Does it matter how close my origin (Sydney, AU) is to my USA Cloudflare nameservers on FREE plan in AUS (doesn't use Aussie PoPs)?

I noticed Coudflare servers on free tier in Australia are actually hosted on the West coast of the USA. (I tested it myself too using visual trace routes and pings tell the story.).

Hmm, I guess it’s more of a question of where Cloudflare’s nearest Datacenter (for caching static content and fetching dynamic content from the origin) is located instead of namesevers.

I’ve never really given it this much thought till now and I’ve been using Cloudflare since 2012. I knew Cloudflare free wasn’t using Australia PoPs for some time now though.

I get:
Name Server: DUKE.NS.Cloudflare.COM
Name Server: REZA.NS.Cloudflare.COM

pings range from 147.747ms-300ms. (For basic websites, the perceived speed difference isn’t that noticeable though between 30ms and 300ms, but I guess it all adds up - I’ve found poorly written theme code is usually much more slower and hence why I’ve recently bought a new theme that loads under 1.2 seconds).

Any way, I was reading up on railgun (I’m not using it) and it made me think would it help if my origin was located on the west coast of the USA instead (via Google Cloud Platform).

Since users hit CF edges nodes instead?

My understanding is that Cloudflare’s edge nodes still communicate with the server for dynamically changing content like php files in WordPress for each new request, but since Cloudflare’s nameservers are in the USA unless I go with the Pro plan which uses Sydney PoPs. :thinking:

Any ideas? Couldn’t find much on Google about this. I usually keep my origins in Sydney. It would be faster when dealing with the initial setup with raw IP address access to the origin I guess. I might give the Pro plan a shot.

Shocking (no pun intended) how Railgun is Business+ plans only.

Good question on the assigned name servers. I suspect they’re co-located with the edge servers and servers. I’ve not seen documentation on this. Maybe @cloonan or @cs-cf can clarify.

POPs aren’t supposed to be limited by plan level. They’re now supposed to be fully available for all plans, though free plans get lower traffic priority if a local POP is busy. Or so I understand.

You might want to look into Argo for long-distance speedups.

Railgun is good for handling dynamic content, as it only needs to send the diffs. If you’re using WordPress, this is a very good alternative:

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the closer your server is to the cf server, the faster it will be… if your server is in aus, and most of your visitors are hitting cf USA servers, you will gain speed by moving your server to USA

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They’re everywhere, from a 2010 blog -

For Cloudflare to work we needed to build a globally distributed network of DNS servers. When you sign up for Cloudflare we give you two name servers to list with your registrar for your domain. In reality, these two name servers actually point to a whole cluster of many servers distributed in multiple data centers and load balanced (using anycast and other network voodoo) throughout the network.

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Thank you for the responses! Great TTFB link too @sdayman!

My next question is, if I upgrade to the Pro plan, will that give me access to Sydney / Melbourne Australia DCs/Edge Nodes?

This is listed on the Pro plan page:

“Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) Improve latency and performance with location-based access to your website using our 165 data centers located around the globe.” Pro Plan Overview

But I was told it wouldn’t due to the high bandwidth charges to Australia. The Relative Cost of Bandwidth Around the World

I just found these 2 blog posts down below now from a quick Google search. Since caching can mean 2 different things here, I just wanted some clairifcation on how Cloudflare routes and fetches requests when you first set it up without static content caching at the edge nodes.

1. What this blog post down below refers to, it’s not content caching, but requests rerouting to Cloudflare’s servers (when the orange cloud is enabled in the DNS tab) which then go back to the origin to fetch all dynamic content if a static rule isn’t setup for static HTML content.

What does Cloudflare actually cache by default on standard setting? From looking at DevTools, it seems like it stores a copy of all content at 2 of CF’s IP addresses (hosts), but those IP addresses / servers then fetch content there and then from the origin, hence the double slow down there as well.

2. FULL Static HTML/CSS/JS caching with a Page Rule where requests don’t hit back to the origin? (I’ve tried several WordPress static site generators, but none are working with my Page Builder, so I’m relying on Cloudflare here to pull through with full static page caching).

Some more transparency around affected performance in Australia from Cloudflare would have been nice. There’s no mention of which countries are used for the Pro plan, so I’m assuming it’s all countries by that marketing play… can some CF Engineer please confirm before I decide to commit?

I’ve been using Cloudflare for 6 years, I joined with the premise of having a faster site loading experience, but it’s honestly not the case for free users in Australia or neighbouring countries for that fact.

The only real value here is free automatic SSL (which Let’s Encrypt offers too, but I haven’t had the need to set it up since I’ve always used CF) and Page Rule Redirects for www. redirections or http to https is pretty easy (and caching if it works), but that can all be done in Nginx or Apache as well if you have any server admin experience or don’t mind learning.

CF just makes it easy and puts it all in one GUI console place. :slight_smile: Just ironic the performance isn’t there for Australians (at least on free) which is the primary reason of why people use a CDN and it isn’t warned for Australian users when they go to use it.

Thank you.

Also, I assume that will also improve DNS lookup times? I’ve noticed and (they’re using Premium AWS Route 53 DNS) get initial lookup times for their first request around 300-500ms, whereas my site is taking 1.72 seconds (huge TTFB 1.31s) for the first index page to load.



Btw, if anyone’s interested, I did this free video course from a Google Head Performance Engineer, Ilya Grigorik Website Performance Optimization | Free Courses | Udacity He also has a great book out on Browser Networking, but the course gave me a lot of insight into where to start optimising website load speed. CDN and theme/code optimisation are the two main areas. :slight_smile:

Thank you!

Btw, I set a static caching rule with Page Rule to cache everything on my site, but I’m not sure if it’s working or if any speed benefit was delivered. I’ll test it now with a front-end change to my site. I purged cache on my entire site on CF too. (To avoid the edge node going back to my Australian origin server when a user requests a page load - my site is static in nature (no dynamic features yet), but it’s running dynamically from WordPress on GCP in Sydney, AU through Cloudflare USA East Coast DCs). - Still on free tier.

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