Slow ever since connected WordPress site to Cloudflare

My domain is :
My host is : A2Hosting (shared - I understand this is not ideal)
Details : built with Elementor free, OceanWP theme, has some popups with Icegram, using NinjaForms, and got Woo (but not in the first page).
My problem : After swapping to CloudFlare my ‘Fully loaded time’ in GTMetrix went from 5.3 seconds to 11-12 seconds.

I decided to take care of my slow load time the past couple of days.
And according to GTMetrix after deleting some unneeded plugins and using the CleanUp plugin to minimize loading of some files, I managed to get to 5.3 seconds (This is whithout using much optimization, not even images etc).

Later I installed the following plugins for optimization : ShortPixel (for pictures), W3 Cache, and A2 Optimize (which I used to a minimal extend but dont mind deleting).
Those 3 improved my load time by an additional second getting me somewhere areound the 4.4 seconds mark when using the Vancouver server of GTMatrix.

After I connected CloudFlare to my A2Hosting acount and site, changed the DNS of my register to point to CloudFlare, and connected W3 Cache to CloudFlare as well. I saw an insane increase in load time each time I try a new server from GTMetrix (around the 11-12 seconds for the first couple of tests).

My question is : what am I doing wrong? I clearly see in WaterFall that I spend most of my time on “Waiting” but even in that case, I cant entirely blame my Hosting plan since it already provided me with 4.4 seconds so how did I get to 12 now :frowning:

I am new to all this, so please if you got tips for me I would appreciate every detail and steps to achieve 2 seconds to fully load preferably (from first access if possible - if it requires adding money please suggest low budget solutions, this is my first personal business and a POC of sorts).

Best Regards,

Another detail : The site is planned to serve only Russian users atm (meaning mostly inside Russia).
If there is some optimization I can do in my hosting or CloudFlare for this small detail, let me know please (:

I generally don’t use Fully Loaded Time as a valuable metric because some sites defer loading on some non-essential files, and that delays the Full Load. It’s First Paint, or First Meaningful Paint that means more to me – that’s when visitors first see a usable version of your site. In my case, that’s less than 3 seconds, then admin-ajax loads a couple more times, delaying Fully Loaded time.

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