What Cloudflare Can Do For Your Website

26th February, 2020 by

Did you know that Cloudflare, a free service from UK2.NET could supercharge your website and help you reach a global audience? 

Improve your site speed, security, and website intelligence in just a few clicks by adding a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to your UK2.NET CHI account.

When you create a website, it’s easy to assume the site exists in its optimal form. However, a new website is like a newly-built house. Despite its purity and freshness, there are many areas where the standard specification may be improved or refined with strategic additions.

Introducing Cloudflare

One of the best ways to optimise your website is to call on the assistance of a company called Cloudflare. This web performance and online security specialist is a trusted partner of UK2.NET, and we provide many of their products and services free of charge to our customers.

Among the benefits of Cloudflare hosting are a reduction in page loading times – a crucial metric in SEO calculations, and vitally important for retaining site visitors, as well as a boost in uptime and website security.

What are CDNs?

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) create replicas of your website content and store it in POPs, or points of presence, around the globe. When a website visitor requests your website, the location closest to the request supplies your website data at lightning speed.

CDNs also work to keep your website online in the event of an outage. If one data centre storing your website data should go offline for any amount of time, Cloudflare will pick up where the other data centre left off from other locations without missing a beat. This all happens behind the scenes, without your website visitors being aware.  

What Cloudflare can do for you:

DDoS Protection

Cloudflare increases your website security by examining your website traffic and preventing malicious attempts before they even begin.

Site Content Caching

Cloudflare instantly caches copies of your website to help you stay online longer and deliver website content faster.

Increased Uptime

If one of your locations should suffer downtime, Cloudflare makes sure that your website traffic doesn’t notice the difference by allowing a different location to pick up the slack.

Boosted Speed

Your data will be stored in 35 different locations around the world to drastically cut latency, and put your data where it needs to be.

Why choose Cloudflare?

Already used by over 13 million domains worldwide, Cloudflare hosting provides a number of valuable benefits:

1. It could double your website’s speed. 

This is achieved with a variety of behind-the-scenes processes, such as caching small files for later use. JavaScript content is loaded without interruptions, and multiple network requests are combined into one.

2. Cloudflare hosting provides protection against known threats. 

It weeds out spam in comments sections, blocking email harvesting or distributed denial of server attacks designed to force a site offline. Security settings can be adjusted at any time.

3. Your website is replicated around the world. 

Having copies of your site data in 35 global locations means it’s piped to visitors from a nearby server, slashing loading times. It ensures the site will always be visible, even if a data center goes offline.

4. Unexpected or periodic data spikes are catered for. 

Cloudflare comfortably handles occasional peaks in site traffic activity, like a blog going viral or a retailer of seasonal items approaching the busy season.

5. Regular site analytics are provided. 

These are generated every 24 hours as standard, giving you a detailed insight into how your website is currently performing. It’s also possible to request analytics updates every six hours if more real-time data is important.

How To Arm Your Website Against Cyber Attacks

Websites are the online equivalent of shop fronts, presenting a company’s public face to the world. Just like real shops, they can be attacked and temporarily forced out of business by malicious intruders. And while retailers use security screens and plate glass to protect their customer-facing profiles, online brands are increasingly adopting their own high-level security to repel unwanted attention and ensure websites perform to their full potential.

It can be comforting to view online attacks as a theoretical problem that only affects large firms. Yet, a broad array of cyberspace threats are endlessly seeking targets of any size.

It’s estimated that five thousand websites are attacked on a daily basis Attackers include everything from viruses and Trojans to DDoS attacks and hackers. While cyber-criminals and bot attacks commonly seek to harvest sensitive financial data or steal identities, many viruses are created purely to cause disruption.

When they manage to penetrate firewalls or breach security filters, the damage they cause can be catastrophic, often forcing companies out of business entirely.

Cloudflare boosts security

Cloudflare is trusted by more than 13 million domains and is the world’s largest cloud network platform. They offer 30 TBps of capacity and have partnered with 175 data centres worldwide to create a smoother, faster, safer experience for your website.

For truly secure websites, the Cloudflare content delivery network is highly recommended. By integrating the company’s self-titled service into a third-party website, it’s possible to instantly improve the speed and safety of the site. 

