Maybe at some point you have come across the message "502 Bad Gateway" when accessing a page, which does not seem to load and remains blank, this means that the Internet is having problems.
But it is not only a fall of the Internet, it proceeds to act that way because one of the companies that allows us to access it, is presenting certain problems and that company is Cloudflare. When this company suffers a downtime, it is to be expected that the Internet does not work well, since it is related to each other, thus having a chain effect that prevents us from accessing different websites.
What does Cloudflare do?
Cloudflare is a CDN service, which works as a proxy, that is, an intermediary between the server and the visitors. Being a CDN, it plays a fundamental role when we browse the Internet, and without it we would not be able to access the pages with which it is associated. The acronym CDN comes from Content Delivery Networt, translated as Content Distribution Network.
An example in which we see the importance of CDNs, and specifically Cloudflare, is when using video streaming services, which have become quite popular and many users use it.
Cloudflare, besides being used by those who need a content distribution network, has been a tool against cyber-attacks, services that have made it become the great company it is today.
Similarly, other tools have been included that help users to have a better online browsing experience; with one of them, the company has made it possible for people and companies to mitigate DDoS attacks when accessing their own or third-party pages, so serving as a CDN is not its only quality.
The problem with Cloudflare is that if it suffers any problem, much of the Internet will, because many pages use it mainly as a content distribution network.
Sites using Cloudflare
In the world there are many online companies that have come to work with Cloudflare; some use it to a greater extent than others, but the fact is that, whether a little or a lot, they work with it.
It is common to know the pages that make use of the services provided by this company because sometimes with the failures it presents we can not access those websites because the Internet also falls and simply does not load.
Among such pages are Discord, Medium and ThemeForest; also some cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase. Online stores that are created with Shopify are also included. And finally, we have some more commonly used pages such as Pinterest, Soundcloud and Dropbox.
It is for these sites and the inconveniences they have suffered that we can realize that they make use of Cloudflare, which is not bad, since having their tools, the use of them is more enjoyable and they load faster.
Advantages of Cloudflare
The fact that multiple websites use Cloudflare makes accessing and using them much better, so it has multiple advantages and they will be mentioned below.
- Cloudflare has proxy servers that are distributed around the world, so it will help the pages load faster and thus the user stays longer on them.
- It helps in the reduction of Spam comments on the website, this will make the numbers of those comments decrease.
- Alerts visitors if the page to use is infected, so that they can act immediately and without risk; it can make use of a Captcha to access the website.
- In case you are attacked, Cloudflare has several tools that can help you put an end to the threat, having the option of blocking IPs, and if necessary, a country to end the attack.
- By using Cloudflare on your website you will be able to protect it from bots and different threats that affect its use. This can be viewed on Cloudflare's official website, where you have the option to monitor your website.
- It has statistics that you can view and analyze the traffic of visitors to your site, with this you can evaluate the visits that are generated and see if the number of users accessing it has increased or decreased.
Disadvantages of Cloudflare
All the benefits of using Cloudflare are quite attractive, and they are certainly good if you own your own website and want users to be able to access it and be safe. However, there are certain disadvantages that, despite not being so named, are there and can somehow affect your website.
- You will share the IP with thousands of other sites that use Cloudflare. Among this large number of platforms are some malware and phishing platforms, which do not have a good reputation and can cause you problems later on.
- The free SSL they offer is not completely secure, it encrypts the information through the proxy but does not do it completely; therefore, using this SSL is more advisable in sites created temporarily and not for something bigger.
- Cloudflare crashes, we know. It is not something that happens often, but it happens and it is a negative point that should be highlighted. The moment it stops working so will your website, and if it happens it will be offline and exposed to attacks, which is exactly what we want to avoid.
- Finally, there is the loss of control of your platform. Depending totally on Cloudflare can cause you to lose control of several aspects, such as the SSL certificate or the availability of your website. Therefore, you can use their services sparingly, mainly security services.
The ideal is to use Cloudflare wisely. By knowing the good and the bad, you can make a balance between them and make your site secure, fast and not lose anything along the way.