Instant CloudFlare Starter by Jeff Dickey is a primer to getting started with CloudFlare on your website. As you’d expect with a primer, it is not an advanced user guide. It provides a step by step walkthrough to getting your site configured and working with CloudFlare.
I picked this book because the guys at CloudFlare claim that they have a lightweight content delivery network that improves the security, responsiveness, team productivity and robustness of your website with minimal configuration. Cloudflare offer a free, lightweight version of their service for you to try out before delving into the paid service.
Mostly, I deal with small firms and start-ups. Being able to recommend and advise on a platform that provides some of the protection that a dedicated IT team would provide is a boon to myself and my clients.
What self respecting web master wouldn’t be intrigued?
I recommend you follow along with the book, configuring your site and making changes as you read. Don’t operate on any critical sites until you’ve worked through the guide, as you will be required to modify things like your DNS server settings.
Often when reading system-specific literature, the text can be dense and difficult to read for long periods at a time. I normally have to space reading these documents over a couple of days. I found Jeff’s writing to be informative, concise and clear. Without really realising it, I had finished the book in a single sitting!
Furthermore, the book doesn’t make any assumptions about the readers’ background. Everything is explained from the ground up. My personal pet peeve is if these terms are not explicitly explained, even if I know them. It’s nice to have all the information at your disposal, in case you’ve misunderstood something and haven’t realised it.
I am somewhat confused over the target audience of the book. In my experience, when getting non-technical people to handle their DNS generally results in a “terrified rabbit caught in headlights” expression.
After getting your system set up, the author doesn’t leave you to your fate. He recommends the most important things to consider next, why they’re important and how to handle them. There are a small smattering of links to further resources.
The book does what it says on the cover. It’s short, fast and focussed. And clear.