Website data is stored in 35 global locations, ensuring visitors from any country access a locally-held version of that content. By halving download speeds in this way, search engines improve site rankings and customers get near-instant access, something which is known to boost transaction rates.

Over and above this, Cloudflare optimises every page for the fastest possible download times, irrespective of whether it contains third-party plugins or ad servers. Further peace of mind comes from traffic checking that identifies and resolves any malicious threats.

Its popularity is reflected in the fact Cloudflare supports two million websites worldwide. Cloudflare supported websites collectively handle more traffic than Amazon, Apple, Bing, eBay, and Wikipedia combined.

With so many features incorporated as standard, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Cloudflare has been adopted by clients ranging from national Governments and Fortune 500 companies to bloggers and freelancers.

How to add Cloudflare to your CHI account:

UK2.NET clients can add Cloudflare to their account for free!

  • Simply log into your CHI account with your username and password.
  • Click on the Domains tab from the menu on the left-hand side of your screen.
  • Select the domain for which you would like to add CDN service.
  • From the menu along the top of your CHI dashboard, click the Cloudflare tab.
  • Select the package you would like to add to your UK2.NET account and click Checkout.
  • Complete the checkout process and enjoy your new supercharged website!

Additional Ways To Reduce Page Loading Times

Page loading times are one of the key factors used for ranking web pages in search engine results pages. They’re the first impression customers get about your online presence, even before any content has displayed. And contrary to popular opinion, they’re easy to improve upon. A new website can be fettled and honed prior to going live, with its performance tested in multiple browsers.

That said, an existing website doesn’t have to remain sluggish either. Audiences won’t wait more than a few seconds for content to start displaying, so time is of the essence. Below, we’ve listed a dozen ways to slash page loading times, without having to substantially change an existing website:

1. Switch hosting provider.

An inefficient shared server may struggle to meet multiple access requests. However, that’s not something UK2.NET clients have to worry about. Our hosting solutions also offer a 99.99% service level agreement, providing peace of mind.

2. Use slick templates.

Few people write their own HTML any more, but not all template designs are created equal. Choose mobile-optimised designs which aren’t bogged down with unusual fonts, full-screen background graphics or parallax scrolling.

3. Use caching.

This won’t benefit first-time visitors to your homepage. It will ensure that recurring site elements don’t require reloading on every subsequent page visit. Meanwhile, new content like blogs will be displayed when people revisit the page.

4. Compress media files.

Batch compression of graphics files is fine as long as they don’t look pixellated on a 1920×1080 monitor. Always choose the most efficient file format, such as JPGs and MP3s, which offer near-universal compatibility.

5. Increase white space.

Some people want to fill every inch of on-screen space, but it’s better to let web pages breathe. White space downloads very quickly, making it easier to see other content and giving visitors a better browsing experience.

6. Streamline web code.

Tag clouds, redundant image placeholders, and unnecessary CSS all act as ballast. You might need expert advice about which chunks of website code to strip out. However, future site visitors won’t miss these inefficient page elements.

7. Embed media files from third-party platforms.

Powered by the boundless resources of parent company Google, YouTube’s servers display content incredibly quickly. Instead of hosting video clips on your own server, embed them from third-party sites.

8. Prevent autoplaying.

Video content has to buffer before playing. This can be hugely damaging to page loading times since it competes for bandwidth against static content. Always pause video clips, displaying them with a compelling thumbnail.

9. Pare back plugins.

The WordPress framework has over 55,000 separate plugins. Only install something that’s essential for the site to operate. Some plugins are specifically designed to improve page loading times – Cloudflare, WP Smush, BJ Lazy Load, etc.

10. Avoid one-page websites.

Even with lazy loading one-page sites tend to be flabby. Split the site over subpages, ensuring that homepage content displays as quickly as possible.

11. Remove hover ads.

Interstitial adverts and overlays fill the screen until they’re actioned or closed. This increases loading times, and may also be ranked as the page’s main content. There are better ways to encourage people to sign up for mailing lists.

12. Pare back ecommerce portals.

Quicker checkouts maximise sales, so only request essential data like payment details. Allow people to check out as guests. Once they’ve completed a transaction, encourage them to register with an email address.

Get started today with an optimised, super-fast, always available website today from UK2.NET.

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