Cloudflare Pro vs Free DDoS Protection

I’m the owner of a small scale website and I’m considering buying Cloudflare Pro. However I find it difficult to understand the benefits of Pro, more specifically in terms of DDoS protection and speed.

The Pro plan lists WAF as a main feature, but Free sites already get WAF. Is the WAF smarter?

As for DDoS protection, does Pro include smarter algorithms to detect more sophisticated attacks? If so, where can I learn more about them?

Free websites get access to a part of the WAF, primarily to mitigate critical vulnerabilities.

It seems like you are interested in the automated part; there is no difference in that aspect. The WAF might be able to spot some attacks that present abnormalities; however, the odds are that the managed DDoS protection detects those attacks as well.

The Pro package gives more firewall rules and better insights that make mitigating DDoS attacks easier. Skilled users will be able to get all the advantages out of the pro package; if you expect a fully self-managed platform, stick to the free plan.

Can you please elaborate on the “better insights” part? What statistics would I gain access to?

Free on the left vs Pro on the right. It’s much easier to filter and find attack patterns with everything visualized.

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Oh wow thank you for the screenshot. This helps a lot.

Do you think Pro is worth it?

If you face DDoS attacks, the pro package is excellent. The dashboard and the data it shows are my primary tools for building firewall rules.
You can view the countries, user agents, HTTP version, etc… and build rules based on that.

Check this guide; I made it using the Pro package: Mitigating an HTTP DDoS Attack manually with Cloudflare

I do face DDoS attacks, although it’s very sporadic. Sometimes the attackers are persistent and continue their attacks for a week straight, while some other times they leave me alone for maybe 3 weeks. The most recent attack had to be mitigated manually on my application layer since it was too advanced for Cloudflare. The attack was done by piggybacking on a larger service and abusing a crawler loophole. Other than DDoS attacks, does Pro offer speed/caching advantages?

The most notorious feature that speeds up sites is APO; however, it’s limited to Wordpress sites.

There are some extra optimizations, but I wouldn’t pay $20 a month just for them. Another benefit of the paid packages is the higher network priority, so if a PoP is about to get saturated, the Free versions will get worse routes, then Pro, then biz, etc.

If I were you, I would only upgrade to the pro package if the WAF, more firewall rules, and more statistics/graphs are something you’d use frequently.

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