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A Guide to Cloudflare Polish: Features & Benefits

Updated on May 12, 2023

11 Min Read
Cloudflare Polish

In today’s digital era, optimizing images for website performance is crucial. High-resolution screens and captivating content are the norm, making it essential to ensure that images are optimized to improve page load speed, boost websites’ SEO ranking, and enhance user experience.

With the ever-increasing demand for faster page load speeds and superior user experiences, image optimization tools have become universal. These powerful tools employ various techniques, including reducing image resolution, applying compression algorithms, eliminating metadata, and leveraging caching.

Their ultimate aim?

To shrink image sizes while preserving exceptional quality.

Luckily, a remarkable solution in the realm of image optimization exists: Cloudflare Polish. This all-encompassing offering from Cloudflare is designed to address the diverse needs of websites seeking optimal performance.

In this article, we will explore Cloudflare Polish, uncovering its inner workings and impressive features. Furthermore, we will explore why selecting Cloudflare Polish for enterprise websites can prove advantageous. Finally, we’ll take a closer look at whether investing in Cloudflare image optimization is really worth the extra cost.

Overview of Cloudflare Polish Features

Compression Method Compression Percentage
Lossless About 26% reduction compared to PNG
Lossy About 17% reduction compared to JPEG
Lossy (WebP) Three times smaller than comparable PNGs

As useful as Cloudflare Polish is, it is not available on the Free plan, unfortunately. It is only available on the Pro, Business, and Enterprise plans.

If you get the Enterprise plan from Cloudflare directly, you’ll have to contact them to get custom pricing options. However, if you get the Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise add-on, you can get Cloudflare Polish and many more Enterprise Features for just $4.99/domain.

Boost Your Website’s Speed with Cloudflare Polish!

Optimize your images and turbocharge your website’s performance. Experience faster page loads and improved user engagement. Get Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise today!

What Is Cloudflare Polish?

Cloudflare Polish is an image optimization solution that offers effortless optimization with just a single click.

By removing metadata and using lossy or lossless compression techniques to minimize the size of the photos on your website, it optimizes them seamlessly, accelerating the speed at which images are downloaded.

For those who don’t know, removing metadata is the process of deleting extra data that is present in image files but cannot be seen with the human eye, such as camera settings, GPS location, and device information.

The more optimized the image, the faster it’ll load.

Understanding Cloudflare Polish Compression

Cloudflare Polish optimizes images using conversion methods like:

  • Lossy and Lossless Compression
  • WebP Conversion

Now, let’s take a closer look at these compression methods to understand how they contribute to improved website load times.

Lossless and Lossy Compression

When setting up Cloudflare Polish, you have two modes to choose from: Lossless and Lossy. Let’s see what each of them does.

Explanation of lossless and lossy compression

Lossless: This option removes metadata like EXIF data without altering the image detail. In simpler terms, an uncompressed lossless image is exactly the same as the original. On average, it reduces file size by about 21%.

Lossy: The Lossy option strips metadata and compresses images by around 15%. When uncompressed, some redundant information from the original image is lost. On average, using Lossy mode reduces file size by approximately 48%.

before and after polish

Source: Cloudflare

Choosing between the two modes can be challenging, so we recommend testing both. According to Cloudflare, there is no loss in image quality from Lossy. But if your industry demands the highest image quality, opting for lossless compression is best.

How Cloudflare Polish uses both compression methods?

When it comes to image compression, there are two main methods to consider: lossless and lossy compression.

Lossless compression:

Lossless compression removes EXIF data from GIF, PNG, and JPEG files. But remember, only GIF and PNG files undergo lossless compression because JPEG files are naturally lossy.

Lossless compression effectively reduces an image’s file size without compromising visible quality by removing metadata and encoding shortcuts for repeating pixel sequences.

It retains the highest quality compared to other algorithms and is ideal for archival purposes and visual arts, such as photography and graphic design. However, it has a narrower range of applications than other compression methods, limiting its availability.

Lossy compression:

Lossy compression removes EXIF data from GIF, PNG, and JPEG files, but compression is only applied to JPEG files. Interestingly, Lossy has the same effect as Lossless when applied to PNG files.

