Tiered Cache performance impact for visitors

Hi everyone, wishing all a happy new year :slightly_smiling_face:.

I have a question regarding Tiered Caching:

  • This topic/post basically verifies my understanding that with Tiered Caching uncached visitor requests pass two Cloudflare servers, the lower-tier serving the visitor and the upper-tier pulling from the origin. Without Tiered Caching uncached requests could involve a single Cloudflare server only which pulls from the origin and serves the visitor.
  • So the immediate question that came to my mind is whether this has a negative impact on how fast the visitor receives uncached data and hence sees the web page.
  • In case the data is cached by the lower-tier, of course nothing changes.
  • In case the data is cached only by the upper-tier, I can only assume that Cloudflare is able to internally transfer faster from upper-tier to lower-tier, compared to pulling from origin, so in this case there should be a performance benefit for the visitor, at least no downside.
  • But there are naturally resources, notably dynamic web pages (e.g. PHP), which cannot or should not be cached at all, which would unnecessarily pass two Cloudflare servers every time, at least from overall efficiency and performance point of view.
  • Or is the internal transfer so fast that it generally has an insignificant effect? Did anyone already do some benchmarks or analysis about this?

If it’s uncached, I doubt the double-hop adds any significant overhead. If it’s cached at a higher tier, it’s much faster to pull it from there than from the origin. If it’s cached locally at the lower tier, then it’s as fast as it gets.

These are not part of the caching process.

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Many thanks for your reply!

Ah, so only cacheable content is affected by this while non-cacheable content is still delivered via a single Cloudflare server?

Then of course, taking into account that the upper-tier will cache content in a much better ratio, there should be an overall performance improvement for visitors for sure, even on low traffic few cacheable-content websites.

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