How to Setup CloudFlare free CDN with Your WordPress Website

Are you looking for a definitive guide on how to setup CloudFlare CDN for your WordPress site?

No one likes a slow loading speed website – not the user nor the search engine. However, there are tons of things like images, database optimizations, and plugins etc. that take part in speeding up and down the website. When it comes to speed and security a CDN is the best solution that you must utilize.

The common misconception among rookies that setting up a CDN requires a lot of work but fortunately, almost every web host integrates the CloudFlare CDN option in their control panel that you can setup using their setup wizard. Furthermore, in the second method, we will share a more manual way and using that you can set up CloudFlare CDN on regardless of what web host you are using.

What is CloudFlare CDN and its Benefits?

CDN is a short form of a content delivery network. There are many CDN services available in the market and CloudFlare is one of them. If you are searching a free CDN services CloudFlare is the best services to make use of.

It is a network of servers around the world and whenever someone accesses your site it delivers the cached data from the nearest location to that user. In this way, the data take less time to travel to the user. Because using a CDN host your site data on a worldwide network of datacenters instead of a single server so it significantly improves your site loading time.

Another thing that stands out CloudFlare CDN that they are using cloud base website firewall and proxy server that means it monitors all the incoming traffic coming to your website and so to block the suspicious traffic. It is an effective system against DDos attack and malicious traffic that enforcing them to manually enter the captcha before they land on your site.

As the CloudFlare CDN blocks the malicious bots by flagging malicious IPs so another benefit that it delivers you is in the form of resource-saving. Your server resources like bandwidth won’t be wasted on that useless malicious traffic.

Cloudflare free CDN is an outstanding choice for blogs and small businesses. However, by getting a premium plan you will get enhanced performance optimized especially for mobile devices. Their paid plans start at $20/month.

As we mention before using Cloudflare CDN with your WordPress website is super easy. Here in this guide, we will cover 2 methods that how you can set up Cloudflare through a web host control panel and a manual approach that will work with every web host. So if for some reason your web host does not feature a CloudFlare CDN you can easily use CloudFlare with your site using 2nd approach.

So let’s go ahead on the guide steps for setting up Cloudflare CDN and see how it affects your website.

How to Setup CloudFlare CDN with Your WordPress Website

Approach 1: Installing Cloudflare via your Hosting control panel

  • First of all login to your hosting control panel that is usually cPanel. Bluehost is a popular web hosting and their hosting plan comes with cPanel. Login to the cPanel Looks for the “CloudFlare” icon which is usually present under the domain section.

bluehost cloudflare CDN

  • In order to setup Setup Cloudflare first you need to create an account. So go to Cloudflare website click on sign up. Don’t worry it’s a free account you don’t have to pay even a single penny.
  • Put in your working email and password and then hit the Create Account button.
  • Now go back to your hosting cPanel. Click on the CloudFlare icon and put in the details that you used while signing up.
  • You will then redirect to the Cloudflare setting page. Just click on the “activate” link showing next to your domain name.

As Google said that SSL gives your site a small SEO advantage so now not just ecommerce is utilizing an SSL certificate but it becomes essential for every website. The noticeable thing here that the SSL certificate provided by your web host is not compatible with the free Cloudflare account. However, the good thing is that Free CloudFlare also comes with an SSL certificate so you need to opt CloudFlare SSL.

After activating Cloudflare, your web hosting company will take care of the rest of the settings. You can anytime view the CloudFlare statistics. Further, if you want to make any changes you like caching level, Minification, and security setting, etc. you can do so directly from your cPanel.

Setting up CloudFlare using SiteGround hosting control panel

SiteGround is another well-known name meeting the needs of a large number of people. If you are using SiteGround which is an excellent web host that we strongly recommend for individual blogs or for business sites. Besides premium technologies the thing that gives us peace of mind are their support services.

Previously SiteGround provides cPanel with their hosting account but recently they have migrated to a new control panel.

Login to your SiteGround control panel. You can find the Cloudflare under the Speed tab. Click on “Cloudflare” and then “SET UP” button.

siteground cloudflare setup

A popup will appear with a message either create a new account or connect the existing one if you have. If you don’t then just create an account and then you will see CDN activation is in progress. As soon as it completes the Cloudflare CDN will be active on your WordPress website.

Approach 2: Manually Setting Up Cloudflare on your WordPress website

This option is for those if your web hosting company does not feature 1-click Cloudflare installation. Using this approach setting up Cloudflare is also easy but it includes few more steps. So let’s begin

  • In order to connect Cloudflare with your website, you need to create an account with Cloudflare website.

cloudflare signup

  • Type in the email and password for creating a new account.

create an account with cloudflare

  • Next just type your website and after that, they will ask you to pick a plan. Just go with Free and click.

adding website to cloudflare

  • Next, you will be asked to select a plan. For the tutorial, we pick a free plan here. And then hit the “Confirm plan” button.

cloudflare plan selection

  • After that, Cloudflare will start automatic scanning and present you with a list of DNS settings that you need to verify. Don’t worry its simple. If the proxy status next to the DNS record shows an orange cloud icon that means the DNS record enabled with Cloudflare. And if the cloud icon is grey that means DNS record won’t be passed through Cloudflare.

