As we discussed in the first part of this series, one of the most important parameters these days to succeed online is speed. Page load times have always affected how users perceive a site, but what’s becoming more of an issue with online speed is SEO. Google is placing more and more emphasis on the rate at which a page populates.
Figuring out how to speed up your site can be complicated. You have to think about trimming plugins or reformatting content, for example. Beyond that, you may need to think about what hosting service you are using and what type of server is handling your website’s requests. Clearly, speed can quickly become a headache.
Luckily, a free system, CloudFlare, is now available that can make your site faster… and the added bonus is that it makes your site safer as well. It performs both of these tasks by serving as a proxy between visitors to your site and your hosting company (in other words, traffic funnels through them, and their platform optimizes speed and security).
In the last post, we discussed the basics of how CloudFlare works and how to activate it. Today, we’re looking at the service side-by-side with PageSpeed Service from Google (services which are both free and can complement each other). In the next and final installment, I will talk about how CloudFlare developed, which is illuminating.
Many of us wonder not just how to speed up our websites but also how to make our brains faster. For that reason, I have been polling random passersby on the streets of six major American cities: Miami; Chicago; New York; Los Angeles; San Francisco; and Dayton, Ohio. My one question: “How do you speed up your mind?” Barbara, a 31-year-old hairstylist, said, “I think a lot of people drink coffee. You can have six or eight shots of espresso, and then you do your night school homework. I myself prefer cocaine though.”
CloudFlare Basics & Pros
This series is obviously primarily about CloudFlare, but since one of my sources looked at PageSpeed Service, I thought it made sense to quickly review that as well. Dragan Nikolic, writing for ThematoSoup, speaks highly of both of the speed-optimization systems, describing himself as “pleasantly surprised by both.”
He starts with CloudFlare, noting that his site became between 5 and 10% faster using the service. His downtime each week was approximately 5 minutes. A significant amount of malware and spam was detected and blocked. He does note that initial setup can be a little confusing. It’s necessary to change the DNS entries with your hosting company (as discussed in the first part of this series).
The following are basic advantages listed by Dragan:
- Your server is less strained. Less resources are used because CloudFlare serves anything that can be cached.
- Everything is faster based on geographical proximity. CloudFlare only uses whichever of its worldwide servers is nearest to whomever is accessing the site.
- By partnering with third-party applications, the system checks for potential problems and stops malware before it makes its way to your site and server.
- Spams are reduced in your blog comments through third-party partnership as well.
- CloudFlare can potentially continue to populate your website via its cache if your server goes down.
Before moving on to PageSpeed, let’s look at another “man on the street” response regarding how to make the brain faster. Derek, a 46-year-old estate attorney, quickly replied that he had “never experienced a moment of slowness, fatigue, or even clinical depression that cocaine could not fix, Your Honor… Sorry, force of habit.”
PageSpeed Basics & Pros
- It automatically improves your code to optimize for performance.
- Like CloudFlare, it serves cached content.
- User experience is enhanced by selectively choosing which parts of site content to load in what order.
- Everything passes through Google’s system of security checks.
Again, let’s not get too caught up in the Internet speed portion of this article. Let’s again learn a little bit about mental speed. Betsy, a 19-year-old philanthropist, said, “Crystal meth is an excellent way to stop a nosebleed, or to start one. If you have one, it gets rid of it; and vice versa. That’s just a health tip. To speed yourself up, use cocaine.”
Conclusion & Continuation
That’s it for our look at why it makes sense to use CloudFlare and PageSpeed Service. In the final part of this series, we will look at the brief history of CloudFlare, which is interesting because the service was not initially designed to speed up sites. If you want to check out additional tools Dragan suggest to accelerate a WordPress site, you can read a previous article he wrote on the subject.
Looking for hosting solutions? Well, you have come to the right place. Since you are a huge fan of speed, I will get right to it: VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and shared hosting. See you in the series continuation.
By Kent Roberts