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Cloudflare: What is it and why you should use it

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a content delivery network and web security service that was founded in 2009. They protect against malicious attacks, DDOS, and other forms of cyber-attacks. It has grown to be the largest CDN on the internet and they are currently protecting about 20% of the internet.

Cloudflare provides security, performance, and reliability to its customers. Their services are available for use by any website or web application without the need for any additional hardware or software implementation.

How does Cloudflare speed up your website?

Cloudflare is speeding up your website by caching it and serving it through CDN (Content delivery network) locations nearest the visitor. As of 2019, Cloudflare wrote in a blog post that they are now present in 193 cities spread over 90 countries around the world (source). Already in 2020, we saw another post stating that they are now present in over 200 different cities around the world.

When someone types in your website's URL the request will be sent to Cloudflare. From here the request will be handled by a proprietary technology called Anycast which will route the visitor to the nearest data center. There will be stored a cached version of your website inside that data center which will be served to the visitor. Using this method causes your website to show about twice as fast in some locations, because of the shorter travel distance. A rule of thumb is that the longer travel, the longer time it takes, and when the distance can be shortened we shorten that time.

Cloudflare is 100% renewable

Cloudflare has for a long time been stating that they are running on 100% renewable energy, but this can be interpreted in many ways. Today a company can become green just by buying carbon points which will deduct their emissions. We look at this option as being a sort of greenwashing because you don't really improve anything except giving away money to manipulate the numbers, but it does not seem to be like that with Cloudflare.

In a short email interview with Cloudflare's press department, we were told: "Cloudflare is committed to, and is powering, its operations with 100% renewable energy; meaning, both our network and our facilities are powered with 100% renewable energy". After researching a bit more we found that Cloudflare is aiming to completely remove its carbon dioxide emissions dating back to 2010 by the year 2025. Today Cloudflare is running on 100% renewables, but like most others, they have a past, and instead of just aiming to become better, they want to correct their past as well.

Cloudflare Pages

While corresponding with Cloudflare's press department we were made aware of Cloudflare Pages, which is a new service that Cloudflare is offering. 

It is a JAMstack platform for frontend developers to collaborate and deploy websites, and more than just that. As Cloudflare is writing on their website: "Frontend developers want to build fast and beautiful sites, not play system integrator: bogged down by configuring build systems, setting up environments, and keeping production up to date. With Pages, you can connect your GitHub or GitLab account. After that, it’s just git push — we’ll build and deploy for you."

Cloudflare pages allow you to collaborate on changes and quickly deploy which makes it much faster for you to push new updates to your clients. You can preview changes early and work together with your whole team at no extra cost, so having large teams is not what is going to break the bank for you. You also get a fast network, secure solution, and HTTP/3 directly out of the box.

While researching on Cloudflare Pages we came across one thing, in particular, that seemed extra interesting. When you host a website with Cloudflare Pages it will automatically run on 100% renewable energy, and on top of that, you will automatically receive a green batch from The Green Web foundation that will prove to your visitors that your website is green.

What is The Green Web foundation?

The not-for-profit organization was started in the Netherlands in 2011 and has since then been working on making the internet run on 100% renewable energy and they are aiming to achieve that by 2030. As of writing this article, their database contains over 320 certified green hosts in 26 countries around the world, and every day it is growing bigger. More companies are working together with the organization to achieve this goal and we believe they can do it.

The Green Web foundation also created a web browser extension that you can add to the Google Chrome browser. The extension will show you in real-time if a website is hosted green directly in your Google, Bing, or Yahoo search results. If the website is green it will receive a green striped line under the link. As an extra feature, you can make the browser extension filter out results that aren't green, which means that if your website isn't green you risk not getting seen.

You can read more about The Green Web foundation here on their website.

Why should you use Cloudflare?

If you arent yet convinced, let's recap what we have been going through in this article, and then you will clearly see that hosting using Cloudflare not only benefits you, your visitors, and your website, but also the environment.

  • Cloudflare is running on 100% renewable.
  • Cloudflare is aiming to remove all prior carbon dioxide emissions by 2025.
  • Cloudflare speeds up your website by serving it through over 200+ data center locations around the world.
  • Cloudflare is making your website more secure and protecting it against DDoS attacks.
  • Cloudflare is FREE to use and offers subscriptions at a low cost.
  • Cloudflare offers free email forwarding with your own domain.
  • Cloudflare is working together with The Green Web foundation to make the internet completely fossil-free by 2030.
  • Cloudflare Pages gives you faster development, deployment, and collaboration.
  • Cloudflare Pages automatically ensures scalability and security.
  • Cloudflare Pages automatically gives you a green batch from The Green Web foundation to show everyone your website is green.

Getting started with Cloudflare is FREE, and only requires a few steps to get set up. You can click this link to sign up for an account today. Once you have set up your account and followed the steps to serve your website over a CDN you will instantly see the positive changes that Cloudflare provides.

Thank you for reading this article about Cloudflare. We encourage you to share your experience with using Cloudflare or The Green Web foundation below.


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