The other day, I started using the Pro plan on Cloudflare to speed up some of my websites. So far, I am extremely pleased with the service and I love the various options that you can switch on and off.
More importantly, I am loving the immediate performance boost that I am seeing.
The Pingdom uptime graph below shows the exact moment that Cloudflare kicked into effect.
The graph is an uptime graph for an SSL-enabled HAProxy load balancer with six Nginx web servers behind it. Note that Cloudflare caching was not enabled on this particular URL.
There was a few minutes of downtime while the site switched over, as I had to wait 10 minutes for Cloudflare to issue the SSL cert for my domain. This downtime is marked on the graph by a straight red line.
As you can see, the server response time after the red line is much faster. After the changeover was complete, there was an obvious drop in the number of milliseconds that it took my site to respond to Pingdom’s uptime tool.
This drop may be have been caused by a combination of reasons:
- I enabled Brotli compression in Cloudflare.
- Cloudflare handles DNS queries MUCH faster than other services such as GoDaddy and Namecheap, etc. In many of my previous speed tests, I noticed that DNS queries through these free services were sometimes taking between 50-80ms.
- I enabled HTTPS 2.
- Argo Smart Routing was enabled. This option optimizes web traffic by routing it across the fastest network paths available.
Below, you will find an uptime graph for a dynamically-generated image that has Cloudflare caching enabled:
In this case, because caching is enabled, there is an even bigger drop – with response times falling from about 500ms to 150ms!
If you don’t use Cloudflare, I would recommend that you at least test out their $20 per month Pro plan. You might get some surprising results. Personally, I’m a bit annoyed at myself that I didn’t try it sooner.