The Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on enables SMBs like Digital Marketing Agencies, eCommerce Businesses, and blogging & media websites to leverage Enterprise-level Cloudflare CDN features at an affordable price. Thus allowing smaller businesses to better compete with their competitors as well as larger players within the market.
In the constantly evolving landscape of digital technology, the race for quicker, more efficient, and secure internet solutions never slows down. With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce the addition of some oft-requested features – Edge Page Caching, Argo Smart Routing & more – available through the Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on.
So let’s begin
At Cloudways, our focus has always been on ensuring the fastest, most value focused hosting for our customers. Because we know that while website load times are extremely important, it is also extremely important for us to create cost effective solutions for our customers so that they can further increase their margins.
A few years ago, With this need for speed in mind, we went to the drawing board & created our first CDN add-on product. A $1/domain the Cloudways CDN add-on powered by StackPath CDN. At that time, we were still growing, and for the majority of our customers, this was an ideal product that provided some key CDN features at a cost-effective price. The success of the add-on being apparent in how many of you chose to activate it for yourself or your clients.
As Cloudways continued to grow however, we realized that the good old Cloudways CDN was becoming outdated. The CDN market was constantly evolving, and now, our customers needed more than just a few key CDN features.
Cloudways CDN, wasn’t cutting it anymore.
Customers needed faster and faster websites to compete with their competitors in the market.
And so back we went to the drawing board. This time, we were determined to come up with an offering that could compete with the best solutions in the market. And that’s when we came up with the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on. An Enterprise level CDN solution that not only covers all the weaknesses of our old Cloudways CDN & provides a robust CDN experience but also offers major bells and whistles in the form of features like automatic image & mobile optimization, Brotli compression, PCI DSS Compliance, Enterprise security with a WAF & DDoS mitigation at levels 3, 4, & 7, and many more for just $4.99/domain.
While our focus remained on creating a managed & hassle-free CDN solution packed to the brim with features that would allow our customers to leverage Enterprise features in a cost-effective package, we were unable to provide all the envisioned features at launch.
We pay $20 through cloudflare. Cloudways doesn’t do full page caching yet so pro with APO gets better results.
— Gael Breton (@GaelBreton) January 26, 2023
Hi @invinciblesaad, is there any of including “full page cache” feature in Cloudflare addon in near future? Would happily pay $10 too for that 🙂
— Muhammad Qasim (@mqasimkh) April 14, 2023
Our initial plan was to fill in these gaps soon after launch. However, these features were delayed time and time again due to multiple changes that required reprioritization. Our focus throughout this period remained on refining our page rules and conducting robust Q&A to craft the most efficient page rules for Edge Page Caching.
The Evolution of the Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on
We are delighted to announce that the wait is finally over!
With a robust Q&A process concluded, all users of the Cloudflare add-on will now be able to take advantage of the following new features:
- Edge Page Caching
- Argo Smart Routing
- Purge API
- Features control
- Better Security with Global Rate Limiting & the Honey Pot Project
Interested in the new features? Try out Cloudflare Enterprise Now!
Supercharge your websites with Edge Page Caching, Argo Smart Routing, & many more Enterprise performance & security features.
Introduction to New Features
Edge Page Caching for WordPress: A New Era in Speed
In a continuously global world, the speed and efficiency of your online presence can make or break your business. With 47% of users expecting webpages to load in 2 seconds or less, It is no longer enough to just have an online presence. Whether you own a Digital Marketing Agency, or you’re a prolific blogger, or you own an ecommerce store, the success of your business often depends on your website’s performance & user experience.
With Edge Page Caching, you take your already fast website on Cloudways further onto a new heights of speed, resulting in significantly faster load times all around the world for WordPress websites!
What is Edge Page Caching?
Cloudways servers are already equipped with full page caching via varnish, which caches the full page output of your webpages at your origin server. Edge Page Caching takes this a step further by caching the entirety of your web page at Cloudflare’s edge servers in 275+ POPs worldwide. The page is then loaded from the cache, and delivered immediately to any users requesting the web page from the edge server nearest to the user resulting in lightening fast load times.