Lossy compression also significantly reduces an image’s file size but at the expense of some data loss and potential degradation in quality, including color banding and loss of edge clarity.

However, in many cases, it offers the benefit of smaller file sizes (sometimes under 10 KB) and acceptable image quality.

Remember that lossy compression is irreversible, meaning the effects cannot be undone later. Despite these drawbacks, it remains a popular choice for web optimization due to its positive impact on site performance.

WebP Conversion

WebP is a modern image format that brings remarkable compression capabilities to the table. It outshines both PNG and JPEG formats in terms of file size reduction.

WebP’s lossless images are about 26% smaller than PNGs, while its lossy images are roughly 17% smaller than JPEGs.

The good thing is that WebP is compatible with all browsers except Internet Explorer and KaiOS. So, if you’re looking to optimize image sizes, WebP is definitely worth considering.

Explanation of WebP format and its advantages

WebP images offer significant benefits. Lossless compression in WebP format leads to images that are 26% smaller than comparable PNGs and 25-34% smaller than JPEGs while maintaining a similar quality index. Additionally, lossless WebP images support transparency with minimal additional bytes.

WebP also provides a lossy compression option, making file sizes three times smaller than comparable PNGs.

The advantages of adopting the WebP format are many. Here are the advantages of using the WebP format:

  • Improved website performance: WebP images are lighter than JPEG and PNG, resulting in faster page loading times.
  • Bandwidth savings: WebP reduces the amount of data that needs to be transmitted, freeing up bandwidth and enabling a richer media experience on websites.
  • Enhanced search engine optimization (SEO): Google’s Core Web Vitals recommendations explicitly suggest using modern image formats like WebP, which can positively impact SEO efforts.
  • Higher image quality: WebP allows high-quality images without sacrificing loading speed.
  • Support for additional image features: WebP format supports transparency and animation, providing flexibility for creative designs and visual effects.

Why Choose Cloudflare Polish for Enterprise Websites

Over 60% of a webpage’s size is typically occupied by images. If your website contains numerous images, Cloudflare Polish offers a solution to optimize them, reducing their size for quicker loading.

As mentioned earlier, you can compress images with either lossy or lossless compression with Cloudflare Polish. Moreover, Polish supports WebP conversion and is accessible from the PRO plan onwards, providing an advanced level of image optimization for your enterprise website.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of a JPG image with WebP.

jpg file vs compressed webp

The image above demonstrates that WebP images are 15.8% smaller than standard JPG images. This significant reduction in size alone provides a compelling reason to opt for Cloudflare Polish when it comes to optimizing your website.

Advantages of Using Cloudflare Polish for Enterprise Websites

Cloudflare Polish offers many advantages for enterprise websites, including superior image optimization and accelerated loading speeds.

To provide you with a clearer understanding of its benefits, here are some of the core advantages it brings to the table:

1. Improved website performance and user experience

By leveraging Cloudflare Polish, enterprise websites can achieve unparalleled performance levels. With its advanced image optimization techniques, the loading speed of web pages is significantly improved, leading to a seamless and enjoyable user experience.

2. Faster website load times and reduced bounce rates

With Cloudflare Polish, loading times are optimized to the maximum, ensuring that visitors to your enterprise website experience lightning-fast performance. This reduces bounce rates and increases user engagement, ultimately driving higher conversion rates and overall success.

3. Reduced bandwidth usage and server costs

Cloudflare Polish employs efficient compression algorithms to reduce the size of images without compromising their quality. By minimizing bandwidth consumption, it not only accelerates website performance but also helps reduce server costs, making it a cost-effective choice for enterprises.

4. Increased SEO rankings and search visibility

Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for the success of any enterprise website. Cloudflare Polish is crucial in improving SEO rankings by enhancing website performance. Faster load times contribute to better search engine rankings and increased visibility, allowing your enterprise to stand out in the digital landscape.

With Cloudflare Polish’s superior image optimization and accelerated loading speeds, enterprise websites gain a competitive edge, delivering exceptional user experiences, reducing costs, and improving search engine visibility.

Is Cloudflare Image Optimization Worth the Additional Cost?

