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How does Cloudflare work?

Last modified: October 5, 2022
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How Does Cloudflare Work?

More than just Content Delivery Network (CDN) services, customers rely on Cloudflare’s global network to enhance security, performance and reliability of anything connected to the Internet. 

Cloudflare is designed for easy setup. Anyone with a website and their own domain can use Cloudflare regardless of their platform choice. Cloudflare doesn’t require additional hardware, software, or changes to your code.


Cloudflare stops malicious traffic before it reaches your origin web server. Cloudflare analyzes potential threats in visitor requests based on a number of characteristics:

  • visitor’s IP address,
  • resources requested,
  • request payload and frequency, and
  • customer-defined firewall rules.


Cloudflare optimizes the delivery of website resources for your visitors. Cloudflare’s data centers serve your website’s static resources and ask your origin web server for dynamic content. Cloudflare’s global network provides a faster route from your site visitors to our data centers than would be available to a visitor directly requesting your site. Even with Cloudflare between your website and your visitors, resource requests arrive to your visitor sooner.


Cloudflare’s globally distributed anycast network routes visitor requests to the nearest Cloudflare data center.  Cloudflare distributed DNS responds to website visitors with Cloudflare IP addresses for traffic you proxy to Cloudflare.  This also provides security by hiding the specific IP address of your origin web server.

Cloudflare-proxied domains share IP addresses from a pool that belongs to the Cloudflare network. As a result, Cloudflare does not offer dedicated or exclusive IP addresses. Therefore, to reduce the number of Cloudflare IPs that your domain shares with other Cloudflare customer domains. Then, upgrade to a Business or Enterprise plan and upload a Custom SSL certificate.

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