How Page caching works
Whenever a user now tries to view a page from your website, instead of being routed to your website’s origin server, the request is sent through Cloudflare, which then verifies whether the requested web page is available at any of its POP servers closest to the user.
If the requested page has been cached at this POP server, it is served directly from the POP server’s cache without the need to request it from origin. However, if the page has not been cached, the request will be routed to the origin server, and Cloudflare CDN will also cache the web page at the server closest to the user for future requests. This ensures that popular web pages are available at edge servers around the world for quick delivery, whereas less requested pages are fetched on demand from origin.
The default edge cache rules for wordpress are exactly same as varnish, as highlighted here.
Testing Edge Page Caching: Before & After
To test the impact of edge page caching, we conducted a series of tests from multiple locations all over the world. The end goal of these tests was to figure out the improvement in performance metrics bought about by the addition of Full Page edge caching to our Cloudflare add-on. For this purpose, we tested performance metrics by setting up identical websites, one set up with the Cloudflare add-on with partial caching, & the other set up with Full page caching enabled on our Cloudflare add-on.
We shortlisted 3 core metrics as key performance indicators for this test.
- Page load time – The time taken to load the whole web page
- Time To First Byte (TTFB) – The time taken for the first byte of data to arrive after a page is requested
- Largest Contentful Paint – Time taken to load the largest content element of a webpage
Two identical websites with a mix of visual & textual elements were created & then placed on identical servers for testing. We used DO premium 4GB servers located in New York for this purpose.
We found that webpages powered by edge page caching on average loaded 66% faster compared to pages that were served with only partial caching enabled.
– Page Load Time: 1817 ms (Partial), 541 ms (Full page). TTFB: 440 ms (Partial), 62 ms (Full Page). LCP: 931 ms (Partial), 489 ms (Full page)
These pages also displayed 85% faster TTFB, & 46% faster LCP times on average compared to those served with partial caching across multiple locations.
While average results were impressive, we wanted to present a clearer image of the kind of performance improvement that can be expected with this feature update. Following through, we shortlisted some major centers where our customers operate, to further illustrate the benefits bought by edge page caching.
Accelerate WordPress load times by 70% with Cloudflare Enterprise!
Take advantage of Edge page caching for WordPress, Argo Smart Routing, & more
Improve Core Web Vitals & ensure lightening fast load times for your website today!
Testing from London, we observed an improvement of 56.7% in Page load times, 86% in TTFB, & 33% in LCP.
– Page Load Time: 1200 ms (Partial), 519 ms (Full page). TTFB: 387 ms (Partial), 52 ms (Full Page). LCP: 740 ms (Partial), 497 ms (Full page)
In case of Sydney, Edge page caching reduced page load times by a whopping 79%! With TTFB & LCP metrics showing similar improvements at 89% & 50% respectively.
– Page Load Time: 2900 ms (Partial), 599 ms (Full page). TTFB: 636 ms (Partial), 68 ms (Full Page). LCP: 1200 ms (Partial), 599 ms (Full page)
Vancouver revealed a similar trend as page load times decreased by 73% with Edge page caching enabled. TTFB dropped by 86%, whereas LCP dropped by an amazing 60% as compared to Cloudlfare with partial caching.
– Page Load Time: 1300 ms (Partial), 355 ms (Full page). TTFB: 321 ms (Partial), 48 ms (Full Page). LCP: 807 ms (Partial), 321 ms (Full page)
San Antonio, USA
Testing within the USA, at San Antonio, we found that edge page caching slashed page load times by 47%, with a 79% improvement in TTFB, & 38% faster LCP times!
– Page Load Time: 1000 ms (Partial), 532 ms (Full page). TTFB: 402 ms (Partial), 85 ms (Full Page). LCP: 854 ms (Partial), 528 ms (Full page)
Sao Paolo, Brazil
Sao Paolo, Brazil showed the most significant improvement in load times after Sydney, resulting in 74.4% faster page load times, with 89.6% faster TTFB, & a 45% improvement in LCP times.
