Combining CDN.net with CloudFlare for Speed and Security

In April, CDN.net showed you how to combine CloudFlare with CDN.net hosting. You could use one or the other alone, but combining them offer the best in speed and security. CDN.net’s content delivery is faster than CloudFlare’s free options, but CloudFlare offers DDoS protection from some of the nastiest attacks. In this article, we’ll show you why combining them gives you the best of both worlds especially when you need lightning fast speeds with a high-level of security.

CDNs and Fast Response Times

CDNs work as a reverse proxy, which means that content is delivered to your clients from cache. When you work with a CDN, the client makes a request from the CDN at one of its data centers. This data center is determined by the user’s geographic location. For most CDNs (including CDN.net), they have PoP (point of presence) locations in several locations around the globe.

Although data transfers at the speed of light on fiber, light still has to travel thousands of miles with traditional hosting if a user from one location is accessing a server on another continent. This distance still causes latency even with plenty of bandwidth for both the server and client. Think of streaming where large amounts of data transfer constantly. If any kind of interference happens during transmission, your users see fuzzy, pixelated, low-quality videos.

The chance of latency issues increases with distance. It could be from interference, broken cables, overloaded routers, or poor wireless connections. When you place the client and server closer together, you reduce these chances and improve speeds.

Another advantage of a CDN is the reverse proxy cache. Caching at any level can speed up a website. Even WordPress has its own caching mechanism. When users open your site, a CDN has cached copies of your site across data centers. Usually, this cache contains static content such as images and JavaScript includes. For dynamic content, a CDN will have a fast-track pathway to retrieving the content faster than a traditional host.

Between caching and delivery locations, a CDN can take any slow site and speed it up considerably. You still need to optimize code and images, ensure your site follows standards, and test it using speed tests.

Adding CloudFlare for Security

CloudFlare has several security procedures, but DDoS is the main one most users sign up for. Most serious DDoS attacks are around 60Gbps. However, the recent DDoS attack on Dyn was 1.2Tbps. The previous attack on KrebsOnSecurity.com was 620Gbps.

CloudFlare isn’t the only DDoS mitigation service, and many of the big tech corporations have their own. If you’ve ever received a captcha in Google, you’re seeing their DDoS mitigation in action. Too many requests at the same time can trigger DDoS detection systems.

CDNs have a slight defense against smaller DDoS attacks. Since data is retrieved from cache, the host system isn’t affected. Again, this is not complete DDoS protection, but it does help on some level. Without effective DDoS protection, however, a CDN can be overwhelmed with requests. CloudFlare detects these attacks and mitigates them before they cripple your site.

DDoS attacks are not clear-cut attacks. There is no warning, and attackers are always finding new ways to avoid detection and mitigation. The release of Mirai code, which was behind several major DDoS attacks showed that even some malware writers are including ways to remove competitive malware on the same system.

If you run any major ecommerce store or revenue-generating website, you need DDoS protection. Combining CDN.net with CloudFlare gives you lightning-fast speeds while still giving you the security to protect your investments.

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