Since we started using the CloudFlare (free plan) on a few sites a few months ago, it’s greatly reduced comment spam and contact form spam. According to our CloudFlare dashboard, it’s also blocked many botnet zombies and other threats, reducing the risk of sites being hacked. It also serves as a CDN (content delivery network), but sites were fast enough before, so there wasn’t a noticeable speed improvement.
Here’s how we set up CloudFlare for a WordPress site. The steps you need to follow may differ.
- Create or sign into your CloudFlare account.
- Add your website. CloudFlare imports the DNS records.
- Review the DNS records. Enable CloudFlare for the root domain (example: optimwise.com) and the www A record. Click the cloud icons to enable (orange) or disable (gray).
- Choose settings.
- Plan: Free
- Performance: CDN + Basic Optimizations
- Security: Medium
- Change your name servers with your DNS provider.
- Log into your WordPress site and install the CloudFlare plugin.
- In your WordPress admin menu, click Plugins > CloudFlare. Enter your API key and email address.
The Dashboard in your CloudFlare account displays analytics and threats.
Because the CloudFlare CDN provides caching, you may notice that some changes (such as CSS changes) don’t immediately take effect. You can put CloudFlare in Development Mode to temporarily disable caching (for up to 3 hours). In the WordPress plugin (Plugins > CloudFlare), set Development Mode to On. Alternatively, log into CloudFlare and on the Websites page, use the Development Mode button there, or use the Pause CloudFlare button to deactivate CloudFlare indefinitely.
Many hosts allow you to enable CloudFlare from within cPanel. We tried this, but found that it only works if your domain begins with “www”. To leave “www” off and use your root domain (like http://optimwise.com), you need to go directly to CloudFlare rather than going through the host. References: Media Temple, CloudFlare blog (comments), DreamHost blog (comments).
If your site uses SSL, you won’t be able to use the free plan. You’ll need to upgrade to one of the paid plans.
Have you used CloudFlare? What are your thoughts? Do you need help adding CloudFlare to your WordPress site? Contact us!