Optimise your WordPress site with Cloudflare

Author - Andrew Iontton

Posted By Andrew Iontton Lead Front End Developer

Date posted 22nd Apr 2020

Category WordPress


To make sure your website visitors have an enjoyable and safe experience it is important that your WordPress website’s security and performance are optimised. While there are a number of ways you can increase your site speed, and improve performance, one tool that does both is Cloudflare.

Cloudflare is a US based, web infrastructure and security company, who provides services like DDoS Protection, Load Balancing, Content Delivery Network, and much more. Why are these services important? They all have the potential to optimise your WordPress site. 

How can a CDN optimise your WordPress site?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. When a user visits a website the user is loading content from the web server. If the website is not using a CDN the user is putting pressure on the server to render the pages and to serve the content (images, video, text, JavaScript etc.). However, if the website has a large number of visitors this can cause problems for the web server, making it very slow and unresponsive. This in turn can lead to a loss in visitor numbers for your website, and cause reputation damage. A way to avoid this is by using a CDN.

93digital optimise site through CDN
Source: Wikipedia

A CDN distributes the static content of a website, for example, the images, videos and text and puts them in a location closer to the visitors of the website that they are serving the content to. So Cloudflare has servers all over the world and it caches the content to the web server and when a user visits the website they will load the content from the node servers instead of the web server, therefore, taking pressure of the web server and distributing the content across the globe.

How to avoid a DDoS attack with Cloudflare

DDoS attack is a type of cyber attack that blocks users from using your website. This is done by hackers overloading your servers with multiple requests which cause your website to crash. This could lead to poor user experience and damage the reputation of your business. The impact of a DDoS attack can last for days or weeks which could be severe for e-commerce websites as it can prevent customers from buying products.

In July 2018, Blizzard Entertainment web servers were hit by a DDoS attack. Blizzard is a gaming studio that creates and hosts a long list of popular games such as Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and Overwatch. The DDoS attack caused major problems for their customers, with some reporting that games were running slow, while others reported they were unable to play/login to their games at all.

Blizzard Entertainment lost potential revenue since their games were unplayable. These attacks happen because hackers believe they can extort money from companies like Blizzard Entertainment in return from stopping the attack.

To avoid your website from being hit by a DDoS attack Cloudflare provides an anti-DDoS service to sort and save traffic from DDoS requests by using their technology to filter out bad traffic created by hackers and bots.

Can load balancing improve site speed?

Load balancing is the process of sharing traffic across multiple servers. This ensures that no one server has too many requests. So by sharing the traffic evenly, load balancing improves the website available for users. When one web server becomes unavailable, the load balancer simply directs all new traffic requests to another available server. As a result, the website owner has an automatic solution for server problems if they happen.

How else can you optimise your WordPress site?

However, there are some general ways to improve your WordPress website. For example avoid installing too many unnecessary plugins. There is no defined rule to the number of plugins you can install but try to keep your plugins list as short as possible as each plugin is adding more files to your website which can make your website run slower. 

Another easy way to optimise your website is to optimise and compress your images, as the smaller the image file is the faster it loads for the end-user. I personally use the WordPress plugin Smush to compress my images. They also have a PRO feature that allows the image to be lazy-loaded which means if users do not scroll down to the image placed at the bottom of the page the image would not even be loaded, which improve the load time of the website.

Cloudflare is a very powerful product with lots of features – including firewalls, DDoS protection, load balancing, DNS management and much much more. It’s a highly valuable tool for any WordPress site serious about security, speed and scale, so we recommend checking it out.

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