Cloudflare Overview

Cloudflare is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top CDN tools. It is most often compared to Imperva Incapsula: Cloudflare vs Imperva Incapsula

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is the leading performance and security company helping to build a better Internet. Today the company runs one of the world’s largest networks that powers more than 9 million Internet applications. More than 10 trillion Internet requests flow through Cloudflare’s network each month, accounting for nearly 10% of all Internet requests globally.

Cloudflare protects and accelerates any Internet application online without adding hardware, installing software, or changing a line of code. Internet properties powered by Cloudflare have all web traffic routed through its intelligent global network, which gets smarter with each new site added. As a result, they see significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.

Buyer's Guide

Download the DDoS Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: June 2021

Cloudflare Customers

Trusted by over 9,000,000 Internet Applications and APIs, including Nasdaq, Zendesk, Crunchbase, Steve Madden, OkCupid, Cisco, Quizlet, Discord and more.

Cloudflare Video

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User at bitmart
Real User
Has helped improve the security of our organization

What is our primary use case?

We use this solution for security.

Pros and Cons

  • "The technical support is good."
  • "The product support needs to be accessible from more places, a wider area of coverage."

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.
Technical Engineer at a tech services company
Real User
My servers used to have a lot of traffic, we put it on the public settings and now there is no downtime

What is our primary use case?

My primary use for the Cloudflare service is for load balancing. I also use the product to manage the connection to my web server's backend.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature of Cloudflare is that it has a free version. They give us the free version with the anti-DDoS features and also the load balancing solution."
  • "If they improve on the placement of their data centers, it would be better. I'm living in a remote area. I would like to connect to them without any kind of lag."

What other advice do I have?

In my experience, Cloudflare is a great solution. If they improve on the placement of their data centers, it would be better. I'm living in a remote area. I would like to connect to them without any kind of lag. I believe that Cloudflare is okay as it is now because they are partnering with Google. Cloudflare improves performance on my websites. It is a great partner for cloud infrastructure for anyone who wants to use the security service and other features. I would rate Cloudflare with an eight out of ten. I know they are constantly improving.
Find out what your peers are saying about Cloudflare, Imperva, Sucuri Security and others in DDoS. Updated: June 2021.
509,641 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Product Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Consultant
The dashboard is very well thought out, giving useful information

What is our primary use case?

I just switched to Cloudflare as my domain registrar. That led me to use their CDN service, and I will probably use them for SSL when that is available.

What other advice do I have?

I encourage anyone interested in holistic internet service delivery solutions to check out Cloudflare. They have nice simple solutions that work well together, are easy to set up, and their UI/UX is intuitive.
IT Service Manager at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Allows us to self-host services like Rocket.Chat and Node-RED, in HA mode

What is our primary use case?

In addition to a reliable and easy to use a DNS service, Cloudflare enables us to host websites on hardware in-house, by protecting us against DDoS attacks as well as from our slightly unreliable ISP.

Pros and Cons

  • "Cloudflare allows us to self-host services such as Rocket.Chat and Node-RED, in high-availability mode, thanks to round robin DNS which allows us to share one hostname between our two locations."

    What other advice do I have?

    I'd rate it a 10 out of 10. There is no service as mature as Cloudflare that is also as easy to use, reliable, and hosted from excellent infrastructure.
    Senior Dev Ops Engineer at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
    Real User
    Brings enterprise-grade features to my small business clients at low or no cost

    What is our primary use case?

    I use this for DNS for many of my former clients and personal sites. When using services like Heroku, Cloudflare is very useful for CNAME flattening. I also use it for their end-to-end SSL with TLS authentication on nginx for securing servers. The second major use case is as a CDN where I will push logic to the edge for caching and redirects.

    Pros and Cons

    • "When using services like Heroku, Cloudflare is very useful for CNAME flattening. I also use it for their end-to-end SSL with TLS authentication on nginx for securing servers."
    • "Centralized, full-featured DNS."
    • "Sometimes their more advanced caching tools can cause higher first-byte times and problems with JavaScript."
    • "They lack a good way to manage DNS as a company, since everything is relegated to single account logins until you get to the higher levels. They have come out with a paid feature to remedy this, but I have not had a chance to fully review it yet to know if it fixes the access problem."

    What other advice do I have?