– Page Load Time: 11700 ms (Partial), 434 ms (Full page). TTFB: 435 ms (Partial), 45 ms (Full Page). LCP: 786 ms (Partial), 434 ms (Full page)
In case of Hong Kong, full page edge caching was observed to reduce page load times by 71%, with an 85% improvement in TTFB, & a 54% improvement in LCP!
– Page Load Time: 2800 ms (Partial), 807 ms (Full page). TTFB: 456 ms (Partial), 67 ms (Full Page). LCP: 1200 ms (Partial), 557 ms (Full page)
In conclusion, our testing reveals that the addition of Edge Page caching to our Cloudflare add-on is a game changer for WordPress websites on the Cloudways platform resulting in significant improvements in load times.
Some Benefits of Edge Page Caching
According to an experiment, every 100ms improvement in page load times can improve conversions by 1%. While this number may vary depending on your product & web pages, in general, a faster user experience equals more conversions. Thus a feature like Edge Page Caching that can dramatically improve load times is a no-brainer for any small business or online website seeking to improve its user experience & revenues.
Some major benefits of Edge Page Caching include;
Improved Load Times: Because the content is physically closer to the user, it can be delivered faster, leading to accelerated page load times. Our testing, as shown above revealed a 66% improvement in page load times on average as compared to partial caching! This significantly improves the user experience, thus leading to higher customer satisfaction, lower bounce rates, and more conversions.
Reduced Server Load: Serving content from edge servers reduces load on your original server. With edge page caching, this effect is further magnified since lesser and lesser data needs to actually be requested from origin thus reducing server load.
Increased Availability and Redundancy: In case your origin server goes down for any reason, cached content can still be served from edge servers in case of Blogging & news sites thus increasing the availability of content for these.
Better Scalability: With Edge page caching, your site can better handle higher traffic without slowing down since cached pages do not require as much processing power or memory. This means your website can serve more users simultaneously.
Improved SEO: Search engines like Google consider site speed as one of the ranking factors. Faster websites are more likely to rank higher in search engine results, leading to more organic traffic.
Cost Savings: Page caching at the edge reduces the amount of data that needs to be requested from the origin server, thus resulting in more efficient bandwidth usage & reducing costs.
Argo Smart Routing
Consider a race across a city. One of the participants has a paper map of the city, whereas the other uses Google Maps on their smartphone, which detects traffic congestions in real-time and thus adjusts your route accordingly to be the most time efficient.
Care to guess who between the two would win the race?
In a case where all roads and routes are clear, the race would be a draw since both would map out the shortest route.
However, in a scenario similar to real life, where some roads may be congested with traffic, the participant using Google Maps would have a significant advantage since they’d be able to detect and go around any traffic congestions due to real-time visibility.
This is the difference between a website using traditional routing methods vs Argo Smart Routing.
Argo Smart Routing detects congestions live over the internet, & routes your website data through the most efficient routes to the end user, resulting in up to a 30% improvement in website performance.
How Smart Routing takes place
Whenever a user tries to view your website, a request gets sent from their computer to the server at which your website is hosted. Unless you have a CDN like Cloudflare in which case the request gets routed through Cloudflare’s edge server first. It then checks its cache for the requested content. Even with Full Page caching enabled, there’s a chance that some of the dynamic content on your website still needs to be requested from the origin server.
This is where Argo Smart routing comes in. Since Cloudflare is used by approximately 16% of the Fortune 1000 while also serving on average, 18 million HTTPS requests per second, Cloudflare routes enough volume to be able to detect real-time congestion & traffic across the internet.
Argo Smart routing takes advantage of this ability to detect congestion over the internet. Which is then used to route your user requests through the fastest routes, resulting in lightening fast load times!
Benefits of Argo
Accelerated load times: Argo finds the fasted, least congested routes to the user, thus resulting in accelerated load times, be it for a Checkout page, a product page, a blog article, or any other webpage.
Bandwidth Savings: By routing traffic through the most efficient routes, Argo Smart routing ensures efficient utilization of Bandwidth, especially for websites having a global audience or those with high traffic volumes.
