PageSpeed Service & CloudFlare review

Speed Up WordPress with PageSpeed Service or CloudFlare CDN

A while ago I wrote this post on how to speed up your WordPress website. Since then, I’ve tried two more speed tricks which improve user experience and SEO. One is called CloudFlare, the other PageSpeed Service by Google.

I was pleasantly surprised by both. Reasons being they are free, offer extra security measures and indeed speed up websites. Let me show you what they are and how they do it.

CloudFlare

Give us five minutes and we’ll supercharge your website.

CloudFlare is a free CDN (content delivery network) which acts as a proxy between your visitors and the server your website is hosted on. I saw an increase in speed by an average of 5-10% using the free plan, had an average of 5 minutes of downtime weekly and a lot of malicious and spam attacks rejected.

How does CloudFlare work

Setting it up isn’t that straight forward, because you have to rename your DNSs via your host’s admin panel, but it’s not anything too difficult. MediaTemple has a one click setup button, which made it so much easier for us to configure.

Advantages of CloudFlare are:

  • Lowered load on your server – CPU and data usage of your account get lower, because it serves cached content
  • Improved speed – CloudFlare has servers all around the world and the one closest to your visitors is always being used
  • Bot and threat protection – Third party apps in cooperation with CloudFlare are being used to scan and identify malicious threats online and stop the attacks before they even get to your site
  • CloudFlare apps – You can enable extended functionality by using 3rd party modules
  • Comment spam protection – Third party resources reduce the number of spam comments
  • Offline browsing mode – If something happens to your server, CloudFlare should still be able to serve cached version of your website
  • Site Stats – You get crawl statistics for both humans and search engines

CloudFlare has a paid service, too. Paid plans give you more security, apps, faster servers and customer support.

Switching over to Google’s PageSpeed Service. What is it and why haven’t we heard about it yet?

PageSpeed Service

Turbocharge your web site with Google’s PageSpeed Service.

It’s still in beta. You need to sign in with your Google account and you’ll be presented with a Google Console, where you control every API including Page Speed Service. To compare your website speed with and without their service you can check this Comparison Test Tool by Google.

Google API Console Screenshot

PageSpeed Service uses data from PageSpeed Insights to optimize your website. If you haven’t already, you can download Insights for Chrome and Firefox.

PageSpeed Service benefits:

  • Dynamically rewrites webpages – applies performance best practices
  • Serves optimized content via Google servers – reduces load on your servers
  • Reduced perceived page load time – prioritizing portions of content which get served first, so you visitors have better user exeprience browsing your website
  • Security – your website gets security of Google servers
  • Parallel fetch – fewer requests and lower round-trip times
  • Made by Google – works well, good support and expect lots of improvement updates

Setting up Google PageSpeed Service is pretty much the same as configuring CloudFlare. There are some DNSs to be renamed and it’s all easily done through 3-step process.

The problem I find with the service is, while it’s easy to setup, it’s – limited free trial. There’s no rumor on how long this free trial blessing from Google will last.

The complete list of PagesSpeed Service FAQs can be found here.


We tried both “turbocharge” and “supercharge” services running simultaneously on our WordPress blog and we didn’t experience any issues, but there were not big speed improvements either. I might try using one of the paid CDN solutions out there. Maybe Pingdom score gets even higher. I found it much reliable and more consistent than any other pagespeed tool, including Google’s Speed Comparison Tool.

Both services might have issues with image search. Because images are being served from another location and if you have a lot of them, your traffic from image search might drop, but the most recent rumor is that the problem has been fixed. Don’t forget to check other ways of speeding up WordPress following performance best practices and using .htaccess.

Have you had any experience with PageSpeed Service or CloudFlare on your WordPress website? If so, tell us your thoughts. Which one’s faster, better or more reliable for you?

note: While free services have their advantages, some of the drawbacks would be inconsistency and mediocre customer support. That’s why we use MaxCDN, so if you’re willing to step it up a notch, you can ensure fast loading times even when your server is down. Learn more about MaxCDN.

Dragan Nikolic
I am the SEO & social media guy here at ThematoSoup, sharing tips on how to simplify your online business and make it more manageable.
Dragan Nikolic

@NikolicDragan

Co-founder of @ThematoSoup interested in #minimalism, #WordPress and #marketing.
RT @neilpatel: How to Personalize Your Ads and Landing Pages Using Dynamic Text Replacement #PPC #paidads https://t.co/pzi2ZEgpul https://t… - 2 days ago
Dragan Nikolic
Dragan Nikolic

45 thoughts on “Speed Up WordPress with PageSpeed Service or CloudFlare CDN

  1. Hey there Dragan, thanks for the (mt) Media Temple mention! If you ever need anything from us, we’re here 24/7 via phone, chat and Twitter. We also have a great WordPress evangelist available on Twitter: @mt_suzette. :)

    Drew J
    MediaTemple.net
    @MediaTemple

  2. Hi! I’ve tested speedup on my site (works with WordPress) and it works great… I’m at DreamHost. After reading your article, I have signed with CloudFlare and (nearly) activated its free service.