Here mostly you don’t need to change anything. Just make sure it is enabled for your domain (orange cloud icon) and deactivated for other things like ftp, mail, etc. (grey cloud icon).

verify DNS to enable cloudflare

  • Once you have verified the DNS record click on the “Continue” button.
  • Next is the final step where Cloudflare asks you to update your nameservers. They provide you Cloudflare nameservers. You need to paste these nameservers in your domain registrar settings (where you buy your domain name which may or may not the company where you purchase hosting account.)

Note: After changing nameservers it takes up to 24 hours to propagate over the internet. During this, there are chances that your site may not accessible for some users however usually it works fine.

For changing nameservers you need to login to the account where you registered the domain. Here we take the example of NameCheap.

  • So if you also have a domain with NameCheap login to your account.
  • Go to the “Domain List” tab. There you will see the “NAMESERVERS” section. Make sure you select Custom DNS and then paste the nameservers provided by Cloudflare.

changing nameservers in namecheap

  • After changing the nameservers head back to your Cloudflare account. Go to the “Overview” section there you will find the Re-check now This will perform an immediate nameserver check.

Setting Up Cloudflare Plugin in your WordPress

Cloudflare has designed an official plugin that offers easy access to Cloudflare features. By using this plugin you can quickly purge the cache, set web application rules and more. So it means you don’t need to login to Cloudflare because plugin provides you the capability to manage Cloudflare features directly from the WordPress dashboard.

So go ahead install and activate Cloudflare plugin.

Upon activation, the Cloudflare will appear in your WordPress dashboard Settings >> Cloudflare.

Once you click they will present you a page asking “Create Your Free Account” or Sign in if you already have an account. Simply click on sign in.

Next, they will ask you to enter the email and API key.

You can find the API on the Cloudflare website in your account area. You need to copy the Global API Key.

cloudflare API key

Once you click on “View” a popup will appear asking you to enter your password. After putting in the password they will present an API key.

API key

Now head back to the WordPress dashboard enter the email address and API key.

  • After that Cloudflare setting page will appear. In order to enable the Cloudflare 1-click optimization for WordPress click on the “Apply” button.
  • We recommend enabling “Automatic Cache Management”. This permits the Cloudflare to automatically eradicate the old cache version of your site whenever you update your site.
  • In the settings menu, there are some useful options to configure as you want.
  • The “Analytics” contains information like how many threats blocked by Cloudflare, bandwidth saved and visitors, etc.

Some Crucial Settings that you should look at:

Automatic HTTPS

If you are are going to use Cloudflare mainly for the sake of SSL certificate this option is for you. Using this all http:// links will convert to https://

Always Online

This is one of the cool features of Cloudflare. Turning this option ON will serve your visitors a cached version of your website when your hosting server goes down. So it is recommended to turn this ON.

Under attack mode

Only enable this mode when your site is under attack. By turning on this mode every visitor will see an interstitial page for around 5 seconds. You should make use of this feature while your website under DDoS attack.

Development Mode

This option is given under the settings page. If you are on the Cloudflare website you can on/off this option under the Caching page. When you enable this mode it means you want to bypass the Cloudflare cache so that you can see the changes in real-time. You should use these options when you are making some design changes or some development work.

Security Level

By default usually, this setting is at medium level. So what does it means? The Cloudflare will display a captcha to visitors to most threating visitors as well as moderate level threat visitors. Cloudflare being overcautious in this aspect.

So keeping it on a medium level might not be good for you. As when the people visit your site and they see a captcha if might be annoying for them to solve it every time they visit your site. So we suggest you keep it at a low level.

Conclusion

So if you are searching for a package that will make your site more secure and fast Cloudflare is an excellent thing to utilize. And the surprising part is that its free version is really useful for making the difference. So if you want to save your precisions bandwidth or frequently under attacks we recommend you to make use of Cloudflare.

Furthermore, everyone wants to rank high in search engine results. Google gives a slight advantage to websites using SSL Cloudflare to make it possible for you even without investing a single penny.

We hope this guide helps you to set up Cloudflare. We try to explain everything in simple words however if you still have any confusion feel free to ask us by dropping a comment below.

Wayne Robinson
 

Wayne is an enthusiast web hosting and server management expert with over 8 years of experience dealing with different kinds of hosting companies. He is also familiar with web hosting technical stuff and server optimizations and shares thorough, well-tested reviews and guides on the same domain.

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