Instantly boost the speed of your WordPress website with CloudFlare

by Paul on August 16, 2011

CloudFlare LogoSpeed!

Everything is about ‘how fast‘ in the 21st Century.

We’re not as patient as we once were…

This is especially true on the Internet, and with the increasing depth and complexity of modern websites, providing a smooth and speedy user experience is a challenge.

And expensive.

But no more… enter the amazing CloudFlare!

What is CloudFlare and can your website benefit from it?

CloudFlare is a free (and premium) service that sits between your website and your visitors.

It effectively caches your most queried-for content (images, Javascript, CSS) and serves them to your visitors from locations distributed around the globe.

How cool is that?  Here is why it is so good for your website:

  • reduces bandwidth used by your server to deliver content to your website visitors
  • reduces load on your server through caching (both server queries and media content)
  • “always up” – if your web server is down for whatever reason, CloudFlare will serve cached pages where possible to visitors. Nice!
  • protection from scammers, spammers, and bots. Protection is built into the system meaning dodgy visitors are prevented from reaching your site.

A real world example of the positive effect of CloudFlare

CloudFlare offers statistics about the amount caching and protection it offers your sites.

For one group of sites that I manage, here are the statistics for the last 30 days alone:

  • CloudFlare has served 4.7GB of the total 6.8GB bandwidth used on the sites. That is a whopping 66% of content served to site visitors that doesn’t even touch the Host Like Toast web servers.
  • CloudFlare served 223,334 requests from its cache of a total 335,436 requests. Again, 66% of queries served never even needed to reach the web servers.
  • Of the 31,033 regular page views, 2,187 were detected as threats and prevented from reaching the websites

I can’t recommend CloudFlare more than any other service out there right now.

And CloudFlare is free!

The benefits I’ve described do not cover everything it has to offer, but are the main selling points of the service. There are many more features that would take a couple of other articles to cover.

Downsides to CloudFlare

We’ve experienced a couple of problems with CloudFlare, most notably is the inability with the free version of CloudFlare to make any sort of HTTP Post connect to our servers when they’re configured to run through CloudFlare.

This is a problem with Infusionsoft, and also for our free 1-minute WordPress Installation service – we have created a work-around for this problem, but it isn’t ideal that CloudFlare blocks this.

Then there is SSL. You cannot use SSL on your main website unless you have the premium version of CloudFlare.

So basically, if you have custom applications that integrate with 3rd party services on your website, or you use SSL, you need to be careful when you enable CloudFlare as you could well break something.

Get CloudFlare on your website today!

By default, CloudFlare is configured on all our Cloud and Managed Wordress Hosting serviced accounts here at Host Like Toast. CloudFlare is good for us, and great for our clients.

Feel free to contact us if you would like our assistance to get on the CloudFlare system and you would like us to help manage your website.

Alternatively you can go to www.CloudFlare.com and get signed-up. Their setup process is relatively straight forward, but again you’ll need to take into consideration the 3rd party integrations you have on your websites.

Use the form below to join our Developer Channel

Do you need an automated CPanel web hosting backup script? There is that and more in the Developer Channel

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan Husdal August 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm

I was impressed with CloudFlare when I tested it on my site, but I was even more impressed with Incapsula, which works similar to how CloudFlare does. Actually, in terms of security, Incapsula’s free plan has security options that CloudFlare only has in their paid plan. However, CloudFlare appears to have more performance options than Incapsula, especially the “always online” feature. In terms of performance both seem to be equal, at least according to my own test of Incapsula versus CloudFlare.

Reply

Paul Goodchild August 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Hey Jan,

Thanks for the comment! Honestly I’d never heard of Incapsula – looks like an interesting service. I think perhaps I’ll experiment with it on some of my sites and see how it goes.

Thanks for the heads up!
Paul.

Reply

Jan Husdal August 27, 2011 at 4:30 am

You’re welcome. Having said that, remember that not all web sites are created equal, and what works well on one site, may not works so well on another site. It all comes down to choosing the right service that matches your needs.

Reply

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