Cloudflare and this website?

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If you scroll to the very bottom of this page, or any page for that matter, you’ll see a new icon in my footer. It mentions Cloudflare. This should go under the lessons of server management, particularly website management.

Often you may run into a problem where you might get “Dugg” or “Slashdotted”. Well, maybe not that often, but if you have a small home server like mine, it wont handle that kind of traffic if it does happen. That’s a crucial point as a webmaster. Your stuff is being read, and that’s a great feeling for anyone on the internet.

Cloudflare steps in where you might fail. Cloudflare is going to cache everything on your website and if your site goes down, it will serve it for you. No additional software installation and more importantly, no hardware. All I had to do to set it up was modify where my DNS was pointing. The only downfall to this method is subdomain folks wont be able to take advantage. Sorry “mybestwebsite.hopto.org” or whoever. You have to own your own domain from GoDaddy or 1&1, or my most favorable these days, Domain.com.

If the event does happen, here’s what the theory tells me. My server goes down. Cloudflare will recognize that and serve cached copies of my pages, seeing as its receiving all the traffic first. At that point, the server comes back online, and Cloudflare works with my server to get everything updated and good to go.

Let’s talk setup, what did it REALLY take to get it set up completely? Step 1. I signed up for a Cloudflare account. Easy and free. Step 2. I told it I wanted it to protect dethlefsmoreno.com. Step 3. It copied my existing DNS records into its system. Step 4. I went to my registrar and changed my DNS to point to the Cloudflare DNS (provided at the appropriate time by Cloudflare). Step 5. Wait about an hour (times will vary depending on your DNS provider, registrar, etc). I got an email when it detected the DNS change, and no interruption in service.

What else does it do? It’s also supposed to stop bad people from getting to my website. People like Viagra spammers, or so on. Also it implements my Google Analytics code into each page, regardless of what my website actually serves up. Also tracks, more accurately, my visitors. Because I’m having them control the DNS settings (but not the registration or the hosting), they have the ability to do a lot more than the simple stuff that plugins of WordPress, Joomla, SMF, etc attempt to do.

I suggest giving this a try. Mileage will vary, as this is a low traffic website (for now), so I’d be interested to hear how it helps (or hurts) your website.

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