Overview – Cloudflare Managed Private Cloud Overview
What Is It?
Cloudflare does not offer “managed private cloud hosting” per se. Instead, the company offers a product stack that can work with any type of cloud hosting, including private clouds. According to Cloudflare, “The Cloudflare product stack sits in front of any cloud infrastructure, including private clouds. Cloudflare accelerates and protects network traffic to and from private clouds.”
From this, we can tell that Cloudflare is not a traditional web host. However, that does not mean the company doesn’t have a lot to offer. Judging by the popularity of their services and the long list of well-known organizations using those services, Cloudflare delivers plenty of value.
Who Is It Best For?
Cloudflare is an excellent choice for businesses and organizations in almost any industry. To illustrate that point, consider some of the company’s existing clients to really get a feel for the breadth of their service applicability:
As you can see, industries as wide-ranging as ecommerce and freelancing can benefit from Cloudflare’s product stack and capabilities.
When it comes to managed services, you’ll discover that Cloudflare is more than a little different from other hosting companies. They do not focus on delivering standard services. Instead, their focus is on protection, access limitations, identity verification, protection from attacks, and the like. Some of the managed services available include the following:
- 24/7 tech support by phone, email, and more
- PCI compliance
- Bot management
- Access protection
- DDoS protection
- Named solutions engineer support
Note that to gain access to many of the managed services offered, you must upgrade to the highest tier (Enterprise) or the second highest tier (Business).
The features you have access to through Cloudflare will vary depending on the service/price tier you choose. There are four on offer, and each builds on the one under it. Some of the best features across the board include the following:
- Global CND: One of the best features of Cloudflare is access to the company’s global content delivery network (CDN).
- Page Optimization: Cloudflare offers a broad range of optimizations to improve website load time and increase the quality of the user experience.
- DDoS Protection: Every single pricing tier offered by Cloudflare comes with DDoS protection to help ensure a stable, operating website that is safe from attacks.
- Decent Response Time: No, Cloudflare’s response times are not the fastest in the world. In fact, they rank mid-range in the top 10. However, even that is a good achievement.
- Easy to Use: Cloudflare ranks as one of the easiest to use private cloud host options on the market, with a limited learning curve and fast implementation times.
In addition to these, Cloudflare offers many other managed services that are available as paid add-ons. For instance, Agro smart routing offers tiered caching, tunnel, and smart routing for $5 per month, while Access helps protect your website and internal resources from attackers in a number of ways.
While Cloudflare does a great job of offering vital services and solutions for customers, there are a few areas where they could improve. These include the following:
- SSL: You have to upgrade to at least the Business plan in order to use your own SSL certificate.
- Support: Phone support is only available for clients purchasing the very highest tier of service. However, email and chat support are available on lower tiers, and even the free account benefits from email support.
- Uptime: The only way to get access to the 100% uptime SLA is to upgrade to the Business plan, which is $200 per month.
- Reporting: If you are looking for granular reporting, Cloudflare might disappoint. Some clients have found that their stats, analytics, and traffic reporting are not very detailed, requiring the use of a third-party system.
There are four pricing tiers on offer here, ranging from the free plan to the highest tier, the enterprise plan.
Free plans offer DDoS attack mitigation, access to a robust global CDN, and tech support via email.
The Pro plan starts at $20 per month and in addition to the benefits provided in the free plan, you also gain Web Application Firewall security, lossless image optimization, and automatic mobile optimization.
The Business plan begins at $200 per month, making this a major jump in price from the Pro plan under it. However, with that jump in price, you receive all the previously mentioned services, plus 24/7/365 chat support, a 100% uptime SLA, CNAME setup compatibility, PCI compliance, and the ability to use your own SSL certificate.
The highest pricing tier on offer, the Enterprise plan is available by direct quote only. In addition to the features offered by the Business plan, you will also benefit from bot management, 24/7/365 phone support, named solutions engineer support, 25x reimbursement uptime SLA, and role-based account access to help ensure security and protection through access limitations.
We love a lot of things about Cloudflare. One of those is the way it helps our website speed increase. Because the company offers global CDN systems, our speed increases have been across the board no matter where our visitors have been located. It’s also very easy to install and configure, requiring just a few minutes of time thanks to the easy-to-use interface. However, I do wish the reporting was more detailed so that I could see more information about my traffic without having to use a different company’s reporting and analytics tool.
Moving to Cloudflare was a great choice for our company. It helped in a number of different ways. First, it increased our site speed thanks to the global CDN. Second, it sped up our site even more through Brotli compression, QUIC protocol, and other methods. The protection offered by the firewall rules is also a nice touch, ensuring that our actual IP address is hidden from potential attackers. I do wish that the free tier allowed more than 100 mb uploads, though.