Do i need CDN at all?

Hi, wondered if i need CDN at all -
My website is localized and accepting only UK-based customers.
I once tried using CDN - but it was slowing my site loading times in the UK (whic his, again - the only GEO im focusing in).

Currently i would rank my website as mid-high size (over 60 pages with lots of content and images) and it going to be much heavier in the near future.

My question is: should i use any CDN or relay on my hosting servers (which are located in the UK)?
A GRO targeted CDN will make any improvement by performance?

Much appreciate your suggestions,
Roncho

Cloudflare is not a CDN in the strict sense, however it has certain CDN characteristics by passively keeping some of your content within its proxy network.

If you say your server is in the UK and so is your audience, your gain in performance would be probably rather minimal. It does depend on how fast your server responds and on how well it handles concurrent connections, but assuming it is decently configured it should handle that without problems. Furthermore, if it wasn’t you’d still have issues even with Cloudflare as all non-cacheable requests will still hit the origin, though certainly the overall number of requests will be lower because of caching.

The other big question is if you have any traffic limitations as that is an area where Cloudflare’s cache could help keep that number “lower”.

If traffic is of no concern either, the only thing you’d really gain is the security aspect. First of all, your server address will be hidden*) hence that won’t be an attack vector. Secondly you’ll be able to set up your own rules to stop requests from reaching your server in the first place.

You need to take all these things into account before switching to Cloudflare. Cloudflare can improve performance and security but it will still require tweaking some settings and you won’t have a guarantee that things will speed up all that much as a lot depends on your site’s setup.


*) That is, assuming you change your IP address after switching to Cloudflare and not you do not expose the new IP address in any way (unproxied records such as MX or sending emails from your server).

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First i want to thank you for your professional and detailed answer - you made it a bit more clear to me.

My main focus was to get more speed for my site (with focus on mobile) and i thought that if i could “store” my images in a different server i will make my site load much faster.

To be honest - i have zero knowledge on all these technical details, and hence i wanted to ask if there’s any solution that would help me getting more faster website.

Question is - if i do get a UK-based CDN, will it improve my performance in terms of speed?

Much appreciate that once again!

Ron.

Do you currently experience any performance issues? Have you narrowed down to where they occur? If it is, for example, your dynamic content Cloudflare (and for that matter also CDNs) won’t be able to help in the first place.

Hi Sandro, thanks again for your quick replay!
As i mentioned, i have zero knowledge really on this technical side.
i do see some suggestions in a few different site speed checkers like Google dev, GT matrix and Pingdom which says:

  • Use Content Delivery Netword
  • Use Cookie-free domains
  • Compress components with gzip
  • Minimize main-thread work
  • Reduce JavaScript execution time

Much appreciate once again!

Roncho

These are just generic “warnings” and do not bear any real meaning. Just forget about them.

That is very site specific and you best discuss this with your web developer. That topic would be somewhat off-topic for the forum I am afraid.

What you should essentially do is get your site working fine first (performance and security wise) and only then consider Cloudflare. Cloudflare can improve certain things but it won’t work wonders either, particularly if your site does not work very well in the first place.

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Many of these automated tools can become inaccurate in some scenarios, I would not worry too much about them unless you experienced actual issues.

There are some plugins that are specifically built to “bypass” these performance errors and they pretty much build your site to score 100 in most of these checkss, obviously though, in most cases they are built to automatically inline/minify js, css etc but some people just use them to score 100 on these performance score sites. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/module

Its a double edged sword in which optimizing your page may actually make it slower due to “dynamic” optimizations and inlining making your site huge.These modules will definitely make your site faster once cached but if the content to optimize is heavy you could see your resources suffering quite a bit, that’s the reason you may want to use Cloudflare so it does those optimizations for you.

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