Has Cloudflare stopped working with MediaWiki sites?


#1

Hi all,

I have a MediaWiki site that was set up with some basic rules (3) on a free Cloudflare account that I have had for years (with no problem). And everything worked fine until about 30 hours ago. Then suddenly my site started to have problems. A simple thing like the User Preferences page would not load correctly. (Usually there are 6 tabs but now, with Cloudflare active, there were no tabs.) Many extensions failed to load. And so on.

I tried many solutions, tested different rules, cleared the Cloudflare cache numerous times, contacted my hosting service (RoseHosting.com) and let them investigate the problem on Cloudflare. In the end, the only thing that worked to fix the problem was to pause the Cloudflare service. Even with no rules applied, just routing traffic over the Cloudflare server would break my site (as described above). So it really looks like the problem is here on Cloudflare… unless something very bizarre is happening over at my hosting provider (RoseHosting.com) which seems unlikely.

So I am wondering whether Cloudflare still works correctly with MediaWiki sites. I don’t see how it could just be my site that is having an issue, but - even if so - neither I nor the RoseHosting technicians have any other ideas on how to fix this Cloudflare-related problem. For now, my only recourse seems to be to reluctantly disable all of my Cloudflare services (putting my site on Pause). Of course this is not something I want to do, because it reduces the speed of my site. Can anyone think of a possible solution that has not already been described above?


#2

I don’t have a Wiki site to test, but did you try taking a look in your browser’s Dev Tools pane for Console errors?


#3

Hi sdayman,

Thanks for the reply. I did look in my browser’s Dev Tools pane for
console errors but did not notice anything out of the ordinary. Of
course, I might not have examined what I should have or understood
some indicator of an error. But what I did do was notice the exact
same problem in two different browsers: Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft
Edge. If the problem is happening in two different browsers that is
alarming and problematic. FWIW, I did notice that in the old and
somewhat outdated Internet Explorer, the problem does not occur.


#4

Hi there. I haven’t used MediaWiki in quite a while but I am familiar with it a bit. As you’re no-doubt aware it’s pretty complex and there is a lot of caching going on at various levels. However, based on your investigation (thanks for being so detailed) it sounds like your installation is solid and the issue lies on the Cloudflare configuration side - perhaps related to cache control.

Could you provide some more detail about the page rules you are/were using? They’re most likely playing a critical role - though I have no idea why they would suddenly stop working…


#5

Hi Andy,

Well, that’s the odd thing. Even after playing around with different
page rules and ultimately disabling all page rules and all
caching, the problem still occurs. In other words, it’s not enough for
me to disable all my rules, go into Development Mode, and finally
clear my cache. – As long as traffic to my site goes over the
Cloudflare server, the problem still occurs. – The only way I’ve
found to stop the problem from happening is to go one step further and
put Cloudflare on Pause altogether (in the Advanced options on the
Overview page). An alternative that worked but seems to do the same
thing is to disable Cloudflare for my domain on the DNS page.


#6

PROBLEM SOLVED: Stephen K from Cloudflare Support replied to me within a matter of hours with the solution. Very impressive response time, much shorter than I anticipated. He correctly identified the problem and gave me the solution.

I suspect the issue is related to Rocket Loader. Rocket Loader is in beta mode, so some bugs are expected. I suggest that you turn Rocket Loader off and see if the issue persists.

To turn off Rocket Loader, go to Cloudflare.com > Speed > Rocket Loader > Off

Again, thanks to sdayman and andy, who both took the time to offer suggestions. Case closed. :smile:


#7

Do you mind sharing the setup? I use MediaWiki since 2008. I’ve been trying to use Cloudflare with my site, but all I read is that it wouldn’t work, because MediaWiki can’t clean CF cache. Any recommendations? Thanks!


#8

wm1, the Cloudflare support staff amazed me with their prompt and competent support for someone like me with a free account. The problem I was having related to a beta feature, Rocket Loader. I don’t know if that feature now works okay with MediaWiki or not. Beyond that, the key to using Cloudflare effectively lies in the rules that you set. The three rules that have been recommended for WikiMedia by various sources I’ve seen… the three rules that I use without problem and hopefully with some benefit… are:

  1. [your domain]/wiki/Special* Cache Level: Bypass
  2. [your domain]/wiki/* Cache Level: Standard
  3. [your domain]/images/* Cache Level: Cache Everything

Of course, if you have more available rules, you can tweak those standard rules or add additional rules to speed up your site still more. But that would depend on the way in which your site is structure, additional directories that are linked, and so on.