WordPress Cloudflare Notes

Here are my WordPress Cloudflare notes. There’s been a lot of chatter about speeding up WordPress via Cloudflare recently, and I did some research and testing of my own.

CloudFlare announced Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) for WordPress on 2-Oct-2020

TTFB – Time to First Byte

The biggest gain we’ve seen so far has been in TTFB (time to first byte). After configuring Cloudflare HTML page caching we tested TTFB using ByteCheck and GeekFlare along with the standard tests we always run using GTMetrix. Before configuring WordPress and Cloudflare (this new way) we were seeing 1 and 2 second (1200 and even 2200 millisecond) TTFB response times (in some locations around the globe). After activating Cloudflare HTML caching – our TTFB times dropped down to 64 milliseconds.

WordPress CloudFlare Notes - TTFB - time to first byte test results via GeekFlare
TTFB (time to first byte) test results via GeekFlare on 15-Oct-2020 – using the WPCFSPCP plugin.

The TTFB test results from 15-Oct-2020 were achieved with the use of the WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache Plugin (WPCFSPCP)

On 2-Nov-2020 we ran more tests for TTFB using SiteGround’s SG Optimizer plugin version 5.7.1 — as compared to WPCFSPCP.

First we purged the Cloudflare cache, and then activated the new ‘full page caching on Cloudflare’ option in the SG Optimizer. We ran the tests multiple times…. hoping the results would get better — using the SG Optimizer plugin. It was 300 to 700 milliseconds slower. See below.

TTFB (time to first byte) test results via GeekFlare on 2-Nov-2020 – using SG Optimizer 5.7.1
TTFB (time to first byte) test results via GeekFlare on 2-Nov-2020 – using the WPCFSPCP plugin

All of this indicates that we have more testing to do.

Your Mileage May Vary

Checking and verifying speed during speed tests is not easy. Getting accurate test results takes a lot of planning, testing, and retesting. Just ask Jerod Shelby.

“SSC North America, a small American carmaker that recently claimed a production car speed record on a highway near Las Vegas, announced it’s going to do it all over again after questions were raised regarding video of the event. The vehicle, which was tested on a seven-mile stretch of a Nevada highway on October 10, reached 331.15 miles per hour — the highest speed ever achieved on a public road, according to the company. The claimed official top speed of a combined average of 316.11 mph was the result of two runs in opposite directions, to account for wind and road variations.” ~ CNN news report.

Improved GTMetrix Speed Tests

We did some additional image optimizing on 14-Oct-2020 and ran more tests with GTMetrix. After several tweaks and multiple tests, I’m happy to report that DougVos.com scored double A’s on PageSpeed and YSlow industry standard speed tests. 99% for PageSpeed and 96% for YSlow.

GTMetrix test results for DougVos.com as of 14-Oct-2020. Tested from Dallas, TX

Other WordPress CloudFlare Notes

Brian Li, a Web Content Manager at Kinsta, reported similar good test results: “The results were incredible. By caching static HTML on Cloudflare’s edge network, we saw a 70-300% performance increase.”

James Lepage of Isotropic reported substantial gains in both TTFB and TTI (time to interactive)

WordPress CloudFlare Notes – Related Links

  1. Official Cloudflare Plugin – The official Cloudflare plugin in the WordPress plugin directory. Recommended by Cloudflare along with their $5 a month Automated Platform Optimization for WordPress service offering.
  2. WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache Plugin (WPCFSPCP) – This 5 star rated plugin was available prior to the launch of Cloudflare’s APO service offering. It offers an alternative way to achieve similar results while using the Cloudflare free plan. (Your mileage may vary.)
  3. SiteGround released version 5.7.1 of their SG Optimizer Plugin for WordPress (on 2-Nov-2020). This 4.5 star rated plugin now provides ‘full page caching on Cloudflare’. However, my initial testing shows that TTFB is 100 to 400 milliseconds slower than WP Cloudflare Super Page Cache (see item 2 above).
  4. Strattic – If you are super excited about HTML page caching, why not go all the way and convert your WordPress blog into a static HTML website. (It’s not an option I have tried yet, but something to consider.)
  5. Static HTML Output – An open source plugin by Leon Stafford and a group of developers. This WordPress plugin generates a static copy of your site for deployment to GitHub Pages, S3, Netlify, etc.

Originally published by Doug Vos on 15-Oct-2020 / Updated on 2-Nov-2020

Scroll to Top