Cloudflare Questions & Answers (by the Cloudflare Team)

Cloudflare Questions & Answers - Freelancers Tools
(Last Updated On: 21/12/2020)
We have arranged a 1-hour Q&A session with the team from Cloudflare in our  Facebook WP Speed Up group.
They answered 36 questions on Cloudflare – with the emphasis on WordPress APO as Cloudflare recently announced the release of “Automatic Platform Optimization” (APO) for WordPress sites. APO is a new suite of one-click platform-tailored optimization services offered by Cloudflare.

Questions:

Where are Cloudflare servers located?

What happens if Cloudflare goes down?

  • If one location goes down, the traffic will automatically be rerouted through the other 199.

What will happen if we remove a website from Cloudflare?

  • If you’d like to move a website off Cloudflare, be sure to move your name-servers back to your original registrar before doing so.
  • Otherwise, your site will break.

How does Cloudflare APO work? 

  • When an eyeball requests a page from a website and Cloudflare doesn’t have a copy of the content it will be fetched from the origin. As the response is sent from the origin and goes through Cloudflare’s edge, Cloudflare for WordPress plugin adds a custom header: cf-edge-cache. It allows an origin to configure caching rules applied on responses.
    How does Cloudflare APO works - Freelancers Tools

Will Cloudflare ‘Automatic Platform Optimization’ plugin conflict with other caching plugins? Meaning can we use other caching plugins with Cloudflare APO?

  • Most of the time, APO will work just fine with a local caching plugin.
  • When you first install, we’d recommend installing our plugin, purging your local cache plugin, purge APO within our plugin, and make sure you have minification turned off.
  • If you are using an origin caching plugin (like WP Rocket, W3Cache, etc.) you SHOULD use that plugin’s minification vs enabling it via Cloudflare.
  • If you are not using such an origin caching plugin, then we’d recommend you enable minification via Cloudflare (which is a setting that you can toggle within our plugin or your dash).

Is Cloudflare working with other WordPress performance plug-in authors to automate/simplify APO set up?

  • Cloudflare is not working with those plugin providers yet, but we would love to learn more about what parts of the setup they could make easier.

Will the new APO help with auto purging as users edit existing posts/pages?

  • Yes – it does that today.

If we have a site currently running on Cloudflare and have rules and settings in place, then add APO with the Cloudflare plugin, does that overwrite all our existing settings? If not, which settings will it change?

  • It will definitely not overwrite your existing settings. If you have cache everything enabled, it will cache everything (in addition to what APO is caching itself).

Will APO work in only DNS mode without proxy? If yes, will firewall and page rules functionality will work the same as in proxy?

  • No, the traffic needs to be proxied through Cloudflare in order for APO, WAF (firewall), and page rules to work properly.
  • Without proxying, all requests will go directly to the origin.

Will there be a faster process of Cloudflare “purge all cache” via API with APO? 

(now it can take up to 30 minutes to purge all cache files. That is ages in the e-commerce world. That means 30 minutes of expired page state which can end up in misinformation about stock, prices and other stuff if you dynamically change prices multiple times during the day. We need to refresh the cache multiple times during the day with Cron. The sequence is – clear server cache, purge Cloudflare cache, run…)

  • The 30-minute delay for purging the cache was only applicable to users running APO without our Plugin.
  • We’ve since made plugin use mandatory when using APO (as 99% of users were already using the plugin).
  • Now, it takes less than a minute to purge the APO cache!

What’s the difference between caching for APO and Cloudflare free with a page rule to cache everything, especially if you host at a Cloudflare partner?

  • There are a number of differences.
  • The main one is that when APO is enabled, the Cloudflare plugin will automatically trigger a cache purge for the subset of the pages that were modified (including categories and tags).
  • When using cache everything, customers need to purge the cache manually which is much less specific and can purge pages from the cache that never changed.
  • Secondly, APO uses 2 caching mechanisms: Cache and Workers KV Storage.
  • Using KV storage in APO we increased cache hit ratio by 30%.
  • Lastly APO uses smart caching, so it will bypass the cache if it detects WordPress specific cookies or query parameters (excluding those commonly related to attribution / marketing like UTMs).
  • Additionally, KV purges publish instantly across the global edge while cache everything purges propagate a bit more slowly

Is there any limited number of visitors restriction with APO?

  • Nope.

Will APO optimize images too?

  • Not today, but this is something Cloudflare is looking into.
  • Today, we include a few image optimization products in our  Pro Plan (Mirage, Polish) for $20 / mo (which includes APO).

If we pay $5 each month, can we use APO with multiple websites?

  • APO is a per zone product, meaning you would have to pay $5 for each different domain you’d like to use it with.
  • You can use unlimited subdomains with 1 APO subscription though.

If I am now using CF APO, can I use cache everything page rule or there is no need?

  • There shouldn’t be a need unless you want to cache more aggressively than APO is doing already.