    This product is good for simple things, but you may need other tools for more fine-grained control of specific portions.
    Senior SEO Strategist at a healthcare company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Easy customization of the Page Rules and simplicity of the dashboards are key

    What is our primary use case?

    I work as the Senior SEO Strategist on a very small in-house team of digital marketers for Lakeview Health, a drug and alcohol rehab. Upon starting my role, one of my first tasks was migrating our websites to a new web hosting provider so that we could take ownership of them. With all our sites developed in WordPress, I decided on hosting with WP Engine which recommended Cloudflare in the setup process. In the past, I worked in environments where the developers and IT team managed the websites, so I admit that there are gaps of knowledge in my understanding of how the internet works. Using… more »

    Pros and Cons

    • "The simplicity of the overall dashboard makes it a great product for a user like me who has less understanding of the internet than a developer or other more technical people. It gives me peace of mind. I also love the easy customization of the Page Rules."
    • "One area of improvement is in the Access Rules. Hypothetically, if we wanted to block or challenge traffic outside of the United States, the only way to currently do that (as far as I know) is to enter every single country outside of the United States. That could be a labor intensive job. A solution could be to enable users to create a rule where traffic is only allowed within a certain country."

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate Cloudflare a nine out of 10. I haven’t used any other solutions that might compete with Cloudflare, so I am a bit biased, but for ease of use, features, and cost effectiveness, I think it’s a great solution.
    ET
    Business Director at a tech services company with 201-500 employees
    Real User
    Easy to deploy, gives us peace of mind regarding DDOS attacks

    What is our primary use case?

    For DDOS mitigation.

    Pros and Cons

      • "I think the APIs are a little bit hard for us to work with. The APIs could be more open so that we could integrate better with our SolarWinds or our monitoring solution."
      • "The reporting can definitely be improved to offer a lot more explanation on something that may have happened or has actually happened."

      What other advice do I have?

      My advice would be to review exactly what you need and talk to different people to understand the potential advantages and pitfalls of implementing these kinds of solutions. Then identify the right product to meet your requirements. From a solution perspective and from a product perspective I would give Cloudflare an eight out of 10. It's a reasonably priced solution that meets customers' needs and it's not too difficult to deploy.
      Senior Site Infrastructure Engineer at Kurungsiku
      Real User
      Top 10Leaderboard
      Initial setup is straightforward and guided by Cloudflare

      What is most valuable?

      - DNS Management - CDN - Page rules

      How has it helped my organization?

      - Easier DNS management via API - Easier http to https redirect using page rules

      What needs improvement?

      Several features that I think is essential is not available in the free and business package. One of them is multi users. Multi users and multi API key is important for organizations in any size.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      2-3 years

      How was the initial setup?

      Initial setup is straightforward and guided by Cloudflare. NS changes for new site is easy. For existing NS migrated to Cloudflare, user must recheck current DNS records to ensure all records already available in Cloudflare.

      What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

      So far I use…
      COO at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
      Real User
      Top 20
      The API gives us the ability to remote control our DNS settings. We need templates and profiles badly.

      What other advice do I have?

      * Never put your eggs in one basket. Make sure that you have a contingency plan for DNS. * Make sure that you can rapidly move domains off CloudFlare. This can be done with scripting from your existing registrar, or with GoDaddy/CFR/Route53, which is a good triangle for speedy moves. * Keep an eye on GEO statistics on your important domains and make sure that you are able to provide a quick regional alternative. * Spread out domains over multiple accounts and different CloudFlare Servers. * Route53 is a good alternative to CloudFlare.
      Systems and New Media Manager at a leisure / travel company with 51-200 employees
      Real User
      Page rules help shape traffic to the appropriate pages.

      What other advice do I have?

      Give it a shot. The setup was easy and you can see the results right away.
      Manager - Web Development at a engineering company with 1,001-5,000 employees
      Real User
      Allows you to create various sub-domains and A-record management.

      What other advice do I have?

      If someone is looking for a secure and optimized wrapper over an open website, I would suggest CloudFlare services. It will instantly help you to secure and optimize websites/web pages or blogs. It is quick, easy to use, and simple to implement.
      Principal Web Developer, Managing Director at a tech company with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Cache management for pages on a high traffic Drupal site due to seasonal performance spikes.

      What other advice do I have?

