5 Reasons to Not Use Free Cloudflare CDN

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’re already using or considering using Cloudflare CDN. Maybe you’re on the free plan, or maybe you’re on one of their paid plans. But what if I were to tell you that there are 5 reasons not to use Cloudflare’s CDN?

They aren’t a CDN in the conventional sense, to start. They are a security firm, and what they refer to as a “CDN” is really just a distributed reverse proxy.

There is no longer direct access to your web server since they must manage your DNS. Each and every request initially passes via CloudFlare. It’s probably preferable to compare it to something else, like CloudFront, in order to comprehend the impact this has. (Edit: A different zone arrangement, as stated below, can be used to get around this.)

CloudFlare must retrieve the content from the origin, which is your server if your page’s HTML portion isn’t cached at an endpoint, which it won’t be if you haven’t configured it to do that. Before it is provided to your user, there is a connection/handshake/retrieval thing that takes place.

Since you are merely adding another leap, fetching from the origin for each request will take longer if the HTML answer isn’t or can’t be cached (limitations below). Render time will be sped up because the remaining assets are simple and typically safe to cache, but first-byte performance will be noticeably slower.

They don’t have much HTML caching. Say you want edge locations to cache index.php. This is good since it reduces the load on your web server and speeds up the response time because the cache is located closer to the user.

5 reasons to not use free cloudflare cdn

A “vary cookie” is commonly used to do this. As a result, the edge location will notice the presence of a session cookie and understand that it has to fetch a special responsibility for the user who is now signed in.

There doesn’t appear to be “vary cookie” feature in CloudFlare (at least not on the free tier). This implies that you either cache a page for everyone or nobody.

Speaking of caching assets, each time anything changes, you must concatenate your assets and increase your file names. Since CDN caching is frequently highly harsh, “style.css” files cached at edge locations won’t be updated for days or more.

5 Reasons to Not Use Free Cloudflare CDN

Here are the five reason that one must not use Free CDN

Free plans have limited features

While Cloudflare’s free CDN plan does offer many features, it does have some limitations. For example, you’re only able to use one subdomain on the free plan. You’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan if you want to use Cloudflare’s CDN on multiple subdomains.

Paid plans are expensive

Cloudflare’s paid plans start at $20/month, which is quite expensive compared to other CDN providers. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider another CDN provider that offers more affordable plans.

Cloudflare doesn’t guarantee uptime

While Cloudflare’s CDN is highly reliable, there’s no guarantee that your website will always be up and running. If your website is down, Cloudflare won’t be able to do anything to help you.

cdn example

Cloudflare doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support

If you have a problem with Cloudflare’s CDN, you will not be able to get help immediately. Cloudflare’s customer support is only available during business hours, so if you have a problem outside of those hours, you’re out of luck.

Cloudflare doesn’t work with every platform

If you’re using a platform that doesn’t work with Cloudflare’s CDN, you’re out of luck. Cloudflare is not compatible with all platforms, so before you sign up, ensure your platform is supported.

These are just a few of the reasons why you might not want to use Cloudflare’s CDN. If you’re still not sure, I suggest you try out a few other CDN providers and see which one works best for you.

Numerous sources—and multiple settings for each of those origins, of course—are not supported. With CloudFront’s many sources, you might, for example, distribute your photos from an S3 bucket. Therefore, each request for a.jpg,.gif, etc., may be sent to a different site.

Additionally, you may enable caching that is more aggressive by disregarding all cookies and query strings for those requests. Additionally, if you desire, it permits only materials obtained from a CDN and direct access to your server.

For their $20 per month option, CloudFlare guarantees “improved performance.” They are unsure about the precise nature of the performance differential. Even if you just spend 15 cents providing traffic, CloudFront allows you to access the same (enterprise level) network as everyone else.

In reality, $20 a month of CloudFront traffic is far more than the typical company website can handle at $0.10 to $0.19 per gigabyte.

Only their “Enterprise” edition fully permits country blocking. Every CloudFront tier, even the “15 cents per month” subscription, offers it.

If you see an unexpected spike in traffic, they can block access to your site, and they’re more likely to do so on the free tier.

reverse proxy flow

Keep in mind that this is a security firm, and sometimes safeguarding a site requires limiting access. There won’t be much you can do but beg CloudFlare to put your site back online because they control the traffic to your site.

Disadvantages of Using a CDN

It’s crucial to consider cost along with other variables while considering whether or not to invest in a CDN, such as:

  • What region your users are in? You might not require a CDN if they are primarily local.
  • Your website’s design. A CDN could be excessive if the site is small or largely text-based.
  • Your website’s scalability. Is your company expanding? Is more traffic coming to your website?
  • Monetary plan. Is a CDN within your means?
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