Everyone loves their website. The safety and responsiveness of your site are probably the two critical ingredients for making your website boundless. WordPress is perhaps one of the most powerful blogging and website creation tools out there. It is also reputed as a Content Management System (CMS). Since 75,000,000 websites are using WordPress right at this moment, it is undoubtedly one of the most critical pins in the haystack that is the internet today.
Keeping your website safe and swift is where Cloudflare comes in. In their own words-
“We make the Internet work the way it should. Offering CDN, DNS, DDoS protection and security.”
However, what exactly does Cloudflare as a service help us deliver that WordPress cannot?
Think of Cloudflare as the faster racehorse. Except this racehorse has titanium armour on, and somehow is lighter than any other racehorse.
Cloudflare not only helps to speed up and secure your website but also helps in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Cloudflare also automatically adjusts the way content is delivered based on the particular device accessing the site to maximize speed without affecting the site’s look or features. Cool!
Here are my best time tested settings that’ll help you optimize your website over Cloudflare-
1. Enable SSL
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a cryptographic protocol that helps to keep the data your website communicates with the world safe. Not just that, SSL takes advantage of HTTP/2, which makes your webpage load faster.
Search Engines in 2019 use HTTPS (primarily the more secure HTTP) as a factor to rank searches. This makes redirecting users to your HTTPS website of utmost importance.
Creating SSL rules and tweaking the settings for HTTP rules that are to be applied to your website can be looked at and changed under the “page rules” tab in your Cloudflare dashboard, and creating new page rules.
2. Use Polish
Search Engines also take into consideration the loading speed of the website. Cloudflare helps your sites as blazingly fast as it can be, with a little tweaking.
Polish is a feature that compresses images and strips them of their metadata (details like the time when the image was taken/last edited, the location of where the picture was taken and camera details among others).
Images often use a whopping 21% of the total bandwidth that is needed to load a webpage, so using this option will undoubtedly make your site snappier.
Polish offers different modes of optimization. Basic reduces the size of the images on your website, whilst Basic+JPEG includes JPEG images into the mix, optimizing them for the best quality and smallest size possible!
As I mentioned before, Cloudflare is a Content Distribution Network. Sparing you the geek-speak, this means that they have loads of servers all around the world and they cache (basically store) a copy of your website on each one of these servers, so when the webpage is requested, a server closest to the visitor can serve up the request. This makes the delivery of the website much faster since the visitor’s device doesn’t have to travel very far on the internet to retrieve the site for them.
Cloudflare often boasts of its gargantuan CDN and its capabilities. On top of this, Cloudflare offers a vast arsenal of optimization tools that enhance the performance of your website more than any other CDN could do. This brings me to my next entry-
3. Caching anonymous requests
Cloudflare provides a ‘Bypass Cache on Cookie’ feature that serves a static version of the website to a user that’s not logged in. This saves the server more time and resources. Once you/user logs into WordPress, the dynamic capabilities of the webpage are restored.
To tighten the security of your webpage and to ward off unrestricted people from accessing your Cloudflare dashboard, considering 2-Factor Authentication is the best option.
Since you can manage DNS records directly from your Cloudflare account (as well as a plethora of other sensitive settings), you need to pay serious attention to preventing unauthorized access to your Cloudflare account.
Thankfully, Cloudflare offers optional 2-factor authentication via:
- Google Auth
To configure it, go to My Profile menu on your dashboard and navigate to set your phone number and other additional details as needed.
Beyond the core features above, Cloudflare has some other features that you might want to consider:
- Always Online – FREE – if your site goes down, this feature serves up a cached version so visitors can still access it. Configure in Caching tab.
- Rate Limiting – Billed on usage (first 10,000 requests are free) – protect your site by blocking specific IP addresses that fit specified rules. Configure in Firewall.
- Argo – Billed on usage – delivers responses to users more quickly by using optimized routes across the Cloudflare network.
- I’m Under Attack Mode – FREE – helps protect your site during a DDoS attempt. Enable in your main dashboard.
- Web Application Firewall – PAID – includes specific rulesets for WordPress sites. Configure in Firewall.
I hope this article helps you make your WordPress theme swifter! Cheers!