One Way to Improve Website Performance

CloudFlare helps Website PerformanceSlow website? Webenso has never had great performance, but adding the social media buttons has really slowed things down. Addressing my website performance has been on my to-do list for a while, so it was perhaps serendipitous that I caught a short presentation from Michelle Zatlyn from CloudFlare last night on improving blog performance.

You do need to care about your website speed. Not only because your users aren’t going to stick around for a website that takes 10 seconds or more to load, but it’s bad for SEO as well. Over a year ago, Google announced they would be taking page load time into account for their ranking algorithms.

CloudFlare originally was conceived as a way to block hacker and spam bot traffic to make your website more secure. Michelle quickly got the feedback that any solution they came up with needed to avoid slowing things down. So CloudFlare now has a dual purpose, it looks for “bad” traffic and filters that away from your website, and it speeds up your website’s performance as well. The CloudFlare approach is a little different than the standard remedies for slow websites, it’s not about changing your javascript to load asynchronously or hosting social media button images or installing caching on WordPress (which are all things you should still consider). What CloudFlare does is become a proxy for your website, it caches your pages and can serve your site from it’s datacenters around the world. So instead of someone from Hong Kong requesting your site from its hosting location in the USA, they will get it from the CloudFlare’s Asian datacenter much quicker. Your website — served from distributed locations from around the world — for free. Cool huh?

I must admit I had a little trepidation in allowing them to take over my DNS zone records, but I’m giving it a shot. I’ll monitor the Google reported site load speed in Webmaster Tools (which due to the social media buttons is reported at 17 seconds!) and see if it makes a difference.

CloudFlare has done a good job of making the setup easy. You will need access to your hosting account to complete it. What CloudFlare will do is read your DNS zone files and create one that you will review. Then you will need to update your nameservers to point to theirs. It takes about 10 minutes. There is a free plan you can use to check them out, and if you want more customization ability, they have paid plans as well.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a traffic and conversion expert specializing in SEO, Copywriting and Facebook Ad Campaigns. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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1 comment
Der_Serverhelfer says August 18, 2011

Great service. I’m using cloudflare on my blog and it works flawless. <3

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