CloudFlare before & after

23 replies
  • WEB DESIGN
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Not really sure where to put this, since there is only a programming & web design forum, but as of last week, my small but growing web hosting company became a CloudFlare Certified Partner. We performed all of the prerequisites, install CloudFlare on the server, as well as a few test websites. We let the static content cache for a few days and ran another test tonight from pingdom.

Before implementing CloudFlare, the main website was averaging 2-4 seconds to completely load.

After implementing CloudFlare, the load time dropped significantly to an average of between 200ms-600ms.

http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/t1EW...w.vopahost.com


I didn't save the pingdom link from before implementing CloudFlare, but based on the results, I highly recommend implementing CloudFlare if you're either a hosting provider or if your web host has it.

We'll continue to benchmark the performance as time goes on. This is on a brand new server, currently running Apache, but we're in the process of switching over to Litespeed.
#cloudflare
  • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
    Cloudflare is good if we keep security level low. Also we're not using it because it doesn't support Mobile view of our site. Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

      Cloudflare is good if we keep security level low. Also we're not using it because it doesn't support Mobile view of our site. Thanks.
      Shouldn't be any issues with the mobile view of your site. What's the issue? Do you have mobile on a subdomain?
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      • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
        Originally Posted by damoncloudflare View Post

        Shouldn't be any issues with the mobile view of your site. What's the issue? Do you have mobile on a subdomain?
        We are using WordPress Plugin and theme provided by them for mobile view which is not supported by CloudFlare. I already ask them but no any solution.
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        • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
          Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

          We are using WordPress Plugin and theme provided by them for mobile view which is not supported by CloudFlare. I already ask them but no any solution.
          Can't think of any reason the plugin wouldn't work, unless it requires JavaScript or something. Did you have Rocket Loader or Auto Minify turned on? Did you have the CloudFlare WordPress plugin installed as well? These can sometimes break some plugins & turning them off would generally fix the issue. If not, we would need more detail (exact plugin, what happens, etc.) to research.
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          • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
            Originally Posted by damoncloudflare View Post

            Can't think of any reason the plugin wouldn't work, unless it requires JavaScript or something. Did you have Rocket Loader or Auto Minify turned on? Did you have the CloudFlare WordPress plugin installed as well? These can sometimes break some plugins & turning them off would generally fix the issue. If not, we would need more detail (exact plugin, what happens, etc.) to research.

            I'll start using CloudFlare again and let you know the problem.
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            • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
              Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

              I'll start using CloudFlare again and let you know the problem.

              Great. Contact us if you have any issues. If you have a problem after using us again, try using the settings->deactivate option instead so CloudFlare goes direct. This will let us resolve the DNS still...but we won't proxy or cache the site while we're deactivated.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    CloudFlare is working great for us. A new recent addition, was LiteSpeed web server in place of Apache. Implementing both of these, has both increased the performance of the sites as well as reduce sever resources significantly.
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  • Profile picture of the author nguylb73
    Cloudflare is a great idea but they place your website with a bunch of bad neighbors. Like a church website using cloudflare can be on the same IP as porn sites.

    Bad SEO? you decide.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
      Originally Posted by nguylb73 View Post

      Cloudflare is a great idea but they place your website with a bunch of bad neighbors. Like a church website using cloudflare can be on the same IP as porn sites.

      Bad SEO? you decide.
      What are you talking about?
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by nguylb73 View Post

      Cloudflare is a great idea but they place your website with a bunch of bad neighbors. Like a church website using cloudflare can be on the same IP as porn sites.

      Bad SEO? you decide.
      Not an issue at all. Covered here.

