Cloudflare is one of the most used Content Delivery Networks ever produced and was designed and built as a way of integrating a number of emerging technologies so that their customers get the best service possible, now and in the future.
Cloudflare CDN is built on a global network that has been fully optimized for performance, security and is fully reliable, without needing to rely on old technologies. The result is a Content Delivery Network that is dead simple to use and is cost-effective.
What Cloudflare Can Do
Cloudflare CDN can help you with caching your content across their global network. However, performance is about more than moving a static file nearer to a website visitor.
Cloudflare offers full optimization features that help to enhance your WordPress website performance, they say way beyond what any other CDN does.
Caching Anonymous Page Views
Cloudflare offers a functionality called ‘Bypass Cache on Cookie’. This is used for allowing non-logged-in pages to be cached fully by Cloudflare, ensuring that your server saves on resources and time by not needing to generate pages that have static HTML, whilst steering clear of interfering with their dynamic behaviors.
This means that whenever a user adds anything to WooCommerce (if using it) or logs into the dashboard on WordPress, the Edge cache gets bypassed
Images can cost time in loading, especially if they haven’t been properly optimized. Cloudflare can help to improve these loading times considerably, with features available through the Speed tab in the Cloudflare dashboard.
A ‘Polish’ option allows you to improve loading times for images and pages by image compression and removal of metadata.
Using ‘Basic Mode’ will reduce your image size without affecting the quality of your images and ‘Basic + JPEG’ will also cut the size of the image by ‘lossy compression’.
To enable a website for mobile use, you can use an option called ‘Mirage Image Optimization’ to optimize your images and deliver them to your visitors based on their device type and network connection.
HTTP/2 helps with several performance features including header compression, multiplexing, etc. For HTTP/2 to be enabled, you must have HTTPS loaded on your website.
Once SSL has been enabled you must also make sure that your visitors are redirected to the HTTPS version of your website so that HTTP/2 can be loaded. This is done using a Page Rule called ‘Always Use HTTPS’.
The Cloudflare WordPress plugin lets you push the required assets to your site visitors through HTTP/2 Server Push and this can have a dramatic effect on reducing how many trips are needed to load JS and CSS.
Cloudflare can also help you to minify CSS, JS, and HTML without making any changes to your website. Minification is best down through the Cloudflare dashboard, rather than installing Minification plugins.
Advanced Tools for Performance
Cloudflare offers other tools, including Railgun Origin Network Optimizer for enterprise and business users and also ‘Prefetch URLs from HTML Headers’. They also provide custom cache keys for enhanced caching.
Cloudflare is just one of many CDNs available for use on your WordPress website; never choose one without making sure it is right for you.