Well, if you want your site to be speedy, I have some information for you that will most certainly help you achieve your goal! I know that it helped me achieve my goal, and actually go way beyond my goal.
Let me get your attention a bit so that you will read this article. My highest traffic website used to be slower than 70% of websites. Now, when I test it with Pingdom, the score that I get is that my site is faster than 98% of the sites tested! Yes, faster than 98% of sites.
Know how much it cost me to become faster than 98% of other sites? Nothing. Nada. Free. As they say here in the Philippines…. it was libre! You just can’t beat that price!
How did I do it?
What is Cloudflare? Let’s see what Cloudflare says they are:
CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online. Once your website is a part of the CloudFlare community, its web traffic is routed through our intelligent global network. We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.
Cloudflare has free plans, and they have plans that you can pay for. Right now, I am using the free plan on all of my sites, but I am considering using their payment plan for my “money site” (the site that makes the most money for me). The pay plan is $20 per month. It offers some features that the free plan does not offer, and they say that the speed of your site is even faster when you use the payment plan. The $20 price covers one website. If you want your other sites to also have the paid plan it is an extra $5 per site. But, you can mix and match, pay for some sites and leave other sites free, it ‘s all up to you.
Basically, Cloudflare is like a CDN (Content Delivery Network, which is discussed in my previous article), but it is also much more than just a CDN.
Choose your level of speed
When you start a new site using Cloudflare, you can choose your level of speed. They have the CDN only plan, which they say is the safest as far as keeping your site looking right. They have an intermediate level, and then they have the “blazing speed” level. I started out with the CDN only, but then I decided to test the Blazing Speed level on one of my smaller sites to just see how it worked. There was a warning that sometimes this level will render things improperly on your site. I tried it out and everything looked good, so I decided that I really had a “Need for Speed” and went with the Blazing speed level for all of my sites. I never found any problems with using the fastest setting either, so I am very happy. It is when I turned on the Blazing Speed that I started achieving 90+% site loading speeds.
When you set up a site on Cloudflare, you have to change the nameservers for your site so that they point to Cloudflare instead of to your server. At first, this made me nervous. I felt that it gave control over my sites to Cloudflare. I admit that when it comes to my websites, and the way I make a living, I am a control freak. I want to be in full control of everything, so it was hard for me to switch my nameservers to the Cloudflare server. I thought it over for a while, then I implemented it on one of my smaller sites and watched the performance for a day or so. I was impressed, so I started putting other sites of mine on Cloudflare. I saved my “big” site for the final one so that I had plenty of time to watch my other sites operate on Cloudflare and make sure that nothing “funky” was going on. It took me about 2 weeks to make all of my “Need for Speed” changes to all of my sites and move them all over to Cloudflare.
Now, I have been using Cloudflare for almost 4 weeks on some sites, and I have not got a single complaint. I can only praise Cloudflare and can’t really say enough good about them.
Some impressive things
In addition to speeding up my sites, Cloudflare is actually going to end up saving me money! That’s right, SAVING! How?
Well, firstly, because of Cloudflare, my web servers are only having to work about half as hard as they used to. On my big site that makes me the most money, I used to serve nearly 10 Gb per day of data to readers! That’s a lot. Now, using Cloudflare, I have cut that in half, and my daily bandwidth is only around 5 Gb. Impressive. I am going to look at it for a few weeks, but if the bandwidth saved continues, I am considering downgrading to a less expensive server, which will save me a significant amount of money. I figure that if I make that move, which would save me about $50 per month, at that time I will upgrade my Cloudflare account for that site to the paid account, which would improve the speed even more, and also I figure that if Cloudflare is doing that good of a job for me, I really want to pay them something!
Another impressive thing is that Cloudflare filters threats from my sites! They have security measures where they can detect when somebody is threatening your site and the block access for that IP address. Additionally, they block known spammers from even being able to access your site! My big site used to get a LOT of Spam comments, but now the number has been reduced by nearly 90% thanks to Cloudflare. That’s great service!
So, when it comes to getting a speedier site, you can read over all of my articles this week. Implement as many of the ideas that you can. But, if you have to choose only one thing to do… it’s simple. Use Cloudflare. This is not a commercial for Cloudflare. I don’t get paid anything. Heck, I don’t even know anybody at Cloudflare, nor have I ever talked to or e-mailed anybody there. I am only a happy user, and recommend their service highly! My only wish is that I had implemented their service on my websites a long time ago! Implementation is so easy, hassle-free, and it actually does what it says! Frankly, it probably does better than it says! Not many companies can make that claim these days.
So, this has been my report about my “need for speed” project. Now I will watch Google and see if my AdSense earnings increase. I can say that my Google Scorecard has already started improving in the area of Site health. In the past, I almost always got 1 out of 5 in that category. The other day, I had a 4 out of 5, but am now sitting on a 3. But, until this past week, I had never even seen a rating of 3 when it came to Site Health. So, things are improving. I hope it extends to the amount of AdSense earnings!
I hope you enjoyed my series of articles, and that you will be able to pick up some tips that will help your own websites!