January 7 2023

What is CloudFlare APO and what are its advantages?

Let's find out the advantages of CloudFlare APO for WordPress and how it can be an excellent ally for web systems engineers.

CloudFlare WordPress APO

CloudFlare APO (Automatic Platform Optimization) is a performance optimization solution based on caching technologies and CDN which aims to reduce the loading time of the pages of a website. It works by using a network of proxies distributed around the world to deliver content to visitors faster, reducing latency and data transfer time.

One of the key benefits of CloudFlare APO is its impact on the Time To First Byte (TTFB) metric, which represents the time between a user requesting a page and receiving the first byte of data from the server. A high TTFB can be due to several factors, such as the geographical distance of the server from the user, network congestion or poor optimization of server resources. CloudFlare APO intervenes in this sense by reducing network latency and optimizing data transfer, thus improving the site's TTFB especially if you intend to have international and intercontinental traffic, thanks to CloudFlare's CDN with a worldwide presence.

But why is it important to have a low TTFB? A high TTFB can negatively affect the user experience, making the site less responsive and less pleasant to navigate. Additionally, a high TTFB can also have a negative impact on a site's SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as search engines, such as Google, take this metric into consideration when determining how sites rank in their search results. A low TTFB, therefore, can help improve your site's ranking in search results, increasing your site's visibility and traffic.

Furthermore, it is now known that a low TTFB increases the crawl requests of Google crawlers, which are the programs used by the search engine to explore and index the content of websites. A high TTFB, on the other hand, can prevent crawlers from exploring the site effectively, compromising the indexing of the content and therefore the site's visibility in search results.

CloudFlare APO for WordPress.

To integrate CloudFlare APO with WordPress, you first need to create a CloudFlare account and add your WordPress site to your account.

Once the site has been added, CloudFlare will provide a new Domain Name System (DNS) address to use in place of the site's original DNS address. This will allow CloudFlare to act as a proxy for the site, handling visitor requests across its worldwide distributed network.

To facilitate the integration of CloudFlare with WordPress, there is an official plugin called “CloudFlare” which can be installed directly from the WordPress admin panel. Once installed, the plugin allows you to easily configure CloudFlare settings, such as security mode and cache, and view site performance statistics.

cloudflare-for-wordpress

The CloudFlare plugin for WordPress also includes a “cache purging” feature, which allows you to purge the CloudFlare cache whenever content is posted or changed on your WordPress site. This ensures that visitors always see the latest version of the site, without having to wait for CloudFlare's cache to refresh.

Why CloudFlare APO can never replace a Web Performance-oriented system administrator?

CloudFlare APO is a performance optimization solution primarily concerned with providing HTML caching and Content Delivery Network (CDN) services across a distributed wide area network. This means that CloudFlare APO can help improve the loading speed of a website's pages by delivering content to visitors faster, while reducing latency and data transfer time.

However, CloudFlare APO cannot replace the figure of a Linux system administrator specialized in Web Performance. This is because CloudFlare APO is unable to fix PHP-level or database-level performance issues, do system or application tuning, or intervene on site design to eliminate any performance issues. These are activities that require specific skills and must be tackled by an experienced professional.

Also, while caching can help hide the performance and latency issues of a slow or poorly designed site, not all pages on a site are cached on CloudFlare all the time. This means that some pages may load more slowly, resulting in a poor user experience and sending negative signals to search engines. Therefore, even if CloudFlare APO can help improve the performance of a site, it cannot replace the figure of a Linux system administrator specialized in Web Performance who can intervene on the site design and solve any performance problems at the application or system level, such as profiling the application or MySQL queries.

CloudFlare is an ally of System Administrators and Hosting Providers and not an enemy.

The performance advantages offered by CloudFlare are highly appreciated by both Linux system administrators and hosting providers, who have understood how this performance optimization solution can be easily implemented and offer a significant improvement in site performance at extremely low costs.

CloudFlare provides a worldwide distributed proxy network that allows you to deliver content to visitors faster, reducing latency and data transfer time. This can help improve the page loading speed of the site, increasing the user experience and boosting the site's ranking in search results.

If you were to consider using a proprietary CDN instead, you would have to install and configure at least 4 instances in 3 or 4 countries around the world, which would require time and resources to maintain and manage these instances. Furthermore, even in this case you would still get an inferior service to what CloudFlare can offer, which has a network distributed all over the world with over 200 points of presence.

CloudFlare plans range from $5 to $250 per month, depending on the version you choose and the additional features and functionality you request. Furthermore, the implementation of CloudFlare is very simple and does not require specific skills, which makes it accessible even to those who are not experts in systems.

How do you install CloudFlare APO in WordPress?

To install CloudFlare APO on an already existing WordPress site, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Create a CloudFlare account: The first step to using CloudFlare APO is to create an account on the CloudFlare website. You can create a free account or choose a paid plan, depending on your site needs.
  2. Add the WordPress site to your CloudFlare account: Once your account is created, you need to add your WordPress site to your CloudFlare account. To do this, simply enter the site address in the “Add a site” section and follow the instructions provided by CloudFlare.
  3. Replace the site domain's authoritative nameservers with those provided by CloudFlareOnce you have added the site to your CloudFlare account, you will need to change the site's DNS addresses to those provided by CloudFlare. This will allow CloudFlare to act as a proxy for the site, handling visitor requests across its worldwide distributed network.
  4. Install the CloudFlare plugin for WordPress: To facilitate the integration of CloudFlare with WordPress, there is an official plugin called “CloudFlare” which can be installed directly from the WordPress admin panel. Once installed, the plugin allows you to easily configure CloudFlare settings and view site performance statistics.
  5. Configure CloudFlare settingsOnce you have installed the CloudFlare WordPress plugin, you can access your CloudFlare settings from your WordPress admin panel. In this section you can configure the security and cache settings of CloudFlare, as well as activate or deactivate the various features offered by CloudFlare APO.

How to Clear CloudFlare Cache in WordPress?

Clearing CloudFlare's cache can be useful when editing JavaScript and CSS files because it can help ensure that users are viewing the latest version of the website. When files are modified, the cache can continue to serve the previous version of the site, causing display problems. By clearing the cache, users' browsers are forced to download the latest version of files, solving any display problems.

To clear your CloudFlare cache using the CloudFlare WordPress plugin, you need to log into your WordPress admin panel and select “Settings” in the sidebar. Then, select “CloudFlare” from the list of options and click “Clear Cache”. Alternatively, you can log into the CloudFlare dashboard and clear your cache from there.

CloudFlare Purge Cache

 

In conclusion

the use of CloudFlare APO can represent an added value to the performance configuration of a website, providing a network of proxies distributed around the world that allows you to deliver content to visitors faster, reducing latency and data transfer time . However, it is important to keep in mind that CloudFlare APO cannot in any way replace a website application and system level tuning. These activities require specific skills and must be tackled by an experienced professional.

Furthermore, care must be taken to handle CloudFlare APO correctly to avoid errors or conflicts. This is especially important if you are using CloudFlare APO in conjunction with other performance optimization solutions or proprietary caching systems. An expert system administrator can help configure and manage CloudFlare APO so that it integrates seamlessly into the site's web software stack.

Struggling to get your website off the ground? Can't figure out why your pages aren't loading as fast as you'd like? Contact us to evaluate the room for improvement of your site and implement a performance-oriented software stack that also includes CloudFlare APO. We'll help you make the most of your site's potential and get concrete results in terms of speed and positioning in search results.

Do you have doubts? Not sure where to start? Contact us


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