As time goes by, I’ve come to rely more and more on Cloudflare to do the actual heavy lifting on my site. With the help of page rules, firewall configurations, and some plugins to integrate with Cloudflare caching, I’ve managed to lift most of the heavy lifting from my own site and push the workload onto Cloudflare. This of course, allows my site to be more responsive, and also protects me from unexpected problems like a sudden DDOS attack. When you combine that with the excellent WAF, it’s no surprise when you see graphs like this for my site WP-Tweaks.com:
Consider that Cloudflare serves over 7 GB of data for my site every month! Without it, all those requests and data would have to come from my origin server. While my hosting plan is rather generous, it’s a good idea to place as little load on it as possible. And that’s my primary purpose for Cloudflare – to use it as a service that I can lean on in order to take pressure off my main site.
So here’s how much I’ve managed to outsource so far.
1. Serving Cached HTML Pages
Using Cloudflare, I was able to reduce my TTFB to below 0.5 seconds on average. Thanks to a plugin called WP Clouldflare Super Cache, I was able to use page rules for smart caching so that Cloudflare does most of the work for my server as seen in the above screenshot. In fact, Cloudflare seems to be going in this direction officially with the release of their Automatic Platform Optimization plugin, but it still leaves a lot to be desired – not to mention that it’s a paid service. But it’s getting there. Eventually the plugin will evolve and cover all the gaps that currently exist.
With this implementation, the origin web server has to only serve infrequently accessed pages. And if you have caching enabled (as you should), then even those are already ready. Your server has almost no load!
There was a time when I had software running on my server that intercepted every request and filtered it. These days, I use Cloudflare’s WAF with the Pro Plan to filter out bad traffic. And they do a far better job than I ever could. I have neither the time, nor the expertise to stay on top of the various evolving threats. Cloudflare’s WAF stands between my site and a bunch of bad actors, giving me a not insignificant amount of peace of mind.
No matter how fast your web host’s nameservers are, they’re unlikely to be faster than those provided by Cloudflare, which consistently has the fastest infrastructure on the planet. Most web hosts offer automatic Cloudflare integration, but if you really want to push your TTFB as low as possible, then you should opt for full Cloudflare integration by migrating over your nameservers as well. As an additional benefit, managing your DNS records is much easier using the Cloudflare interface than with any other I’ve seen.
4. Faster Redirects
If you’re running an affiliate site, you want your “pretty” links to redirect to the product’s page as soon as possible. Rather than waiting for your web servers to process the request, why not ask Cloudflare to do it? With the Pro plan, you get 20 page rules. For me, that leaves me with a whole bunch of unused page rules. Why not use them to speed up redirects instead? I take the 5 most popular affiliate redirect URLs, and use page rules to redirect them instead of my site.
Result? Fewer interruptions in the buying process and faster affiliate conversions!
There are a lot of creative ways to use Cloudflare for speeding up your site. The goal is simple – outsource as much of the work as possible. And Cloudflare’s powerful infrastructure is more than capable of taking on the load!
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!