We’ve had some enquiries as to what Cloudflare services we make use of. For security reasons, I won’t go into detail about everything we use or how it’s all setup.
However, I will say that one of their many services we’re using is Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) for WordPress. For WordPress sites, this is one of the best optimization/performance services available. We also make use of their Image Resizing via Workers.
Cloudflare’s APO was introduced, if I recall, in 2020. But we’d only started using it over the last year or so. Initially, I wasn’t sure how much it would help.
However, after some testing and customizations, I now couldn’t recommend it enough. While the difference could be seen within benchmarks, more importantly, the performance gains were quite noticeable by human visitors as well.
What is Cloudflare’s APO? As per Cloudflare, it’s a simple on-button to boost the performance of WordPress sites.
Given the inherently dynamic nature of WordPress, prior to Cloudflare’s APO, the vast majority of WordPress content served-up wasn’t being cached and was served directly from the origin server(s). With APO, Cloudflare will cache everything (HTML included) for guest visitors (i.e. those who aren’t logged-in). This could offload a huge burden from your origin server(s).
Logged-in users will bypass the APO cache. But, barring some sort of page rule(s), even logged-in users will have the default/normal stuff cached. As many visitors to most WordPress sites tend to be guests, not logged-in, APO can be extremely beneficial.
We already have powerful enough servers, but APO helps to further reduce the FCP and TTFB, consistently. To oversimplify it, our entire site is more-or-less being served from Cloudflare’s edge to guest visitors. That’s a huge benefit and I can’t stress the importance of it enough.
We’d considered using Railgun for further improvements for logged-in users, but unfortunately, Railgun isn’t available for Debian 11 (Bullseye). I’d contacted Cloudflare via their chat support, asking for a Debian 11 compatibility ETA, and was advised that they’re not going to be releasing any further Railgun revisions.
TLDR… Cloudflare’s APO will allow you to more-or-less serve-up your entire WordPress site, to guest visitors, from Cloudflare’s edge. APO will lower your FCP, SI, and TTFB. APO will lower your origin’s bandwidth utilization. APO will provide a noticeable performance improvement for your WordPress site.
While we already have a Business plan with Cloudflare, APO includes features (i.e. bypass cache on cookie) that aren’t generally available to lower plans, and for significantly less than $200 USD per month. If you have a Pro or higher plan, APO is included. But, even with a free plan, it’s only $5 USD per month for APO. Given the low-cost of APO, and potential benefits of it, you should really try it if you have a WordPress site… APO is worth the $5 USD per month.