Winter is coming and Christmas shall soon be upon us, but will your website take the strain?
Well, 5 months may be quite far away in reality but it doesn’t stop good planning for the Christmas rush, or any other traffic heavy event for that matter.
The first thing that you may think you need for your website to cope with the added traffic might be to implement more bandwidth or more servers, but this would also see a rise in costs. What you really need is a content delivery network such as CloudFlare, a free tool with the ability to enable and disable paid features when needed.
What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare is a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which consists of many servers distributed across the world in multiple data centers and provides services such as optimisation, security and analytics.
One of the main features of CloudFlare’s CDN is its content caching feature with the ability to cache content such as jpg, jpeg, gif and many more.
The caching is done across CloudFlare’s network allowing visitors access to content from a source much closer to their current location, this reduces page load times and reduces bandwidth to the original site.
On average, a website on CloudFlare loads twice as fast for its visitors, sees 65% fewer requests and saves 60% of bandwidth”
Setting up caching is also quick and easy, CloudFlare’s technology will build the cache based on the traffic accessing your site. Once caching is set-up, how will you now if this is having any performance improvement on the site? This is where CloudFlare’s analytics comes in.
Site analytics captures data on site visitors showing how many requests are made both from cached and original resources, from this you can see how much bandwidth is being absorbed by CloudFlare’s network and so how much less strain is placed on your sites server.
Analytics does more than just show your legitimate visitors, it also shows you threats visiting your site so you can get insights into malicious visitors and block access. Geographic locations are also noted to show international legitimacy and malicious visitors so blocking via country can be done in extreme cases if necessary.
CloudFlare’s caching feature isn’t a one click fix, optimised server set-ups and load balancing still need to be taken into consideration but caching content is a simple and effective way of reducing site load and can take the strain when winter arrives.