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Why I Stopped Using CloudFlare

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CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) that has gained a lot of popularity because of their alleged ability to supercharge your website. A lot of so-called experts (and even some web hosts) claim that implementing CloudFlare can help your site can gain a dramatic amount of boost in terms of speed and security!

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

While that might have been a fact a few years ago, there’s no truth to all of that anymore. It’s all just BS now. To me, CloudFlare is nothing but a buzzword that helps hosts attract customers who want speedy websites (i.e., everyone).

CloudFlare Makes Websites Slower, Not Faster

I used to implement CloudFlare on all my websites and it served its purpose well during the first few years. As CloudFlare became more popular, more and more webmasters used CloudFlare’s free plan. This is when performance started to suffer, and CloudFlare was no longer something that can help speed up your site with just a few clicks.

I noticed that my CloudFlare-enabled sites became much slower and they would often time out. Email notifications from my uptime monitor were common. The emails basically said my sites went down for a few minutes because of a CloudFlare timeout (error 522), and I got these notifs several times a day.

When I dropped CloudFlare, timeouts were a thing of the past and an improvement in terms of speed was apparent! So much for CloudFlare being able to “supercharge” websites…

How About Bandwidth Issues?

CloudFlare never failed to do wonders in terms of saving a ton of bandwidth, but speed and uptime weren’t things I was willing to compromise especially since there are other ways to save bandwidth. Simply implementing my own caching rules helped a lot and it’s been working well for me ever since.

Are you using WordPress and you’d rather not tinker with .htaccess and other settings to implement caching? I recommend you use a plugin such as W3 Total Cache. W3TC is a really powerful caching solution and as far as I know, it has more caching options/settings than CloudFlare. It helps a lot in saving bandwidth AND speeding up your WordPress site!

If you’re really inclined in utilizing a content delivery network to offload bandwidth, I suggest you try MaxCDN , KeyCDN,or Amazon S3. While these are paid providers, I personally think they’re much better than CloudFlare.

Should You Use CloudFlare or Not?

If you’re hosting with a really bad host with toasters as servers (and severely overloaded at that), then you might benefit speed-wise from CloudFlare. However, you should also be looking for a new web host!

If you’re with an excellent host who utilizes a reliable network and knows how to manage their servers well, then I think you’d be better off dropping CloudFlare for good.

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Comments

  • You have posted this on Jan 4 2015 and I’m saying the same from past 3 years, at least from 2012 that how BS cloudflare is and its nothing but a marketing buzz, but seems like people still believe in the holy grail of cloudflare. Good to someone who believe in facts, not in marketing buzz (like me).

  • Phongpanot Phairatwetchaphan

    I went to th.uncyclopedia.info and several times I try to get to this site from Google says Error 522. I try to get to this site several times before it was normal. I tried to get to this site today and got this same error once again.

  • Cloudflare has become popular. That’s where the problem is. It provides a free plan however, it’s servers are now overloaded. That’s why most of the time, most of the blogs get a timeout error.

    A viable alternative would be using Incapsula. Like Cloudflare, it has both free and paid plans.

  • Chris Rusch

    Stay away from Cloudflare! Their support is non-existent. I signed up with them to stop DDoS and they did much more harm to my site than the hackers ever could! I was down for days. A total disaster and a waste of time.

  • Indeed, Cloudfare started to spike for years now
    I had several sites with them but decided to go another way because timeout problems were appearing more and more

  • Andy

    Thanks, that link to leverage browser caching was very useful!

  • It would appear that my domains that run through Cloudflare have become slow and often give server errors. Ditching Cloudflare because of terrible service. Tried a lot of research and a lot of settings. Wasted a lot of time and likely frustrated a lot of customers away. Cloudflare has likely cost me thousands of dollars.

  • I have had nothing but good experinces with CloudFlare, and as a Web Hosting Provider myself, most issues people faced when I was helping them was user configuration error.

    I do agree at one period in time CloudFlare was at that “teen like” awkward stage where it was becoming big, yet was not able to support it’s new influx of users fast enough, I do not find this to be the case anymore.

    I use CloudFlare on every single domain I own, even if the domain is not directly for the use of HTTP services, their DNS is free and one of the best solutions I can find. They (at the time of posting) host 43% of of the “top 1 million websites.”

    Their proxy and security services are great too, all websites I use with CloudFlare often face a 500% performance increase. At the time of writing they are almost at 50 datacenters/PoPs and having a CDN service like CF is essential for international targeted websites, as my server could be located in Chicago, yet a user in the Netherlands can access a server less than 40 ms away from them, and have their connection load a lot faster. The Railgun software offered can make 200ms difference in website load times as well.
    If your website is slow, be sure to give CloudFlare some time to cache it normally and make sure you have your configurations setup correctly. I reccomend CF to all my customers and partners because of the great work they do for me.

    I would also like to point out that CloudFlare’s caching options are meant for easy setup for most general users, I always think setting up your own caching rules will make a huge difference.

    I also forgot to add, I have not once had downtime on my websites from CloudFlare. Nearly all my websites use a third party status tracker, which sends me emails and keeps a month long record of downtime. I have also never experinced any performance problems from first joining CF

  • Akemi

    This happens to every single service ,when it’s free and popular. so if you know something free ,then don’t let it be popular. at least it’s free packages.