Page speed is one of the most concerning things to the WordPress website developers. While Google is considering page speed as a determinant of search engine ranking, the WordPress website users are putting extra weight on this factor. At this point, CloudFlare CDN can help in optimizing the website and reduce page loading speed. Integrating CloudFlare CDN into WordPress is as easy as pie. So what is CloudFlare?
What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare CDN is nothing but a Web Application Firewall, a content delivery system, and a distributed proxy server. The implementation of CloudFlare helps in optimization of the website while as a proxy between the server and visitor. It also helps in protecting the website from DDoS attacks.
You can found that a free basic plan is available, which is just ideal for small websites and blogs. But, if you want premium services, it is available for $20 per month.
Difference between CloudFlare and MaxCDN
The use of CloudFlare CDN is widely appreciated. However, many WP service providers also suggest for MaxCDN instead of CloudFlare. Although people use CloudFlare and MaxCDN to serve the same purpose (almost!), there are quite differences between them. MaxCDN prioritizes on serving the content by using CDN. On the other hand, CloudFlare is concentrated on spam control and security.
Both CloudFlare and MaxCDN use different technologies in order to serve content using their networks. MaxCDN uses pull zones to serve content from the website’s DNS. On the other hand, serves content using their own DNS. For this, you will be asked to change the site’s DNS to point the servers.
The MaxCDN plays the role of reverse proxy that allows the user to have full control. However, CloudFlareplays as a proxy between the visitors and the websites.
Reasons, why choose CloudFlare over MaxCDN
- Free: CloudFlare is completely free but you have to pay for the CDN services.
- Improve performances: When your site is filtered and only genuine traffic is coming through CloudFlare, it will save resources and increase the website loading time.
- Spam Protection: CloudFlare helps in stopping bad traffic to reach your website. CloudFlare is the easiest solution of spammers and automated bots.
- Save bandwidth: restricting the traffic from entering into the website actually, helps to save bandwidth that you were going to waste on the spammers.
- DNS changes faster: While changing host you need to change the old IP address. With CloudFlare you don’t have to wait more than 48 hours to change DNS.
- Blocks DoS and DDoS: DDos is an attack on the server where too many auto-generated requests are sent to the server from different locations and crash it. Similarly, DoS attack also targets the server with uncountable useless traffic to bring it down. CloudFlare could protect you from DoS and DDoS attack.
CloudFlare Setup guideline for WordPress Site
When you are experiencing slow website speed, you may need to consult with the hosting providers and WP care providers. If hosting and other technical reasons are not the root cause of slowing down page loading time, then you may need help from CloudFlare.
The CloudFlare plugin is easily available in WordPress plugin library. You can just download and install it. The installation process is very simple. However, if you are a first time user, then you need to create an account first. So, visit the CloudFlare website first and open the Signup link.
Click on “Create Account” and you may direct to the account setting form:
Fill up the form with all necessary information. Click “Create account now” after completing the form.
In the second step, put the website URL in the provided space with example – mywebsite.com and click on “Add website”. It will take around 60 seconds to scan the website. Meantime they direct the user to an informational video. From this short video, you can learn how CloudFlare works and how to use this setup. It is highly recommended to watch the video. Once the scan is completed you can click on the “continue” button to proceed with the setup.
After the completion of the scan, CloudFlare will provide a list of DNS records detected by the system. The will also include subdomains. The DNS records one need to pass through CloudFlare are generally marked with orange cloud icon. DNS records that bypass the cloud are marked with gray cloud icon. You should be careful that your main domain and subdomain are marked with orange cloud icon.
CloudFlare also offers SSH and FTP subdomains for the user. If you used the domain name to connect with SSH or FTP, then from now you will use ssh.domian.com for SSH and ftp.domain.com for FTP. The new subdomains cannot pass CloudFlare.
After ensuring about DNS record you have to click “I’ve added all missing records, continue” to proceed the setup.
Next page you can select the plan performance and security settings. However, remember that SSL never works with Free CloudFlare service. At the final step, you will be asked to change the nameservers and convert it into CloudFlare nameservers.
Changing Name Servers
Changing name server may take a while and within this time the users may not be able to access the website. So, be prepared for “less traffic” mode during this time.
First, you need to log in to the hosting account in order to change the nameservers and point it to the CloudFlare name servers. Most of the web hosts offer cPanel access to manage the hosting accounts. So, if you learn how to change name servers using cPanel – it will be perfect! But, if your hosting provider does not have cPanel, you might need to ask them for proper instructions.
For the cPanel users – logged in to the cPanel dashboard and scroll down to the domains section. Select Domain Manager for further changes.
Next, you will be asked to change the domain name that you may want to edit. Select the domain name you wish to edit and the system will show you different editing options. You have to click on the Name Servers tab.
Select the Use Custom NameServers and put the nameservers offered by CloudFlare in the given boxes. The above screenshots are taken from Bluehost account. If you are using different hosting provider, the nameserver settings could be varied.
After completion of this step go back to CloudFlare set up page. Here you will find a button “I’ve updated my nameservers, continue” in order to finish the setup.
This is it – your website is now optimized by CloudFlare.
Installing CloudFlare is one of the best decision taken by a WordPress user. It helps in avoiding unnecessary traffic and junks that are potentially harmful to the website performance. Hope, this article helped you in easy integration of CloudFlare into your WordPress site. From now, you don’t have to compromise with the slower loading pages.