Enhanced Reliability: By routing around network congestions & outages, Argo Smart Routing ensures that your website remains available even during times of high demand or network disruptions
Global Scalability: Argo Smart Routing & the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on in general, is especially useful for businesses with international aspirations. The combination of Cloudflare’s extensive network of servers, plus Argo Smart routing means that not only is content served from servers nearest to the user, but also that it follows the most optimal path, which is especially useful in cases where content needs to be loaded from origin, thus enabling lightening fast load times globally, at every corner of the world. Be it a user in Thailand or Brazil.
The Cloudways + Cloudflare Integration now includes Purge API, a highly requested feature that allows customers to independently clear their Cloudflare Cache assets.
Our Varnish integration, which has been in use for years, cleverly purges assets across sites using the Breeze plugin. For instance, if a site has new posts published, Breeze automatically identifies the necessary pages that require purging and only purges those specific pages instead of the entire site.
The same smart purge mechanism can now be used with Cloudflare Edge caching through Breeze. Users only need to enable it.
To avoid any conflicts, we have ensured that only one-page cache can be used at a time. Once a user enables our Cloudflare Edge Cache Integration, the Varnish Cache will automatically get bypassed. However, the Breeze plugin cache will continue to work as a fallback cache.
How to exclude URLs from Cloudflare.
To exclude a page from the Cloudflare edge cache, users will need to use the Breeze plugin. Excluding a URL from Breeze automatically adds a Cache-Control “no-cache” header which prevents the page from being cached by either Varnish or Cloudflare.
Features control on the new UI brings much-requested flexibility & control into the hands of our users. With this new capability, users will be able to toggle specific features on or off depending on their needs.
Users facing niche cases wherein they needed to disable certain features due to issues caused by other plugins will now be able to toggle them on or off by themselves without needing to contact Cloudways Support for help.
Currently, users can toggle the following features;
Early Hints: Early hints helps browsers load pages faster by automatically caching any “preload” and “preconnect” type link headers, sending them as “Early hints” to the browser.
Image Optimization: Cloudflare Polish automatically optimizes images by reducing image size through lossless or lossy compression to accelerate the speed of image downloads. Since Image optimization consists of multiple feature layers, users will be able to toggle between the following options;
GIF, PNG, and JPEG Images files size is reduced by removing non-essential data like headers and metadata without compromising visual quality.
Enables JPEG image compression in addition to the lossless mode; visual quality may be reduced.
No Image optimization will be applied
Mobile Optimization: Cloudflare’s Mirage automatically optimizes image loading through virtualized and lazy-loaded images. It detects the visitor’s browser type and optimizes performance for the particular device, dramatically improving the performance of images on a mobile connection.
ScrapeShield: Scrapeshield automatically displays blurred email addresses on your website to prevent harvesting by bots and spammers without visible changes to the address for human visitors.
Edge Page Caching: By caching dynamic content, Cloudflare serves the entire website from its edge network to make a site’s time to first byte (TTFB) both fast and consistent.
Note: Enabling Edge Page Caching will automatically disable Varnish Page Caching to avoid conflict.
Attack Mode: Cloudflare’s Under Attack Mode provides extra security measures to reduce the impact of Layer 7 DDoS attacks. Your website is only accessible to validated users, while suspicious traffic is blocked. This feature should only be activated as a last resort when your site is under attack.
Note: Verified bots, such as GoogleBot and Bingbot, will not be affected and will still be able to crawl your site.
Better Security: Global Rate Limit & The Honey Pot Project
According to Accenture, nearly 43% of cyber-attacks are targeted at SMBs. With the average cost of a claim for small business owners increasing to $139,000 on average, it is important more than ever to have robust security measures in place to prevent losses.
Thus we set out to further improve the security offered by our add-on to customers. The increase in security was engineered primarily in 3 ways.
