Cloudflare Security and Analytics

I recently moved our hosting, and a number of clients hosting over to WP Engine, but what I didn’t expect was a fairly significant drop in visits to our site to the tune of 25%. What I didn’t realise was that this was in fact a blessing in disguise!

I decided a few months ago, that I was tired of the security threats to WordPress and I needed to find a reliable premium partner to manage our clients WordPress environments.

This search landed on WP Engine, who are the industry gurus.  It’s worth mentioning up front that we now offer WP Engine Hosting at a discounted rate to our clients, which includes fully setting it up.

So in order to move to WP Engine I had to troubleshoot a few things which lead us to Cloudflare.

Steps we needed to take:
– Update the DNS settings (of our Domain Name) to point to WP Engine. (DNS is your domain network settings which tells internet traffic where to go. Think of it as a traffic controller)
– update MX records (email) so all email traffic would point to our newly set up Google Apps Email.

The issue we had, was that our domain partner, Crazy Domains, who’m we partner with to offer our domain registration, charge $18 per year, per client for DNS hosting. So we searched for a free provider, and after a few hours stumbled on Cloudflare.

On the face of it, I thought Cloudflare was going to be just a simple DNS provider, but I was wrong.

The sign up process was unbelievable smooth. They grabbed all the DNS records from Crazy Domains and told me exactly what I had.  I was able to simply edit the records, point to WP Engine, and point our email to Google and relax.

For those that don’t know this is what the DNS settings look like:

But once I started scratching under the surface I was finding a whole host of value added services.

The biggest win for me was finding out Cloudflare offer enhanced website load times and security. The details from their site state:

On average, a website on CloudFlare loads twice as fast for its visitors, sees 65% fewer requests and saves 60% of bandwidth

Our host WP Engine already provides caching and security, but for those that have the standard hosting with us, to date we haven’t been able to offer caching and security.  This is likely to be a value add that we’ll incorporate moving forward.

So back to the issue we were having with less traffic.   There was a simple answer to that, and it was reduced threat traffic (or spam if you like).

Take a look at the graph below which shows % of hacks that were eliminated, close to a quarter of all traffic.  That certainly accounts for the ‘wait for it’ 25% reduction in traffic doesn’t it? 

The case for using Cloudflare moving forward is a strong one, and whilst we are yet to define what a service like this will cost (not a lot considering they offer their service for free) needless to say we are going to do what we can to offer it as soon as humanely possible.

I got the need, the need for speed!