Speed is said to be essential for a website to rank well and to serve its visitors well.
I have talked about the importance of speeding up your site loading time also I talked about the ways to improve your site loading speed.
In the article, I mentioned CDN as one of the methods to increase your site speed effectively.
Let’s get to know Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a free Content delivery network (CDN) and it also serves as a security service.
To start enjoying the benefits Cloudflare has to offer you need to set up Cloudflare to integrate it to your site properly.
Once you get connected you will be able to see an increment in site loading time, security, SSL, and get protected from bots.
It is one of the free CDN service providers globally, it works well than others.
These are the benefits you get for using Cloudflare
In case you are just starting to know about Cloudflare, here is a quick list of the offers you get joining them.
CDN – The first benefit you will get from Cloudflare is CDN.
The content delivery network helps to speed up your site by serving your site static content to users using a large network of global servers.
This will serve each user your site contents form a server near to their location to make it really fast.
SSL – This is another great feature; it gives your site protection by serving all contents, pages on Https.
It works well for site owners who don’t have an SSL certificate, it gives the green padlock to let site users learn that your site is secure to visit.
DNS – This is a good speed optimizing feature, Cloudflare provides your site fast DNS to speed up your site’s time to the first byte.
Showing your site users your site’s content faster than usual.
Security rules – Another way to protect your site, Cloudflare gives you the option to set up custom security rules to harden the security of some specific parts of your site, for example, your site WordPress dashboard.
DDoS protection – One of the great security features Cloudflare offers, this gives your site protection against distributed of denial of service attack known as DDoS.
It helps to filter out malicious traffic that might affect your site.
Brotli Compression – One of the sped feature Cloudflare offers, this help to minimize your site codes, compresses all the necessary and then speeds up your site 2 times.
Now that you have learned about the benefits you get from activating Cloudflare, it’s time we learn about how to set it up.
How do I set up Cloudflare for my WordPress site?
For you to have access to all the benefits I mentioned above you need to connect Cloudflare to your site.
Cloudflare is known to be a reverse proxy service, so you need to give Cloudflare access to your domain’s nameservers.
This access will allow Cloudflare to be able to serve your site’s cached contents from its CDN to your site visitors and also it will be able to serve as security (SSL, DDoS and block malicious traffic and bots)
To get all that configuration option you need to change your domain’s nameservers to your assigned Cloudflare assigned nameservers.
See how you can do all that
1. Create a Cloudflare free account
Let’s start with you creating an account with Cloudflare, to do that go to Cloudflare and sign up.
On the next page, you will be asked to enter the domain name of the site you want to add to Cloudflare. After filling it, you will need to click Add site
Now a screen will prompt up asking you to choose a plan.
You are allowed to choose a Free plan for the moment, as most of the features it offers can help you as a starter.
2. Verify DNS records
After you choose your preferred plan, you will Cloudflare scan your site’s DNS records.
This wants you to verify your domain name DNS records that the site belongs to you; you will be shown the existing DNS record.
Note after this you will be provided with the new DNS records to include, and after this, you click Continue
3. Point your nameservers towards Cloudflare
Now you will be given new nameservers to replace your domain name existing nameservers.
We can say nameservers is part of the ways you can use to connect your domain name to your web hosting. Once you switch to Cloudflare’s nameserver.
It will be able to control your site’s traffic directly and be able to:
- Serve your site static content to users from the nearest server from its large global network of servers.
- Block malicious traffic and bots, it will filter all bad traffic and let normal users access your site secure while blocking site attackers.
The configuration of nameservers depends on where you registered your domain name.
Look at this after I changed my domain name nameservers to point to Cloudflare.
Once you make changes to your domain’s nameservers now you will go back
to the Cloudflare dashboard and then click Done, check nameservers button.
Take note: nameservers change update can take 24 hours or less, it depends on how fast Cloudflare checks, you will get a response within 24 hours.
It should be a success response not otherwise if you follow the right procedure.
4. Start with the basic settings
Right after the DNS records change verification a page will pop up, there you can set up basic settings to decide how you want Cloudflare functions.
To decide whether you want to use SSL or the HTTPS function, you need to select the Full option.
Using the feature helps secure your site traffic and also gives your site the green padlock in user’s browsers.
To make this effective you need to restructure your WordPress site URL to use HTTPS if you plan to use Cloudflare’s Full SSL for example https://www.yoursite.com.
You can use other options:
Brotli – acts a server-level compression and serves as an alternative to Gzip, it is recommended you activate it.
We have some WordPress plugins that offer such a feature; it depends on your site need.
After all the changes you then click Done to save
5. Verify that connection is successful
As soon as you click Done, you will see a notification letting you know that you need to finish your nameserver setup.
Like I said earlier, nameservers can take up you 24 hours to finish the update, it is normal to wait until this is completed.
Wait 30 minutes to an hour and then click on the Re-check now to see if the nameservers have updated.
As soon as it is done, you will see a success message.
How to set up Cloudflare using its plugin
Connecting your WordPress site to Cloudflare gives you an option to manage some features from your site admin dashboard directly.
This makes things pretty easier for you as a site owner with easy access to all it has to offer.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use Cloudflare with your site without using the plugin, you can do more from the Cloudflare site.
The Cloudflare plugin gives you the following:
- It gives you quick navigation through features you find in the Cloudflare site directly on your site dashboard.
- Easy ways to configure important settings right and to be able to define how your WordPress site works with Cloudflare generally.
- It gives you to select optimal site speed settings.
To enjoy these benefits you need to integrate your WordPress site using this plugin.
Easy methods to set it up
1. Begin by installing the Cloudflare plugin
To get started you need to install and activate the Cloudflare official plugin which can be found at WordPress.org, you can install it directly from your site dashboard by searching for “Cloudflare”
2. Connect your Cloudflare account
A soon as you activate the plugin, move on by going to Settings -> Cloudflare and then sign in here option:
Fill in the required field by inputting your registered account email address and Cloudflare account API key.
Then, you save by clicking on Save API credentials
3. Start Optimizing
You go on by optimizing your site connection with Cloudflare using the Optimize Cloudflare for WordPress button.
To optimize automatically click Apply to finish Cloudflare settings for your WordPress site.
Now all the basic options will be shown to you directly from your WordPress site dashboard.
All these steps will give you easy navigation through the Cloudflare set up process, with these options you will see a great improvement in your site’s speed.
If you encounter any issues or wanted to add more values, kindly comment below.
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