      They have a few introductory screencasts for people just getting started, which is helpful. I've now implemented CloudFlare on three new projects, so for most common cases it is solid and straightforward.
      Ui Developer at a marketing services firm with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Provides spam protection and prevents unnecessary bot traffic. It also offers Edge caching on a CDN.

      What other advice do I have?

      Ask for guidance from someone who has done it before.
      WordPress Developer & Consultant at a tech services company
      Consultant
      It caches all static resources such as JavaScript & CSS on their servers and delivers them directly to website visitors.

      What other advice do I have?

      Use the page rules and flexible SSL, for sure. If you have an e-commerce portal, then implement the full SSL support.
      Online Marketing & Development Manager at a engineering company with 501-1,000 employees
      Vendor
      It offers single-point DNS management for all of the company’s domains that might be registered with different registrars.

      What other advice do I have?

      CloudFlare provides an answer to a variety of issues, so it gives you very high value for your money. If you are not sure, take it for a test run; it’s free.
      System Administrator at a tech vendor with 51-200 employees
      Real User
      It allows you to avoid running DNS locally. Enterprise-level DDoS mitigation plans are cost effective compared to on-premises/distributed solutions​.

      What other advice do I have?

      If you need your website accessible at all times, consider going with them.
      Technical Lead at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      It is easy to set up and flushes the cache immediately.

      What other advice do I have?

      In my opinion, CloudFlare is one of the best CDN networks I have ever used. It provides a quick flushing feature that is not supported in some of other popular CDN networks such as Akamai and CloudFront. CloudFlare is a very easy-to-use CDN as compared to others.
      Linux/Cisco/Microsoft Infraestructure Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Even if it can’t handle very large-scale attacks, DDoS protection is easier with CloudFlare as a primary shield.

      What other advice do I have?

      Don’t hesitate to contact support; they answer very quickly.
      Business process Advisor for RTP at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
      Vendor
      Several issues related to their services highlight that it may be better to stay free and handle your DDoS protection yourself.
      Subscribing to Cloudflare (from its website) means changing your nameserver IPs and your web server IPs.  Many people don't understand issues related to using the Cloudflare service: Those people who want to hide: In fact, Cloudflare is used by many people who want to hide the IP of their web servers from local authorities, governments or customers. That's why the Russian government threatens to block all the websites hosted on Cloudflare. Cloudflare at some point didn't cooperate with the Russian authorities and refused to provide the real web servers IP behind Cloudflare who violated the Russian law.  http://rkn.gov.ru/news/rsoc/news24880.htm Article in english As governments become more and more efficient at blocking websites, we may see in the future this kind…
      Shift Lead with 501-1,000 employees
      MSP
      With data centers in Germany and the Netherlands, our sites render quickly for our EU customers, but the load times aren't as quick for our customers outside the EU, like those in Asia.

      What other advice do I have?

      Since it's a low-risk implementation, I encourage all users that have issues with their response times, occasional DOS attacks and page rendering to give CloudFlare a go.
      Co Founder at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Real User
      Basic security matters are handled automatically, although it can be bypassed easily by an attacker with knowledge of your main IP address.

      What other advice do I have?

      Prepare your implementation while making tests in a pre-production environment. Do not let CloudFlare take care of everything, you still have to take care of security matters for your services.
      IT Consultant, Business Owner, Lecturer at a tech consulting company with 10,001+ employees
      Consultant
      It improved the speed of my site significantly, reducing the page loading times to appropriate levels, but there were a few times when some of their CDN nodes would fail.

      What other advice do I have?

