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What is CloudFlare?

Updated Oct 31st, 2017 at 12:05 GMT

 Cloudflare is a type of CDN (content delivery network) and acts as a reverse proxy. To make it work, you have to add your site in their systems and change the nameservers to theirs. So, all the traffic is going through their servers first. This is usually done for speed as cloudflare caches some elements of your site (like CSS/JS but always depends on the package the user has with them) before displaying them but also it works like a traffic filtering system to prevent invalid http requests (robots, DDoS, etc).

Quoting from their site:

"Assuming the visitor is not a threat, the frontline checks the request against the Cached resources on our front line servers to see if the resource being requested is in CloudFlare’s local cache. If we have a local copy of the file being requested, then we can deliver it directly to the visitor from a local data center greatly increasing request response time.” 

When the visitor is a possible threat, depending on the package the user has, cloudflare is setting up challenges to the visitor before showing the actual site like browser check or captcha.

Also, for sites with SSLs that point to cloudflare, don’t forget that if they are using Cloudflare’s Full SSL or Full Strict SSL feature, you have to install the SSL on the server with us and in cloudflare. You can always advise the customer to click on the SSL that they have with cloudflare and it will tell them all about it.

If you want to read more about it, you can check the “Long Answer” on the bottom of the following page: 

 https://support.cloudflare.com/hc/en-us/articles/205177068-Step-1-How-does-CloudFlare-work-