that coffee shop, clone it a few dozen times, and keep a copy nearby?  How incredible would that be?  You could take this amazing new technology and ensure that no matter where you go, there’s always a copy of your favorite coffee shop just a few blocks away.  And that’s exactly what CloudFlare does (with your website, not with your coffee shop — though we have it on good authority that they are currently looking into that as well).  It copies your website (with your permission, of course) and distributes those copies all over the world.

The end result?  Whether your visitor is in Harrisburg PA, Dallas Texas, or even Sydney Australia, your site stays fast and responsive.  Users are automatically directed to the nearest copy of your site.  And Because CloudFlare helps distribute your website, it can actually reduce your bandwidth usage!  This is a pretty big deal, because today’s websites are more media-rich than ever.cloudflare

CloudFlare even helps protect your site against a range of malicious attacks.  Once CloudFlare detects a new type of attack against any website on their network, CloudFlare starts to block that attack for the entire community.  Whether it’s comment spam, excessive bot traffic, cross-site scripting, or even SQL injection, CloudFlare helps make your site more secure.

Because we’re a CloudFlare Certified Partner, every single one of our shared hosting and reseller hosting plans includes CloudFlare at no additional charge.  That’s right — the basic package is absolutely free.  We’ve even made it easy to activate — just click the CloudFlare icon in cPanel, and we’ll do the rest!

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