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I am thinking of using a Content Delivery Network. CloudFare being the most popular and initial obvious choice.

The website is an eCommerce site. As such, there will be exchanges of customer's personal details.

When using a Content Delivery Network, do such details get 'passed' through a Content Delivery Network or do these CDN's simply serve up the web files only. Therefore, any data entered by a customer, being sent directly to the MySql database, bypassing the CDN?

  • ...or do these CDN's simply serve up the web files only... Bingo! – closetnoc May 16 '18 at 16:05
  • Great. Let's say a Customer would enter their Billing Details or simply a Blog Comment. Said information would be sent directly to the MySql Database and not through the CDN? I was initially, under the impression that a CDN was a '2 way street'. – Craig May 16 '18 at 16:09
  • I guess I should be clear. I have only seen CDNs used to host files. Any page request to example.com which is hosted on your server, that is where the request is handled. If for example, all your images are hosted on the CDN, then only the requests for images would be seen by the CDN. – closetnoc May 16 '18 at 16:15
  • How are you using the CDN? Are you using it only for static resources such as images and scripts, or are you reverse proxying your entire site through it? – Stephen Ostermiller May 17 '18 at 9:54
  • @StephenOstermiller... I have not used a CDN before, so its integration is new to me. I am thinking of using CloudFare. As part of its setup, it asks me to change the DNS Settings. Does that answer your question at all? – Craig May 17 '18 at 10:06
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If you're looking to use "dynamic caching" or "whole site caching" or to take advantage of Cloudflare's free SSL certificates, then you will need to at the very least point your primary domain at the CDN in some way. This can via a CName record to the CDNs edge nodes, or as in the case for the free offering from Cloudflare by updating your NameServer records to their nameservers.

In both cases all traffic will be sent to the CDNs servers before it can be passed on to yours.

Some CDNs will allow you to configure the caching such that some requests (based on URL path or parameters or request methods) are not cached, but these still travel through the network as before.

Bear in mind that if you're using Cloudflare to also provide free SSL and you don't have SSL on your server the customer requests are going to unencrypted from the CDN back to your server.

  • Thanks for your answer. I already have an SSL Certificate, so this would not be required. I don't mind the traffic going to the CDN traffic but not sure on how the security/encryption works. As such, would not be able to give a clear answer to any customer at present. Let's assume I have fully integrated a CDN. A Customer logs in. This information will be sent to the CDN and then to my own server. Would it be possible for interception, whilst traffic to/from the CDN? – Craig Jun 1 '18 at 14:54

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