22.3.2019

Cloudflare user guide - 5 points on how to deploy Cloudflare

Presentation

This is a Cloudflare user guide, designed to show you how to quickly deploy their CDN service to your website. I found several different user guides in English, but unfortunately I couldn't find any beginner-friendly and simple guide in Finnish, so I decided to write a short and simple documentation on how to set up Cloudflare's free CDN (read below what a CDN is). TheTuonetti website is also behind this service, as it speeds up the performance and loading of the website and improves the security of the website. The service also offers a huge range of other features to improve the functionality of your website.

Preparations

Check that you have access to the name server settings for your domains. The location of the name server settings depends on the domain name (i.e. your website address, e.g. tuonetti.fi) you have registered. Try searching your registrar's admin panel for "Nameservers" or "Nameservers". Some providers do not allow you to change your name servers. If you can't find a place to edit your domain name servers, please contact your provider.

Help

1 - Register

Start by registering as a user at https://dash.cloudflare.com/sign-up. Once registered, you can add your website from the admin panel. Follow our instructions below to add your website.

2 - Add a new domain name

Click "+ Add Site" and enter your website address in the first field.-

Go ahead and wait for Cloudflare to check your network address and select the package option that suits you. We recommend starting with Cloudflare's free package and exploring the paid options later.

3- DNS Automatic scanning of records (DNS Records)

At this point, Cloudflare will scan the DNS records for your network address and attempt to list all existing DNS settings. This may take a little while. Check that the records are correct by comparing them to the current DNS record manager view. If you do not have access to DNS record management, please ask your current website administrator.

Once the DNS records are correctly set, press "Continue".

4 - Updating nameservers (Nameservers)

In order for Cloudflare to manage your network address data and traffic, you need to update the name servers for your network address. The most common way to update name servers is to go to your address provider's web panel, where you can find the Domain Address Manager.

Update your name server according to Cloudflare's instructions. Please note that name server changes can take several hours. Cloudflare will automatically check from time to time when the name server change has taken effect for your network address, so you can continue with your other business at this point until you receive a confirmation email that the service has been activated.

5 - Your website is now protected!

You can find all the websites you manage here: https://dash.cloudflare.com

Below you will find a more detailed explanation of all the benefits of this service.

What the hell is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare speeds up page loading and increases website security. The service acts as a protective layer in front of your web address and web server, offering a wide range of additional features that will benefit any website operator. The most notable feature is the service's huge network, which can protect your site from denial of service attacks by hiding the IP address of your servers behind their own servers. When you activate the service, all website traffic will first pass through Cloudflare's servers. This can be a big trust issue for some users, and everyone has to decide for themselves whether they trust a large company like this.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A content delivery network (CDN) consists of geographically distributed servers that deliver static web page content to the customer from the nearest proxy server. This technology speeds up page loading and improves the performance of large sites under heavy load. Cloudflare offers a free CDN service for all added network addresses. Cloudflare also stores static files of your pages in their very fast cache, which further speeds up the loading of your pages.

Protection against DDoS attacks

ADenial of Service (DoS) attack is a cyber attack intended to prevent anyone from using a network service. A DDoS attack generally works in practice by repeatedly connecting hundreds or even thousands of servers to a single IP address. Each server is constantly making heavy requests from the target server, causing the home server to freeze and can no longer function properly.

A denial of service attack can damage a company's operations by blocking traffic to the company's web server. Cloudflare hides the server's own IP address behind their own servers, which are built to withstand really big denial of service attacks.

Cloudflare user manual - Additional features

DNS tab ( DNS Records)

Under this tab you can edit DNS records. From the same view, you can also see which of all addresses traffic is passing through Cloudflare, and which traffic is going directly to your server. We recommend routing all possible traffic through Cloudflare to avoid leaking your server's IP address to a potential attacker.

SSL/TLS tab

Under this tab you can make changes and settings to your SSL encryption. We strongly recommend setting the SSL setting to "Full" or "Full (Strict)". With the latter setting, you force SSL security to be mandatory for your website.

From the Edge Certificates tab, you can edit e.g. HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) settings. Which will further enhance the safety of traffic on the page. On the same page, you can turn on the "Always Use HTTPS" setting, which I always recommend.

From the Origin Certificates tab, you can order your own Cloudflare SSL certificate. This certificate is certified, so it can be used as an SSL certificate for pages very well.

Speed tab

The importance of website loading speed cannot be overemphasised in today's world. Behind the Speed tab, you will find several different features to speed up your site. If you are not already optimising your CSS, Javascript and HTML files on your website (Minify), you can do it automatically with Cloudflare.

Caching tab

Cloudflare's caching and CDN speed up your pages and save web server bandwidth. When you make changes to your website, it is a good idea to clear the cache so that the pages do not appear broken to users. This will allow you to clear the Cloudflare cache by pressing the "Purge Everything" button. If you are making major changes to your website, we recommend that you turn on the "Development Mode" setting.

Cloudflare Access

Replace your company's VPN network with an easy-to-use service that protects critical login pages in a very ingenious way. Read our article on this topic and learn how you too can protect your WordPress site's admin page, for example, with this service.

Written by Tuomas
Yrittäjä @ Tuonetti
Strong Finnish Internet Partner
finnish company
code from finland
finnish keyflag
fi broker
google cloud partner
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