Why I Stopped Using CloudFlare
CloudFlare is a content delivery network (CDN) that has gained a lot of popularity because of their alleged ability to supercharge your website. A lot of so-called experts (and even some web hosts) claim that implementing CloudFlare can help your site can gain a dramatic amount of boost in terms of speed and security!
Sounds pretty awesome, right?
While that might have been a fact a few years ago, there’s no truth to all of that anymore. It’s all just BS now. To me, CloudFlare is nothing but a buzzword that helps hosts attract customers who want speedy websites (i.e., everyone).
CloudFlare Makes Websites Slower, Not Faster
I used to implement CloudFlare on all my websites and it served its purpose well during the first few years. As CloudFlare became more popular, more and more webmasters used CloudFlare’s free plan. This is when performance started to suffer, and CloudFlare was no longer something that can help speed up your site with just a few clicks.
I noticed that my CloudFlare-enabled sites became much slower and they would often time out. Email notifications from my uptime monitor were common. The emails basically said my sites went down for a few minutes because of a CloudFlare timeout (error 522), and I got these notifs several times a day.
When I dropped CloudFlare, timeouts were a thing of the past and an improvement in terms of speed was apparent! So much for CloudFlare being able to “supercharge” websites…
How About Bandwidth Issues?
CloudFlare never failed to do wonders in terms of saving a ton of bandwidth, but speed and uptime weren’t things I was willing to compromise especially since there are other ways to save bandwidth. Simply implementing my own caching rules helped a lot and it’s been working well for me ever since.
Are you using WordPress and you’d rather not tinker with .htaccess and other settings to implement caching? I recommend you use a plugin such as W3 Total Cache. W3TC is a really powerful caching solution and as far as I know, it has more caching options/settings than CloudFlare. It helps a lot in saving bandwidth AND speeding up your WordPress site!
If you’re really inclined in utilizing a content delivery network to offload bandwidth, I suggest you try MaxCDN , KeyCDN,or Amazon S3. While these are paid providers, I personally think they’re much better than CloudFlare.
Should You Use CloudFlare or Not?
If you’re hosting with a really bad host with toasters as servers (and severely overloaded at that), then you might benefit speed-wise from CloudFlare. However, you should also be looking for a new web host!
If you’re with an excellent host who utilizes a reliable network and knows how to manage their servers well, then I think you’d be better off dropping CloudFlare for good.