But CloudFlare is much more than that. It is what’s known as a caching reverse proxy. You see traditional CDNs would only serve a subset of internet requests being addressed by my server, in other words a request for an image would be routed to the CDN, while a request for dynamic HTML would go to my server. With CloudFlare every request first goes to their servers, whichever is closest to you. This allows for a new set of services not given by regular CDNs. CloudFlare can figure out on its own what items are cacheable, rather than have me do it on an item by item basis. Plus they can stop web attacks against VCR, be it an SQL Injection or a DDOS. CloudFlare also optimizes my connection to third party apps like Facebook & Twitter.
Here are the Pingdom.com readings from before I installed CloudFlare:
So you can see, my page load went from five & a half seconds to a third of a second, and the number of http requests went from 57 to 25. I went from being slower than 72% of all tested websites to faster than 98% of them. All in all worth the few hours it took me to implement CloudFlare!
Related Article: VCR Website Optimization