Speed improvement with CloudFlare

Recently I decided to test cloudflare cdn on nabtron.com. The results were amazing as expected!

Before setting up cloudflare on this blog I checked various cdn providers and their options. Amazon has been tried by us already so I wanted to give cloudflare a try this time as it seemed to be the best in its price category.

Oh and did you know, cloudflare provides free account for starters which can easily be upgraded to paid plans if the website owner feels like doing so.

Ok coming back to the point. The speed difference, is “enormous”. Check out he following pingdom speed tests results before and after the cloudflare!

Speed of nabtron.com before turning cloudflare on:

nabtron before cloudflare

Now check the load time and other improvements achieved by turning on cloudflare on nabtron.com :

nabtron after cloudflare

Astonishing ! From 1.02 seconds to just 211 milliseconds! (and yes, on a totally free cloudflare account)

Please note that the settings on the cloudflare account were set to the best speed optimization settings though. They might not work well on all websites, so please check and confirm that all the required functionality of your website or blog remains intact once you turn on a specific level of speed optimization on cloudflare. For our blog it worked pretty well at the highest level of optimization.

If you look at the source of your page after setting up cloudflare cdn, you might feel that there are extra files added to your source. Well, they are, but they’re nothing to be alarmed of! they’re just there to make the cdn work and the extra files are loaded from the cloudflare cdn and not your server.

Please note, if you turn on any apps on cloudflare, they might add a load of files to your website, and as they’re third party apps and files, they might not be fast enough and might not even come through cloud flare cdn even. So make sure you want that app and make sure you know which files it’s adding to your website source and you’re fine with them.

I turned on one app (vigilinks) but it caused rise in the load time of my blog. Check the following metrics by pingdom tools:

nabtron with cloudflare and vigilinks

No doubt the speed is better than the blog speed without cloudflare, but it’s far greater than the speed of blog without vigilinks turned on. But check the number of requests added by the simple one app, almost 40! too much to be acceptable!

Well if you want to use any of the apps anyway, then you’ll have to compromise the load speed abit ofcourse and well that’s ok! you have to optimize your website for all the factors and chose the best combination possible afterall! I checked vigilinks for some time and wasn’t satisfied with them anyway, so decided to remove them.

Cloudflare’s free cdn has few limitations though specially related to analytics. If it works well and helps us increase the traffic and user experience of the visitors to the blog significantly then we might consider moving to the paid version after some trial period :)

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