13 Key Benefits of Cloudflare for Faster, Safer Websites

If you run a website, using Cloudflare is one of the easiest ways to speed it up and lock it down. As an experienced cybersecurity consultant who helps sites optimize performance and security, I highly recommend Cloudflare to all my clients from personal blogs to enterprise businesses.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll outline the 13 key benefits you’ll get by sitting your site behind Cloudflare’s global network:

  1. Performance optimization
  2. Security enhancements
  3. Flexible configuration
  4. Reliability
  5. Affordable pricing

I’ll take you through how each Cloudflare feature improves site metrics like page load time, security vulnerabilities, and overall availability. You’ll also learn typical use cases and best practices for configuration.

By the end, you’ll understand why Cloudflare is trusted by over 20 million internet properties and how it can help yours thrive.

1. Performance Optimization

Speed is essential for delivering great user experiences and driving visitor engagement. Cloudflare includes many features to accelerate your site.


Minification removes unneeded characters from code like whitespace to reduce file size. Cloudflare minifies HTML, CSS and JavaScript files by up to 40%, speeding up transfer times.

You can enable minification for your site in the Speed app. I recommend trying it out for a week and monitoring site performance to validate improvements.


The newer HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 protocols offer major speed gains over old HTTP 1.1 technology:

Metric HTTP 1.1 HTTP/2 HTTP/3
Page load time 6.1s 3.1s 2.8s

Key highlights:

  • Multiplexing – Allows parallel transfer of page elements over one connection
  • Header compression – Reduces overhead
  • Push functionality – Preloads resources the page will need

The best part is there’s no work needed to take advantage of this – HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 acceleration works automatically when you route traffic through Cloudflare servers.

Image Optimization

Images often make up over 50%+ of a page’s bandwidth usage. Cloudflare Polish can automatically compress JPG and PNG images for faster loading.

You can choose between lossless and lossy compression modes:

  • Lossless – Optimizes images with no quality reduction
  • Lossy – Achieves smaller sizes via “safe” quality change:
Image Type Original Lossless Lossy
JPG Hero Banner 1.2MB 820kb 520kb
PNG Icon 87kb 63kb 29kb

Polish is configurable in the Image Resizing app and available on all paid Cloudflare plans.

Argo Smart Routing

Argo leverages Cloudflare’s optimized network to route traffic faster and more reliably to your origin infrastructure.

By selecting intelligent paths through the Cloudflare data centers closest to visitors, Argo typically reduces latency by 30-40%. That directly speeds up page load times.

Argo Tunnel and Argo Smart Routing are both available as add-on services to any Cloudflare plan.

Load Balancing

Cloudflare Load Balancing evenly distributes requests across your servers for maximum performance and uptime.

It provides:

  • Automatic health checks and origin failover
  • Geographic routing based on visitor location
  • Load shedding during traffic spikes

And it achieves sub-second failover when an origin goes down. Combining load balancing with the security, performance and reliability benefits of Cloudflare enables a blazing fast and always-available website experience.

Smarter Caching

When visitors return to your site, resources stored in their browser cache don’t need to be re-downloaded. By setting optimal cache expiration headers for static assets, sites see dramatic improvements in repeat visit speed.

Cloudflare’s browser cache expiration rules influence cache times for visitors globally. Recommended cache times for common files types:

  • HTML pages – 2 days
  • Images/media – 30 days
  • JS/CSS files – 1 year

Enabling these smarter cache times ensures visitors get the fastest possible loading experience.

2. Security Enhancements

In addition to making your site faster, routing traffic through Cloudflare protects it from a wide range of cyber threats.

Free TLS Encryption

Cloudflare provides free SSL certificates, enabling encryption-in-transit for your site. This:

  • Secures data & connections from visitors’ devices through to your web server
  • Provides authenticity assurance via certificate authority signatures
  • Meets needs for HTTPS access a search ranking signal

By default all Cloudflare plans support TLS termination from visitor to edge server. On paid plans, “Full SSL” mode can be enabled to encrypt through the Cloudflare network to your origin servers too.