      " Second, we worked directly with the crawl teams at the big search engines to make them aware of how CloudFlare worked. All the search engines had special rules for CDNs like Akamai already in place. CloudFlare worked a bit differently, but fell into the same general category. With the cooperation of these search teams we were able to get CloudFlare's IP ranges are listed in a special category within search crawlers. Not only does this keep sites behind them from being clustered to a least performant denominator, or incorrectly geo-tagged based on the DNS resolution IP, it also allows the search engines to crawl at their maximum velocity since CloudFlare can handle the load without overburdening the origin."
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  • Profile picture of the author sam808
    Our experience with Cloudflare wasn't quite as positive. Here's an excerpt of what I sent their tech support, and when it went unanswered for 48 hours, I had to cancel. We are now using nginx and couldn't be happier. Our loads on the server are always hovering near zero now (without any caching/proxy, we were getting overloaded with maybe 50-70 people on our Wordpress dedicated VPS server.) I have to qualify that statement because our site was a target for a bunch of spam article and comment posters, which we were blocking, but they were hammering us pretty hard when we ran with no cache or proxy.

    Here's the issue we had:

    Our users are reporting they frequently have trouble loading pages on our site frequently throughout the day. They get the error below. I get this same error intermittently, and it seems to happen only when I’m using Firefox (vs. IE).

    Our Wordpress server is a VPS at Rackspace and it’s only running one instance of Wordpress and nothing else. We don’t have server load problems while running Cloudflare and I have removed Bad Behavior and AVH First Defense Against Spam as recommended in the Cloudflare kb. Oh, and I am running the latest Cloudflare plugin and the latest W3TC with Cloudflare enabled.

    Error:

    This page is currently offline. However, because the site uses CloudFlare’s Always Online™ technology you can continue to surf a snapshot of the site. We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version. Alternatively, you can retry the live version.

    Results:

    With nginx, our site has never been faster and never goes offline like above. We retain our DNS and public IP and we don't use W3TC (or other cache) or any other kind of CDN (I've tried several). I also removed most of my .htaccess rules I was testing in conjunction with the caching software. Basically, we were able to simplify quite a bit of complexity by moving to nginx, which is a reverse proxy and replacement http server. Pretty cool stuff: Nginx Wiki

    Sam
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by sam808 View Post

      Our experience with Cloudflare wasn't quite as positive. Here's an excerpt of what I sent their tech support, and when it went unanswered for 48 hours, I had to cancel. We are now using nginx and couldn't be happier. Our loads on the server are always hovering near zero now (without any caching/proxy, we were getting overloaded with maybe 50-70 people on our Wordpress dedicated VPS server.) I have to qualify that statement because our site was a target for a bunch of spam article and comment posters, which we were blocking, but they were hammering us pretty hard when we ran with no cache or proxy.

      Here's the issue we had:

      Our users are reporting they frequently have trouble loading pages on our site frequently throughout the day. They get the error below. I get this same error intermittently, and it seems to happen only when I'm using Firefox (vs. IE).

      Our Wordpress server is a VPS at Rackspace and it's only running one instance of Wordpress and nothing else. We don't have server load problems while running Cloudflare and I have removed Bad Behavior and AVH First Defense Against Spam as recommended in the Cloudflare kb. Oh, and I am running the latest Cloudflare plugin and the latest W3TC with Cloudflare enabled.

      Error:

      This page is currently offline. However, because the site uses CloudFlare's Always Online™ technology you can continue to surf a snapshot of the site. We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version. Alternatively, you can retry the live version.

      Results:

      With nginx, our site has never been faster and never goes offline like above. We retain our DNS and public IP and we don't use W3TC (or other cache) or any other kind of CDN (I've tried several). I also removed most of my .htaccess rules I was testing in conjunction with the caching software. Basically, we were able to simplify quite a bit of complexity by moving to nginx, which is a reverse proxy and replacement http server. Pretty cool stuff: Nginx Wiki

      Sam

      "This page is currently offline. However, because the site uses CloudFlare's Always Online™ technology you can continue to surf a snapshot of the site. We will keep checking in the background and, as soon as the site comes back, you will automatically be served the live version. Alternatively, you can retry the live version."

      If this is happening with your server up and running, it means that something is blocking our requests at the host or server level (.htacess rules, firewall, iptables, etc.). The CloudFlare IPs do need to be whitelisted.

      If you were getting the site offline in something like an admin panel, which can happen, there is a solution to exclude the URL from CloudFlare. In addition, things like large uploads and downloads can cause timeouts & should be on a subdomain we don't touch.

