We’re happy to announce we’re now offering CloudFlare’s wonderful Railgun™ service to every user for free (shared web hosting only). You’ll simply need to go to the “CloudFlare” option within your control panel and enable it (more on that in a moment).
Many of you are likely wondering “What the heck is this?”. Well let’s find out!
What the heck is this?
Railgun™ is CloudFlares’ equivalent to the popular phrase “CACHE ALL THE THINGS”. The idea behind it is even dynamic content (which is usually not cached or partially cached) is actually cacheable with minimal impact to the website or visitors. This is because content on a website still doesn’t change that much in a short span of time:
Railgun works by recognizing that uncacheable web pages do not change very rapidly. For example, during an experiment, the CNN.com homepage HTML was captured once, and then again after 5 minutes and then again after one hour. The page sizes were 92,516, five minutes still 92,516 and one hour later 93,727.
How does it work?
If a website has Railgun™ enabled on their website CloudFlare will see if it has the cached content in their data centers. If found it’ll serve the compressed / cached content to the user directly from one of their data centers closest to the person making the request.
If there is no cached content available on CloudFlare’s end they’ll make a direct HTTP connection to the origin server located in our facility which will pull the content from whichever server you’re hosted on and send a compressed binary chunk to CloudFlare to serve. Here is a (slightly modified, cough) image of how a request works with Railgun:
How do I enable it?
Simple! Login to your web hosting account and select the “CloudFlare” option (picture). From there select the “Statistics and settings” link (picture).
From there you’ll want to select the Railgun™ listed and turn it “On”. Here is an example of what it would look like:
Once you’ve done that wait about five minutes and your site will be using Railgun™! If you’re unsure if it’s working please contact our support and we’ll verify everything is chugging along properly.
Note: This is currently available in almost every location however not every data center at this time.
Do I want to use this?
The answer to this is simple – give it a try and see if you like it! If you’re already using CloudFlare with us it only takes a few clicks. You can read more on how the technology works from the CloudFlare Railgun page. If you’d like more information please contact our support department and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have.
Sounds good. I’m trying it.
Awesome. Thanks for adding this.
Please add this to your Seattle location soon, I would love to try this!
When are you planning for this to be available in Amsterdam?
So long I’ve been waiting for this feature and it is not available on AMS002 🙁
I hear you Bart, I have been checking twice a day to see if they have installed it in their Seattle location. I hope they hurry and get it rolled out soon. 🙂
Singapore will be launched shortly then Seattle and San Jose. Amsterdam will take a little longer but we do expect to have it online there soon :)!
Any updates on Amsterdam servers? 🙂
Any updates on the Seattle servers? 🙂
@Cody are you guys still planning on bringing this to your Seattle servers? If not it there any way to transfer to say Dallas that has the Railgun service?
Can we expect this to be available in Amsterdam by the end of the year? “Shortly”, “a little longer” and “soon” are all very vague and could mean days, weeks or months.
@Nodle – We’ll be getting Seattle launched by next week.
@sikhlana Unfortunatley Amsterdam will be one of the last servers we launch this at due to the demand. We do however intend on offering it there eventually.