      If your budget is low, then Cloudflare is the only cost effective solution, at least to begin with. The best combination of CDN and security features at a low price. At a slightly higher budget, Incapsula may be a better solution especially since they provide a faster CDN and better security features.
      Information Security Consultant at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      It is an incredibly advanced content delivery network, however, it has the non-strict version of Full SSL.
      CloudFlare is an incredibly advanced content delivery network (CDN) that offers boosts to the security and performance of your site. They act as a reverse proxy and shield your web server from exposure to the wider Internet. You get huge bandwidth savings and a reduction in the resources consumed on your server, so why have I just decided to 'go it alone'? Introduction CloudFlare launched their beta in June 2010 and very soon after they followed with their official launch in September of the same year. Their free accounts come with many of the great features they offer and their blog makes for some really interesting reading. This all sounds like a match made in heaven but I recently found myself faced with the tough decision of leaving CloudFlare and losing their support. This…
      Owner/Developer at a marketing services firm with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      I needed to do something differently because we were getting hacked often.
      I’ve been with CloudFlare for a year and a half at the time of writing this post and realized that I never gave it a review of any kind. What kind of terrible person am I? I worked for a couple a few years ago who was using a content management system called Joomla to build their clients’ sites. We would launch a site by simply pointing the DNS settings to our servers and calling it good. Then we started getting hacked. A lot. With the number of sites we had on our server, the exploits found in the plugins being used, as well as poor server practices, we had a huge target on our chest. A while later I decided to leave to company to go on to do other things. One of those things was to open my own web development and hosting shop. First things first: Get away from Joomla. Next…
      Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      It allows us to deploy websites using less hardware but more insight into analytics and threats would be a good.

      What other advice do I have?

      I would recommend that you use it. It has been very useful and well worth the cost to me over the last three years.
      CEO with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Very fast, very secure and easy to work with

      Valuable Features:

      The speed improvements / CDN caching / Railgun.

      Improvements to My Organization:

      Because our website is blazing fast it improves our conversion rates.

      Use of Solution:

      More than one year

      Stability Issues:

      We experienced some downtime in the fall of 2013, causing us to switch to Incapsula. That was a bad decision, because Incapsula is much slower.
      Owner at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Does It Really Work?
      I’ve been on a quest for the need for speed lately. I recently swapped to a new host Host Gator and that helped with the load speeds of the site increased (a bit). But it also gave me an opportunity to make the site even more lean and mean by going through the plugins I was using and removing the fluff. A big part of that though was deciding to add a CDN to help optimize and speed up the load times of the site. But like most bloggers on a budget I had to find something that not only worked but was in my price range – free! This is where CloudFlare comes into play. Read more to find out what a CDN is, and if CloudFlare is right for you! Site Speed Even if you have the greatest content in the world and a site that is designed right the one thing that will turn people…
      CIO at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Why we are canceling our CloudFlare Pro account and leaving the service
      Appboy is going to cancel our Pro CloudFlare account and leave the service. CloudFlare has a great feature set, but their uptime track record has been awful. I’ve been a big fan of CloudFlare’s since I heard of it: I was in the audience at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC 2011 where CloudFlare presented. I was so impressed that I immediately pulled out my laptop and moved all my personal websites to CloudFlare. My first Tweet ever was about how cool CloudFlare is. I put Appboy on CloudFlare as soon as we brought our first servers online. Since then, my professional experience with CloudFlare has been suboptimal. The first major interruption was in early November. SSL randomly stopped working, which broke server-client communication in our iOS SDK product. When I logged in to…
      Director of Development at a energy/utilities company with 51-200 employees
      Vendor
      Wonderful service, It reduced my bandwith and server load immensely
      I am a paid Cloudflare customer. The service has been wonderful. As in all services, there is a setup that is required and a learning curve. One of the biggest reasons for me to implement it was to reduce server load. My forums keep growing and to reduce the need to keep upgrading, we tried Cloudflare. It has reduced my bandwidth and server load immensely. For example, my bandwidth dropped from 45GB/month to 10GB/month. Server hits went from 3.5 million/month to 600 thousand/month. Cloudflare is setup if the server does not respond timely, then your users will see an error message. This is an indication of a slow server versus a Cloudflare issue. Who's the culprit- Cloudflare or hosting? When I have seen the CloudFlare error screen for site is…
      Principal at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
      Consultant
      Why I moved from CloudFlare to PageSpeed
      Yes, I’m obsessive about Webpage load speed. Only in the past year or so has Website speed become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) factor however I’ve always spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to speed up my Website (as well as find ways to speed up all Websites I build for clients). Until a few short years back, besides using state of the art software and hardware (NGINX, Ubuntu Server, reverse HTTP proxies etc.) in addition to a CDN (Content Delivery Network) such as Amazon Web Services CloudFront, there really wasn’t any simple means of speeding up WordPress Websites. How times have changed in a few short years! We now have super awesome services such as CloudFlare and the Google PageSpeed Service (PageSpeed service isn’t widely available yet but…