Surfing Safely: Cloudflare's SSL/TLS Encryption Explained

Cloudflare SSL Certificate Configuration Guide.

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In a digital age where data security is more of a priority than ever, understanding how SSL/TLS encryption works on services like Cloudflare is essential for anyone running a website. Cloudflare is a popular Content Delivery Network (CDN) that offers, among other services, a robust security system to protect web traffic. Today we will delve into the world of SSL/TLS encryptionexplaining how it works and why choosing the full (strict) option is the winning move for online security.

What is SSL/TLS Encryption?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are cryptographic protocols that provide secure communications on a computer network. In practice, when you visit a website that starts with 'https', the connection between your browser and the site is encrypted thanks to these protocols. This means that all information exchanged is protected from prying eyes.

Cloudflare's Different Encryption Modes

Cloudflare offers several options to manage encryption between the user's browser, Cloudflare's own network and the website's origin server:

  1. Off (not secure): As the name implies, this option offers no encryption. All data travel 'in the clear', which makes it vulnerable to attack.
  2. Flexible: This mode encrypts traffic between the user's browser and Cloudflare, but not between Cloudflare and the originating server. It is a partial solution that may expose you to security risks.
  3. Full: Here we have end-to-end encryption, from the browser to the originating server, using a self-signed SSL certificate on the server. It is secure, but not completely attack-proof, since the self-signed certificate is not verified by an external certificate authority.
  4. Full (strict): This is the most secure mode offered by Cloudflare. It fully encrypts the traffic from start to finish and requires an SSL certificate issued by a trusted certificate authority or a Cloudflare Origin CA certificate on the origin server. It is the recommended mode because it ensures that the website is authentic and data is protected across the board.

Why Choose Full (strict)?

Opting for full (strict) mode is not just a choice, it is a commitment to the security of your users. When your website handles sensitive information such as personal data, login credentials, payment information, etc., ensuring reliable encryption is critical. With Full (strict), you ensure that traffic is encrypted using a recognised and verified certificate, thus minimising the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker could intercept or alter sensitive data.

How to set up Full (strict) encryption on Cloudflare

Setting up full (strict) encryption on Cloudflare is a simple process:

  1. Log in to the Cloudflare control panel.

    Cloudflare administrative interface with focus on security.
    first step to activate full strict, go to the security section
  2. Navigate to the SSL/TLS section.
  3. Select the Full (strict) option.

    SSL/TLS encryption overview on Cloudflare.
    Click on the full strict option

Before activating this mode, make sure you have a valid SSL certificate on your origin server. If you do not have one, you can obtain a Cloudflare Origin CA certificate directly from Cloudflare, which provides an additional layer of security and integration with their services.

Certificate Coexistence on the Server with Cloudflare

A question that often arises in the minds of system administrators is: "If I activate an SSL/TLS certificate on my server, will it conflict with the encryption managed by Cloudflare?" The short answer is no. Actually, activating a certificate on your server complements the security offered by Cloudflarenot an obstacle.

When you choose Cloudflare's full (strict) mode, you are essentially establishing a chain of trust that starts at the user's browser and ends at your origin server. Traffic is encrypted from the browser to Cloudflare's edge server, and then encrypted again from the edge server to your origin server. This double layer of encryption means that even if data were to be intercepted after leaving Cloudflare's network, it would remain unintelligible without the private key of your SSL/TLS certificate.

So, instead of creating conflicts, the SSL/TLS certificate on your server strengthens overall security. It ensures that the data path is protected at every critical point, resulting in a truly secure online environment. This is especially important if you run a site e-commerce or any other platform that requires the exchange of sensitive information.

Moreover, having an SSL/TLS certificate on your server can improve your credibility e reliability in the eyes of search engines and visitors. Search engines, such as Google, reward sites with HTTPS in the ranking of search results, while visitors are more inclined to trust sites that clearly show the security of their connection.

In short, not only is there no conflict, but it is strongly recommended to have an SSL/TLS certificate on the originating server to work in synergy with Cloudflare's encryption, guaranteeing maximum security and gaining the added benefit of better perception by users and search engines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SSL/TLS encryption is a pillar of online security and Cloudflare offers an affordable and powerful solution to implement it. Choosing the Full (strict) option means maximum protection and trust for your site visitors. In a world where security is never too much, relying on high standards is not just a choice, but a necessity.

Remember, online security starts with small steps like these. Protect yourself and your users; choose Cloudflare's full (strict) encryption.

Want to know more? Visit the Cloudflare's official blog for further insights into online security and best practices to keep your site safe and secure.

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G Tech Group was born conceptually in 2011 and entrepreneurially in 2013 from an idea of Gianluca Gentile its founder.

The aim was to create the first Social Web Agency not a classic web agency that deals with social but an agency that shares its resources and ideas with other agencies and also connects different agencies, creating a real network.

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