Can you give us the elevator pitch as to why we should use Cloudflare APO?

  • Fast websites result in better user engagement, SEO, e-commerce results etc.
  • Cloudflare APO demonstrates significant improvement in TTFB, First Contentful Paint, and Speed Index metrics for users across the world.
  • Additionally, because Cloudflare is serving most requests from their cache instead of our origin, we can significantly reduce the load on origin servers.

Can we Host Cloudflare’s Rocket loader locally?

  • Not today. Rocket loader rewrites the page’s HTML and injects the client script.
  • The URL of the injected script isn’t configurable yet so it will always point to Cloudflare.

Our host supports Railgun as their partner, can we use it for free then?

  • If you use Cloudflare through a partner that provides Railgun services, then you can leverage that partner’s Railgun instance per their terms (but it’s up to them).

Is there a way to exclude backend from Browser insights, or only available on a paid plan or it is possible to host locally? 

  • Browser Insights Rules are only available on our paid plan (Pro and above).
  • Today, it’s not possible to host it locally.

Cloudflare already sent emails about enabling HTTP/3, but users didn’t see it on the Chrome Network panel yet?

  • HTTP/3 is not yet available in Chrome stable yet.
  • Additionally, Cloudflare has identified an issue with HTTP/3 support, causing degraded performance and we have disabled it temporarily while they resolve this issue, after which it will be re-enabled.

Why do Australians have to pay extra for local routing (as one member asked)?

Some users on the Pro plan have WordPress sites running Gutenberg, which makes heavy use of JS. They have to whitelist their home IP address just to save a new post, as some OWASP security wire gets tripped thinking they are inserting malicious JSON. 

If you are hosting at a Cloudflare partner, you can run Cloudflare via a subdomain, like cdn.yourwebsite.com. Do you recommend to use this in terms of performance, or is it better to use Cloudflares’ nameservers and let all traffic go through CF?

  • Going with Cloudflare’s nameservers means all of your traffic is accelerated and protected, including DNS requests.
  • APO also will only work if you are on Cloudflare’s network which will greatly accelerate delivery of html content.
  • That wouldn’t be possible if you are only using a CDN subdomain.

If you are already using a minimization/caching plugin, and object cache such as Redis. Do you still recommend to use Cloudflare’s auto minifier? What do you think is more effective?

  • Theoretically, it’s best to only minify something once.
  • If you have the capability to minify at your origin, we’d recommend doing so and disabling within your Cloudflare settings.

Is Cloudflare faster than Google DNS?

How do we find the real IP of a website hosted with Cloudflare?

  • You can’t 🙂
  • Part of the value Cloudflare provides is us implicitly hiding the real IP of our users’ origin servers to ensure that DDOS mitigation is effective.
  • We don’t want the bad guys to be able to find you.

Does using Cloudflare affect search engine rankings (SEO)?  

  • Over time, Google’s algorithm have rewarded speed / performance more and more.
  • Since Cloudflare improves your site’s performance in many cases (especially with APO), you can expect your SEO to improve in those cases.

How secure is the whole Cloudflare system? 

  • Extremely secure: https://www.cloudflare.com/privacy-and-compliance/certifications/

Is Cloudflare a good option for getting free SSL

  • Yes! It’s a great option. It comes included by default.

Does Cloudflare have some good tutorial on SSL certificates, I can either get a let’s encrypt one but it seems like Cloudflare can make sure my traffic is secured as well. I do not know which one to pick at the moment. 

If we change my DNS to Cloudflare will it conflict with our existing SSL certificate? 

What WordPress cache plugins work the best with Nginx and Cloudflare, according to your opinion?

  • APO of course. 🙂
  • While origin caching can help in cases where requests are making it to the origin, APO will try to serve most requests from Cloudflare edge (making other caching plugin irrelevant).
  • In cases where the requests to make it to your origin, having another caching plugin can help – though Cloudflare doesn’t have a strong opinion on any one in particular.
  • Also, we should always use minification when possible as it reduces the size of our static assets.

How to host static content using Cloudflare? 

What are the largest websites powered by Cloudflare? 

Why is Cloudflare free? How can Cloudflare make money for its free services? How can Cloudflare not charge for bandwidth for their CDN capabilities?

  • Our mission is to help build a better internet.
  • We wouldn’t be able to do that unless we offered plans that were accessible to everyone.
  • Additionally, the more sites sign up, the more of the web’s traffic can flow through our network, and the better we get at things like detecting malicious traffic, Bot Mitigation, DDOS mitigation, etc.
  • This helps us in turn deliver better products to our paying customers.

Will Cloudflare usage be more or less critical 2-3 years from now, according to your opinion? 

  • As protocols become more complex, tuning your network stack to take advantage of all the newest technology can be really hard.
  • Since Cloudflare can do all of this for you in addition to all the best-in-class products and services we provide, it’s hard to make a case that we won’t become more critical.

 

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