When deciding whether Cloudflare Image Optimization is a worthwhile investment, it’s important to consider the cost and the benefits it offers. Here’s why it stands out as a fast and easy solution for optimizing your images:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Cloudflare provides different pricing plans to suit various needs. Their Free plan is suitable for personal or hobby projects, while the Pro plan, priced at $20/month billed annually or $25/month billed monthly, is designed for professional websites. The Business plan, priced at $200/month billed annually or $250/month billed monthly, targets small businesses. For enterprise-level applications, Cloudflare offers custom pricing options.
  • Benefits of Image Optimization: Cloudflare Image Optimization brings numerous advantages, including reduced image file sizes without compromising quality. This leads to faster loading times and improved website performance. By optimizing your images, you can enhance the user experience, reduce bandwidth usage, and potentially lower server costs.
  • Convenience and Ease of Implementation: Activating Cloudflare Image Optimisation is a simple procedure that can be completed in your Cloudflare account with only a few clicks. There is no need for further configuration, source server modifications, or web server modifications. Additionally, installing plugins or extensions is unnecessary for CMS integration, making it a hassle-free deployment.

So overall, if you ask me, I would say Cloudflare Image Optimization is definitely worth it. The best part, you can get this feature for much cheaper if you go for the Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise add-on.

I’ll tell you about it in just a bit.

Why Get Cloudways and Cloudflare Enterprise Together (Value for Money)

Cloudways recently introduced the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on, which offers cutting-edge technology and infrastructure on the Cloudways Platform. The content optimization features are particularly noteworthy among the many features of the add-on.

One of these features is automatic HTTPS rewrites, which eliminates the time-consuming process of finding and fixing mixed content. The Mobile optimization feature, Mirage, optimizes image loading through virtualized and lazy-loaded images, improving the performance of images on mobile connections.

Additionally, the Image optimization feature, Polish, automatically optimizes images by reducing their size and stripping metadata while creating and caching a WebP version for browsers that support it.

The Brotli Compression feature uses a lossless compression format developed by Google to achieve better compression ratios than gzip, while the Auto Minify feature removes unnecessary characters from HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files, saving 20% of a file’s size without affecting functionality.

Unlike the Pro and Business plans, which are priced at $20/month and $200/month, respectively, the Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise add-on costs just $4.99/month per domain, making it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes.

This means that businesses can save up to 75% on content optimization costs by choosing the Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise add-on. That’s a substantial percentage of savings that can be invested in other aspects of your business.

So, it’s definitely worth considering the Cloudways Cloudflare Enterprise add-on for its advanced content optimization features and cost-effectiveness.

free cloudflare cdn vs cloudflare enterprise on cloudways

How to Enable Cloudflare Polish on a Website?

Optimizing your website images using Cloudflare Polish can help improve your site’s performance and reduce page load times. Here are the steps to follow to set up Polish and ensure that it’s working properly:

Step 1: Log in to your Cloudflare Account

If you don’t already have a Cloudflare account, you can create one.

login to cloudflare

Step 2: Access the Speed Settings

In the left-hand menu, click “Speed” to expand the menu and then click “Optimization.”

Step 3: Enable Polish

Under “Image Resizing,” you’ll find the “Polish” option. Select the “Lossless” or “Lossy” option from the dropdown menu, depending on your preference.

how to enable cloudflare polish

Step 4: Enable WebP Conversion

You can also enable WebP conversion by selecting the “Convert images to WebP” option on the same page. This will ensure that images are served in the most appropriate format for the user’s browser.

Step 5: Check Polish is Active

Polish adds two headers to compressed image requests, which confirm that Cloudflare applied Polish and returns the image quality setting. Check for the following headers in the response:

  • cf-bgj: imgq:85
  • cf-polished: qual=85, origFmt=jpeg, origSize=95005
  • cf-cache-status: HIT

Maximize Website Performance with Cloudflare Polish!