Global Rate Limit
With the implementation of Global rate limiting, your website can only be requested by a specific user a set number of times within an hour. This means any malicious actors trying to bring your server down with DOS attacks, brute force login attacks, & other malicious means will be automatically blocked once they surpass this threshold, thus preventing any potential harm to your business.
There are two types of filters that can be applied for global rate limiting.
Human Only Traffic: Traffic that our algorithms determine as being generated by human activity.
Automated Only Traffic: Traffic that our algorithms determine as being generated by a bot or automated script activity.
With our new setup, only automated traffic will be rate limited by our rules, meaning that custom deployment, applied bots, and human traffic are excluded from the rate-limiting count. Thus, legitimate traffic will not be affected by rate-limiting rules.
The implementation of global rate limiting has already contributed massively towards preventing malicious actors from requesting customer sites, with 150 million threats on average blocked every day.
Honey Pot Project
The Honey Pot project is a trap-like system set up on the participant’s websites, allowing them to identify spammers & their spambots. Spammers usually use bots to collect email addresses from websites, which is why you or your customers may get unsolicited emails of unknown origin.
Participants of the Honey Pot project put specially tagged email addresses on their websites. These do not belong to any real people but act as bait for spambots. When these addresses receive emails, Project Honey Pot identifies these as spam, & because these addresses are tagged with the time & location (IP address) of the visitor, the project can tell when & where the email address was scraped from.
What this means for the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on users is that any traffic or attack initiated from a suspicious IP address previously flagged by another participant of the Honey Pot project will automatically be challenged by Cloudflare Turnstile, thus significantly reducing the number of attacks on your website.
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The Cloudflare Enterprise Add-on: Is it for you?
The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on is for any business seeking to increase its footprint and grow its consumer base. With features focusing on speed, web optimization, as well as security, it provides a comprehensive solution for improving website performance.
Managed so you don’t have to: The Cloudways Cloudflare add-on is completely managed by the Cloudways team, meaning users don’t have to worry about technical details like page rules. The Cloudways team has set up tried and tested page rules for all our customers for maximum performance and security.
Drastically improve performance: The add-on provides a significant boost to customers’ website performance. With a +70% improvement in page load times on average across different locations, the add-on utilizes multiple Cloudflare features like Prioritized Routing, Edge Page Caching, and support for HTTP/3, all geared towards improving website performance.
Eliminate the need for multiple plugins: The Cloudflare Enterprise add-on integrates several critical web performance and security features like mobile optimization with mirage, image optimization with polish, brotli compression, managed WAF, etc., into one comprehensive solution, thereby significantly reducing the need for multiple optimization plugins. This unified approach not only simplifies the website administration process but also decreases overall costs.
Users no longer need to pay for and activate multiple different plugins for different optimization tasks like minification, image optimization, etc. Additionally, by reducing the number of plugins, the potential attack surface for cyber threats decreases, enhancing the website’s security posture.
Take advantage of Enterprise Security: With security features focused on mitigating any DDoS attacks, the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on eliminates the need for costly dedicated security plugins or other security alternatives. Take advantage of a managed WAF, DDoS mitigation at layers 3, 4, & 7, and Global Rate limiting to prevent malicious actors from accessing your website.
In conclusion, we are ecstatic to announce the availability of the above-mentioned features for the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on. We have tried our level best to ensure that these features are in line with customer wants and needs. Each feature has been carefully developed with customer feedback in mind. With a robust Q&A process conducted, these features are designed to take your website performance and security to new heights.
At Cloudways, we are committed to continuously improving our services and expanding our offerings to ensure the most value for our customers. At the core, our focus has always been on providing Small businesses with the tools they need to succeed online.
Ready to experience the difference? Try out the Cloudflare Enterprise add-on today & experience the revolution in your website’s performance and security. As always, we are here to provide support and answer any questions you may have.
I'm a Product Marketer with a strong passion for discovering cutting-edge tech solutions that address our everyday challenges. Delving into the world of innovative technology never ceases to amaze me. When I'm not immersed in the realm of tech, you can catch me scrolling through Instagram, admiring the vibrant beauty of various bird species, or escaping into the captivating world of fiction.