      Sorry to hear about the delay issue. We have actually upped our staff, but we're not in a position to provide 24/7 support just yet. If users experience and issue with CloudFlare on, there is also the option to temporarily deactivate CloudFlare while waiting for a response to a troubleshooting inquiry (settings->deactivate).
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  • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
    Hi damoncloudflare,
    I'm already using MaxCDN then is it really necessary OR beneficial to use CloudFlare? Will it increase site speed?
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      No issues at all with running MaxCDN and CloudFLare at the same time at all (lots of other users have a similar setup). You should still see improvements because the services do things a little differently, and we're also adding a layer of protection to your site as well (we're not just a CDN).
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      • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
        Originally Posted by damoncloudflare View Post

        No issues at all with running MaxCDN and CloudFLare at the same time at all (lots of other users have a similar setup). You should still see improvements because the services do things a little differently, and we're also adding a layer of protection to your site as well (we're not just a CDN).
        As I told I again installed CloudFlare for www.techlila.com but after installing it load time is increased, what is the issue? It should be improve after installing.
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        • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
          Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

          As I told I again installed CloudFlare for www.techlila.com but after installing it load time is increased, what is the issue? It should be improve after installing.
          What are you basing this off of? A reporting tool?

          It would also depend on where you are personally located. If you're in an area where we don't have a CloudFlare datacenter just yet, then we might add a little latency from that location (generally not that severe, however).

          You're also going to get different results based on the reporting tool you use (depends on where their probes are sent from). I tested my site yesterday with several popular tools & there was a variance based solely on where they send their probes from).
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    CloudFlare has worked great for us. Just keep in mind, the other day WiredTree had a problem with a distribution switch that was hindering traffic - this could also cause cloudFlare to throw up the always on page if the response times are too high.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    Damon, what's the best tool you recommend for load time testing with CloudFlare enabled sites? We've been testing with just pingdom tools...

    I just ran this one: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/upyI...w.vopahost.com

    We also purged the cache a little bit ago so we could update the affiliate banners with the new logo.

    The results have been pretty consistent as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by Kingfish85 View Post

      Damon, what's the best tool you recommend for load time testing with CloudFlare enabled sites? We've been testing with just pingdom tools...

      I just ran this one: http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/upyIVjyWz/http://www.vopahost.com

      We also purged the cache a little bit ago so we could update the affiliate banners with the new logo.

      The results have been pretty consistent as well.
      You could also look at Webpagetest.org and GTMetrix.

      Note:
      All of the services will return different speed results (depends on their probes)
      All of the services will return different recommendations to improve your site's speed (not all recommendations would apply to all sites). I would personally recommend using them as helpful guides to spot potential bottlenecks & areas that you can probably get a quick win from (minifying CSS, etc.).
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  • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
    I'm using CloudFlare with MaxCDN. I've checked my site speed on Pingdom and on GtMetrix. I don't know what is the issue with my site?
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

      I'm using CloudFlare with MaxCDN. I've checked my site speed on Pingdom and on GtMetrix. I don't know what is the issue with my site?
      I would need details from the tests. Can only take a guess. Are you in India? If so, a little latency might be added because we don't have datacenters directly in India (some traffic from India hits Singapore, some would hit Europe).
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  • Profile picture of the author namaserajesh
    Yeah, I'm from India, deactivated the CloudFlare and site working fine than before. Loading time is less and no website is down message. Still I'm not against CloudFlare as my hosting provider also added CloudFlare option in CPanel and many sites are working fine with it, as I'm using MaxCDN actually there is no any need to use CloudFlare. Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author damoncloudflare
      Originally Posted by namaserajesh View Post

      Yeah, I'm from India, deactivated the CloudFlare and site working fine than before. Loading time is less and no website is down message. Still I'm not against CloudFlare as my hosting provider also added CloudFlare option in CPanel and many sites are working fine with it, as I'm using MaxCDN actually there is no any need to use CloudFlare. Thanks.
      Website offline means something is blocking requests from our IPs.

      Note: If this is appearing in your admin section, however, it is probably some sort of action causing a timeout. We would recommend excluding admin pages from CloudFlare.

      Latency:
      Are all of your visitors from India?
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