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Common Polish Statuses and How to Troubleshoot Them

Here are some common statuses that may appear when using Polish and how to troubleshoot them:

  • Input_too_large: The input image is too large or complex to process and needs a lower resolution. Try using .png or .jpeg images that are less than 1,000px and 10MB.
  • Format_not_supported: The input image format is not supported (e.g., BMP, TIFF), and/or the origin server is using additional optimization software incompatible with Polish. Try converting the input image to a web-compatible format (e.g., PNG, JPEG) and/or disabling additional optimization software at the origin server.
  • Not_compressed or not_needed: The image was fully optimized at the origin server, and no compression was applied.
  • Webp_bigger: Polish attempted to convert the image to WebP, but the image was already optimized at the origin server and/or was created using a low-quality setting. Because the WebP version doesn’t exist, the status is set to the JPEG/PNG version of the response.
  • Cannot_optimize or internal_error: The input image is corrupted or incomplete at the origin server. Upload a new version of the image to the origin server.
  • Slow Page Load Times: While Cloudflare Polish is designed to optimize images and improve page load times, slow load times could indicate that something is not working correctly. You may want to check that Polish is enabled and functioning properly or investigate other possible causes of slow load times, such as large or unoptimized images or issues with the server.
  • Issues with Mixed Content: If your website has both HTTP and HTTPS content, it may interfere with Polish or other Cloudflare capabilities. You might need to make sure that your SSL certificate is set up correctly and that all information is provided via HTTPS.
  • Third-Party Plugin Compatibility Issues: Using third-party plugins on your website could potentially conflict with Cloudflare Polish or other Cloudflare features. You may want to check that any plugins you use are compatible with Cloudflare and that there are no known issues.
  • Incorrect Polish Settings: If your Polish settings are not configured correctly, it could cause issues with image optimization. You may need to double-check your Polish settings and ensure they are appropriate for your images and website.

Following these steps and troubleshooting common issues ensures that your images are optimized using Cloudflare Polish, resulting in faster page load times and an improved user experience.


In conclusion, Cloudflare Polish is a powerful tool for optimizing images on enterprise websites. It provides significant benefits such as improved website performance, reduced load times, and increased SEO rankings. However, getting access to Cloudflare’s optimization features through their Pro, Business, or Enterprise plans can be expensive for some businesses.

Thankfully, Cloudways provides a more affordable solution with their Cloudflare Enterprise add-on, which offers all the features of Cloudflare Enterprise at just $4.99 per domain per month. By taking advantage of Cloudways and Cloudflare Enterprise, businesses can improve their website’s image optimization without breaking the bank.

Enabling Cloudflare Polish on your website through Cloudways can help improve website performance, reduce server costs and bandwidth usage, and provide a better user experience. Troubleshooting common issues can ensure that the tool works properly and provides optimal results.

Overall, Cloudflare Polish is a valuable tool for image optimization, and with Cloudways’ cost-effective Cloudflare Enterprise add-on, it’s a tool that’s accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Q1. What is the difference between lossless and lossy polish?

A. Lossless and lossy are the two compression methods Cloudflare Polish uses to optimize images. Lossless compression reduces image size without losing any image data, while lossy compression reduces image size by discarding some of the image data, resulting in a slight loss in quality. Cloudflare Polish’s lossless WebP images are approximately 26% smaller than PNGs, while lossy images are around 17% smaller than JPEG files.

Q2. Is lossy or lossless better quality?

A. The choice between lossy and lossless compression methods in Cloudflare Polish depends on your specific needs. If you need to reduce the file size significantly to save storage space or improve UX and SEO on your photography website, lossy compression might be the best option. However, if maintaining the highest possible quality standards is your priority, then lossless compression might be the better choice.

Q3. Is lossy or lossless faster?

A. The compression speed of lossy and lossless methods in Cloudflare Polish is similar, so neither method is faster. However, lossy compression achieves higher compression levels, resulting in smaller file sizes and faster loading times. Lossless compression maintains the original quality but doesn’t compress as much, resulting in slightly larger file sizes and longer loading times.

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Abdul Rehman

Abdul is a tech-savvy, coffee-fueled, and creatively driven marketer who loves keeping up with the latest software updates and tech gadgets. He's also a skilled technical writer who can explain complex concepts simply for a broad audience. Abdul enjoys sharing his knowledge of the Cloud industry through user manuals, documentation, and blog posts.


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