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Cloudflare CDN Overview

Cloudflare improves the speed and responsiveness of websites globally by caching frequently requested files and web pages to optimize page load time and reduce latency.

In this article, we will discuss the following topics:


How to Manage Cloudflare

Within the Customer Portal, you can take the following actions to manage Cloudflare on your WordPress websites.

  • Boost speed and performance
  • Clear cache
  • Enable/Disable Cloudflare

Accessing Cloudflare Settings

To access your Cloudflare settings:

  1. Log in to your Customer Portal.
  2. Depending on the number of hosting packages in your account, please follow the steps below.
    • If you have a single hosting package in your account, click Websites in the left-side menu.

      Customer Portal - Websites tab

    • If you have multiple hosting packages in your account, please do the following.
      1. Click Hosting in the left-side menu.

      2. Locate the hosting package where you want to enable/disable Cloudflare, then click its Manage button.

        Hosting tab - Manage button

  3. On the Hosting Plan page, locate your website and then click Settings.

    Hosting Plan page - Settings button

  4. On the next page, click the Speed tab. (Please note that the Speed tab is only available in WordPress websites.)

 

Managing Cloudflare

Under the Speed tab, you'll find the following sections.

Customer Portal - Speed tab

Caching Control

Toggle Caching Control on or off to manage your website's speed and performance. You may also select your preferred caching levels from the dropdown.

Customer Portal - Speed tab - Caching Control

  • Assets Only - Recommended for Ecommerce and websites that update frequently or display information in real time. Cache static assets like images and the appearance of your site for 5 minutes.
  • Assets & Web Pages - Recommended for blogs, educational websites, and sites that update at least weekly. Cache static assets for 6 hours and other web pages for 5 minutes.
  • Assets & Web Pages - Extended - Recommended for portfolios, brochure sites, and sites that update monthly or less often. Cache static assets for 1 week and web pages for 5 minutes.

 

Clear Cache

Click the Clear All button under Clear Cache to clear the cache of all assets and web pages so your site visitor will see the most up-to-date version of your website.

Customer Portal - Speed tab - Clear Cache

 

Clear Cache for a Specific URL

You may want to try clearing the cache of your website URL if your site still doesn't update after publishing the changes. Click the Clear URL button to proceed.

Customer Portal - Speed tab - Clear Cache for Specific URL

 

Cloudflare

  1. Scroll down to the Cloudflare section.
  2. To enable, click on Add Cloudflare.

    Speed tab - Add Cloudflare

    To disable it, click on Remove Cloudflare.

    Speed tab - Remove Cloudflare

  3. A pop-up window will appear requesting confirmation to turn Cloudflare on/off. Click Confirm to proceed.

Pros and Cons of Cloudflare CDN

Advantages

  • Improved site performance - Cloudflare CDN improves text, image, and video content speed, which reduces load time. Quicker load time means a better experience for your users.
     
  • Global content delivery - Cloudflare CDN consists of over 150 edge locations strategically positioned across the globe. These locations cache frequently requested files and web pages to serve optimized web content to visitors from the location closest to them.
     
  • Reduced latency - Cloudflare CDN helps reduce the time a request takes to reach the server and return a web page with locations around the globe. Your content is served up fresh, anytime, anywhere.
     
  • Spam reduction - Cloudflare CDN leverages data from third-party resources to reduce the number of spam comments on your site.
     
  • Lower CPU usage - With Cloudflare CDN, fewer requests will hit our servers, reducing CPU usage attributed to your account.
     
  • Always available - Cloudflare has an offline browsing mode where visitors should still access your site if our server is unavailable.

 

Limitations

  • No option to customize - Currently, you cannot customize cache settings (for example, which content gets cached, the cache timing, etc.) for the CDN.
     
  • Cached content - Cloudflare caches the static content from your site, so while this will reduce the load on the server, it means if you change to an existing static file (like an image), then there may be a delay before the change appears.

Caching

Caching makes your websites faster by storing a copy of the content on the servers of globally distributed data centers. Content can be either static or dynamic: static content is "cacheable" or eligible for caching, and dynamic content is "uncacheable" or ineligible for caching. The cached copies of content are stored closer to users, optimized to be fast, and do not require recomputing.

However, if, in any case, after you publish your website and the changes are not reflected, you can clear the cache, and the files will force Cloudflare to fetch a new version of those files from your web server.


Do I need to change my name servers to use Cloudflare?

If you purchased and registered your domain with HostGator, you can automatically enable Cloudflare. However, if you purchased a domain with another provider, you will need to ensure that your domain is using HostGator name servers. You can reference our guide for more.

Need additional help? Please contact HostGator's Support via phone or chat so we can assist you!
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