Why I decided to stop using CloudFlare

Wow, this is a lot of changes to a website, coming from a person who hates change!

It makes me a bit uncomfortable to change things because I don’t want my site to go down, but I must learn to adapt to change. Anyways, on with the post!

Speed

Believe it or not, switching away from CloudFlare actually decreased the loading time of my site, according to the tests over at pindom anyways. I think the reason for this is because of HTTPS. With CloudFlare, any request to my site would go to them, they’d decrypt the data, see if they can serve a cached request, and then re-encrypt it and send it to my server to decrypt, process, encrypt, send to CloudFlare, decrypt, re-encrypt, and send it back to the user. By switching back to another DNS, currently Google Domains, I’m considering switching it to Vultr because I like their GUI, all requests go to my VPS, cutting down the time of decrypting and re-encrypting all the data.

Privacy

Although it’s hard to not trust CloudFlare, all data is being sent through them. All passwords, emails, and anything else put on a CloudFlare site can be seen by them, even if you see the green lock icon in your browser. Now, everything gets sent directly to my VPS, and the simpler something is, the harder it is to find vulnerabilities in. Although I doubt CloudFlare sells the information they collect, they don’t mention that in their privacy policy, it’s still better that the data you send in the hand of who you intend.

Protection

So, this is the one negative of moving away from CloudFlare, I lost the DDoS protection that they offer.  I replaced this with iptables rate limiting, apache’s mod_evasive, fail2ban, and psad actually seems to block large amounts of requests sent using ab. Although rate limiting isn’t perfect, it should keep my site up should a small DDoS attack occur. Also, Vultr offers DDoS protection for just $10/month, so instead of upgrading to CloudFlare pro for $20 a month, I can just pay $10 when my site gets big enough to need that.

Besides, I can always change back in less a minute…

Let me know if you agree in the comments!

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