DNSSEC Support

Enabling DNSSEC protection checks requests to confirm they originate from legitimate DNS resolvers rather than attackers. This blocks spoofing attempts before they reach your origin infrastructure.

Over 20% of Fortune 500 domains have adopted DNSSEC. As security best practice I recommend configuring DNSSEC via 1-click in your Cloudflare DNS settings.

Cloud WAF Rules

In contrast to expensive hardware appliances, Cloudflare’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) leverages global edge nodes to block threats. Automatic rules guard against OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities like SQLi, XSS and remote code execution.

Cloudflare’s WAF adds less than 1ms of latency, whereas hardware can add 50-100ms+. The negligible performance hit is worth it for the added security of having the WAF inspect all your traffic.

Rate Limiting

Rate limiting sets thresholds on traffic to your site, stopping brute force login attacks, DDOS attempts and other threats aiming to overwhelm your infrastructure.

Cloudflare’s network capacity dwarfs even the largest DDOS attacks on record:

  • Cloudflare network capacity: 42 Tbps
  • Largest attack: 2.3 Tbps

Enforcing global rate limiting rules takes advantage of that massive scale to neutralize bad actors. And 1-click HTTP DDOS mitigation provides an extra layer of protection against volumetric floods by dropping them at the edge.

3. Flexible Configuration

In addition to one-click security services and performance acceleration, Cloudflare offers granular configurations to customize how your site is optimized and secured.

Page Rules

Page rules allow setting location-specific policies across zones and accounts. For example:

  • Set cache TTL rules for specific filetypes
  • Enable security features for certain site areas
  • Redirect sections of a site

Create and manage page rules through the dashboard or via API/CLI integrations with your CI/CD pipelines.

WebSocket Support

For apps needing real-time functionality, Cloudflare supports routing WebSocket connections proxy your origin servers. Websocket traffic is encrypted if SSL is enabled on your zone.


Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) allow blazing fast mobile experiences eligible for Top Stories placement in Google search.

Cloudflare AMP Real URL retains the canonical URL when Google displays AMP content in results, increasing clicks. Real URL also uses signed exchanges to validate content authenticity.

4. Enhanced Reliability

Cloudflare sits in front of your infrastructure as the first line of defense, absorbing spikes in bad bot activity, security threats and more. Combined with performance enhancements, this protects the reliability of your site.

Absorbs Attacks

With capacity more than 15X greater than the largest DDOS attacks on record, Cloudflare’s network of 200+ cities easily defends customers against inbound floods by dropping them at the edge.

Sophisticated filtering allows good traffic through to origin while blocking threats aiming to create outages. Reliability benefits everyone across the Cloudflare network.

Health Checks & Failover

When hosting infrastructure goes down it can create painful outages. Cloudflare Load Balancing performs origin health checks from locations globally to route traffic away within milliseconds if a server fails a check.

Automatic failover keeps sites running smoothly during origin instability without manual intervention.

Redundancy Eliminates Single Points of Failure

Cloudflare’s data centers have no single points of failure. Each server is hot swappable, and facilities have redundant power as diesel generators and battery rooms to keep services running. The scale of the network prevents isolated issues from cascading across regions.

Paired with active health checking and routing intelligence, Cloudflare provides premium reliability and performance.

5. Plans For Every Budget

Cloudflare offers four plan tiers depending on your site’s unique needs:

Free – Entry-level offering including basic DDOS mitigation, browser caching rules, encrypted TLS connections and more.

Pro – For sites looking for enhanced security, page rules, image optimization and shareable analytics.

Business – Additional performance benefits and total encryption. SLAs guaranteed.

Enterprise – Includes advanced security, zero-trust application access, enterprise SLA s and a dedicated account team.

Many services like load balancing and Argo Smart Routing are available as opt-in add-ons to any plan. Visit the Cloudflare pricing page for full details.

I hope this outlines all the ways relying on Cloudflare can directly benefit your site across performance, security, and reliability metrics.

If you run a site, utilizing Cloudflare is a no brainer – especially since tiered plans mean there‘s an offering matching any budget. Enable Cloudflare today and see your site speed up while being better protected.

As you explore features, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!