    Before activating it I read the article about CloudFare and AdSense issues and decided not to go ahead because I have AdSense and don’t want it to be missed…

    Thanks for the article!

        1. I have PageSpeed Service running on this website and I’ve deactivated CloudFlare.

          To me it seems CloudFlare works faster for European visitors and overall, but when I choose US as a testing location, then PageSpeed works better.

          Anyways, I’m glad you got one of them to work.

  3. Nice Article. I’ve never had much luck out of free CDN, there are just too many costs associated with it to do it well for “free” for many people :-)

    I guess if you look at it 5 minutes downtime a week isn’t bad. Really just depends on your needs.

    Blake

    1. Blake,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I saw no downside in testing free CDNs, well, apart from the time it takes to set them up. If you find some, test either of these two, you’ll be surprised.

      By the way, I hear you when you say “… too many costs associated with it to do it well for free…”. CloudFlare tries to sell you their support and 3rd party apps (modules) and Google, we all know how they use gathered website information.

  4. Thanks, Dragan, for the great article. I haven’t used a CDN before, so I’m looking for reviews about CloudFlare. I’m interested in it not only for the speed but also for the security. Do you have any thoughts on CloudFlare’s security?

    1. Thanks. I haven’t had the need for their security services, since we use Wordfence security plugin on this website, but I know CloudFlare’s security is “on” by default and you don’t have to configure a whole lot of things. It filters out all known malicious IPs.

  5. I’ve been using CloudFlare for awhile now. I have not had any issues with Adsense so far as I can tell. I do not use the Google offer though. I figure the less I run the better for my own site :) Great review of a fantastic free service.

    1. Jason, so sorry for the late reply; just saw it. it seems that CloudFlare fixed the issue with AdSense several months ago, so that’s good news.

      I agree with your logic, the less things you run the better for your website. We now also run only CloudFlare and it works great.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

    1. To be honest, I have no idea. I know their paid plans differ a lot from the free ones, but maybe you could ask them.

      … and please reply here if you get the answer, I too would like to know.

    1. AdSense works well with CloudFlare and Rocket Loader, you just turn off the Rocket Loader only for AdSense, and leave other by default. To do this, place

      data-cfasync="false"

      before

      type="text/javascript

      on every AdSense code you have.

      I hope this will help you. :)

  6. I believe the problem with Adsense has to do with Rocket Loader.
    I had the same issue 2-3 years ago but since de-activaed Rocket Loader.
    I have had no problems since but after failing withn MaxCDN I am allways searching better than Cloudflare.
    I still find the Cloudflare plugin slows page speed with Pingdom test.

    1. You’re right, Rocket Loader showed some compatibility issues with AdSense, so deactivating it should fix those. Tell us if you find the optimum performance solution in the near future.

  7. I wrote an article on how to speed up your website with CloudFlare and mix that together with W3 Total Cache plugin it really rocks (http://spazlport.com/tech/w3-total-cache-settings-2013-shared-hosting-best-performance/) I like your method really too, however if you defer parsing java-script so it loads later with the caching plugin it works better that way than using cloudflares minify or rocket loader. I would use rocket loader for other scripts than WordPress.

  8. Like others, almost one week ago, I configured my blog on CloudFlare (free) and it’s working perfectly. Google Pagespeed Insights shows a good score and other tools also like Pingdom and Webpagetest. So far I am happy and there has been no issues! And thank for your nice balance comparison of both services :)

    1. CDN is a Content Delivery Network, not a plugin. CloudFlare is a free CDN you can setup with any website you use. I believe W3 Total Cache plugin for WordPress has several options for configuring CloudFlare, but nothing which you cannot already do from within CloudFlare’s dashboard.

  9. I am currently using Cloudflare, and planning to move to PageSpeed, but problem is PageSpeed does not support bare domains.
    That’s why I am hesitating a bit.

  10. Pingback:

    提高WordPress网站安全的全面方法 - 五维空间

  11. Yeah, it looks great until you read the terms of service.

    “CloudFlare reserves the right to investigate you, your business, and/or your owners, officers, directors, managers, and other principals, your sites, and the materials comprising the sites at any time. These investigations will be conducted solely for CloudFlare’s benefit, and not for your benefit or that of any third party.”

    Plus they talk about the right to add ads, and do just about anything they please to your website. While they keep the sole remaining right to shut off the service at any time without notice.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

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