NameHero comes with in-built Cloudflare integration, as well as the ability to activate the “Railgun” tool within Cloudflare, which attempts to optimize even dynamic content, instead of just static assets. However, there are a plethora of Cloudflare tools that can dramatically improve your website’s performance, and some of them are either not well-known, or their impacts are not fully realized.
Another point is that Cloudflare often releases new features without any warning unless you’re subscribed to their blog or follow them on social media. There’s no pop-up when you log in, telling you if a new feature is available or not. As a result, many useful features go unused.
Here are three great features of Cloudflare that you should be using to speed up your site.
1. Enable the QUIC Protocol
Also known as HTTP/3, QUIC is a new protocol that allows users to request assets from a server in a way that doesn’t run into what is known as “Head of Line Blocking”. In HTTP/2, browsers can request any number of assets over a single connection. This was superior to HTTP/1, where each file needed its own TCP pipe. The problem is that if that single connection is disrupted, then the entire list of files faces a slowdown.
An associated issue is that there’s a hard limit on the number of independent TCP connections a browser can have to a server. HTTP/3 solves this issue by using UDP instead of TCP, and allows each file to have its own connection instead. This way, a problem with a single connection won’t impact the loading speed of the others!
Here’s the QUIC toggle option within Cloudflare under the “Network” tab:
There was a long beta signup for QUIC, which I took advantage of as soon as I saw the option. Now it’s started rolling out to everyone. Make sure you enable this to see faster web site speeds!
2. Disable Query Strings from Your Assets
However, there’s no standardization on whether or not query strings are specified in a URL. This means that caches often need to have multiple versions of the same file – one for each URL with and without the query string. This dramatically reduces the efficacy of any caching system.
Cloudflare allows you to disable query strings on all your assets via the simple option shown here under the “Caching” tab:
In fact, I would go one step further and remove query strings right from the origin server itself. If, like me, you use the “Autoptimize” plugin, you can remove query strings under the “Extras” tab like this:
This will ensure that even if you’re not using Cloudflare, whatever CDN you go through will always have only one version of the cached file.
3. Block XMLRPC from Firewall Rules
The free tier of Cloudflare allows you to specify 5 firewall rules. Use one of them to block XMLRPC requests to your server if you don’t need to use that functionality. Jetpack now fallbacks to the REST API when XMLRPC is not available, so there’s no reason why you should keep it around.
Here’s the firewall rule in Cloudflare:
While I’ve written about disabling XMLRPC before, moving this functionality to Cloudflare ensures that your site won’t have to deal with hundreds or even thousands of attacks that can bring it to its knees. Cloudflare’s powerful infrastructure is more than capable of handling whatever hackers can throw at it, and you can sit safely while Cloudflare does all the hard work.
There are plenty of little nuggets like this in Cloudflare. Personally, I also subscribe to Argo – the paid service that finds faster connections to your users on Cloudflare’s network. Check it out!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!