Cloudfare CDN Review.
Apologies to all for being blocked from the a3rev site as spammers over the past 4 days. We have been trying to implement a CDN solution on the site and had installed the Pro version of CloudFlare.
What is a CDN
CDN is a caching service. It is a network of servers that stores web pages. When a visitor accesses one of your web pages, the CDN directs the request to a server that’s nearest to the location of the visitor.
Sounds simple – nope.
Cloudflare has built in security which blocks all suspicious visitors and you can set your security level. I’d set the a3rev sites security at ‘Moderate’. What we discovered is that progressively since installing CloudFlare it has decided that everyone in the world except those that reside in North America are spammers and should be blocked.
As a result anyone outside of the USA or Canada who tried to purchase software or post to the help forums was being blocked as a spammer. When I contacted CloudFlare support about this they responded very quickly to their credit. The advice I got to fix the situation was not in my mind satisfactory. It was basically:
1. Set the security to Low
2. Go through and manually mark each country in the world as a trusted source of traffic. This has to be done one country at a time.
3. Load each IP that has been blocked as a ‘trusted’ IP. (How would I know the IP of people who have been blocked.)
I had previously used CloudFlare and found these ‘trusted’ settings as unreliable. We would mark a specific IP address as ‘trusted’ and CloudFlare would still block it. They may have fixed this but I was not prepared to try it.
Cloudflare CDN Review Recommendation:
Whilst CloudFlare is a great concept and cutting edge technology and offer free accounts my recommendation is that if you want people from around the world to be able to access your site – do not use it.
You could be more patient than me and go through and manually add each of the 196 countries in the world (or the countries you trust) to the ‘trusted’ menu. How offensive to not trust the entire population of a country. You could also add IP ranges and individual IP’s to the ‘trusted’ list. As I said I’m not convinced that this feature actually works – it may – but it didn’t in the past.
My Cloudflare CDN review recommendation is from our experience, if you run an e-commerce store or a forum – DO NOT use it. We estimate that using CloudFlare for just 4 days has cost us around USD $400 in lost sales from our online store, let alone all of those existing clients who have been blocked from posting support requests – rejected as spammers.
Not to mention blocked traffic.
The other concerning thing is that with CloudFlare installed our website traffic for yesterday – Monday was 50% down on the lowest number of Monday traffic recorded over the last 6 Mondays – just a coincidence, maybe?
I suggested to CloudFlare support that they should have a BIG WARNING notice about this on their sign up page.