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Cloudflare’s Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress

Cloudflare has just announced a new service called Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) that caches and serves more than just static website content. They have now made it possible to serve dynamic web content in the same way.

What is the difference between static and dynamic content?

Static content is any file that is stored in a server and is the same every time it is delivered to users. HTML files and images are examples of this kind of content.

Dynamic content is content that changes based on factors specific to the user such as time of visit, location, and device. A dynamic webpage will not look the same for everybody, and it can change as users interact with it.

The APO service boasts of staggering performance improvements for websites that might otherwise be slowed down by shared hosting, slow database lookups, or sluggish plugins.

Automatic Platform Optimization is the result of using Cloudflare Workers to intelligently cache dynamic content. By caching dynamic content, Cloudflare can serve websites from its edge network. It detects when users make changes to their content and purges the content stored on Cloudflare’s edge. In most cases, this eliminates origin requests and origin processing time meaning visitors requesting your site will get near instant load times.

image showing Kinsta's test results using Cloudflare's APO

Page Load Speeds for loading a website hosted in Tokyo from 6 locations worldwide – comparing Kinsta, Kinsta with KeyCDN, and Kinsta with Cloudflare APO.

In Cloudflare’s testing, they showed a 72% reduction in Time to First Byte (consistently under 400ms), a 23% reduction to First Contentful Paint, and a 13% reduction in Speed Index for desktop users at the 90th percentile.

How To Use Cloudflare APO on OPTe Network websites

Cloudflare is integrated with your OPTe Network website (no plugin to install).

To activate Automatic Platform Optimization goto your WP admin dashboard Settings>>Cloudflare. The service is included in Cloudflare’s premium plans and $5 per month (flat unmetered fee) for sites on their Free plan.

Connect your domain and site with a free account.

Once connected: Purchase and enable from your dashboard.

Disable “Auto Purge Content On Update”.
Note: This feature is superseded by Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress. If you are using APO, then this setting should be disabled.

Does My WordPress Site Need Automatic Platform Optimization?

Well, that depends on a few factors i.e. current performance, type of web host, marketing objectives, and where you target your visitors.

In general, we think its a great solution for WooCommerce shops, businesses targeting international visitors, and other high traffic websites.

To see for yourself, run a before and after performance test. It will only cost $5 so why not. We use GTmetrix for performance testing.

Be sure to test several times to cache it across the “Edge” and monitor the average loading time. The key area to focus on is the server location and the “Timings”.

Our testing confirmed a significant reduction in Time to First Byte (65ms – 175ms), First Contentful Paint (1.1s – 2.6s), Fully Loaded Times (1s-3s), and increased performance across the major regions.

If you want to boost your sites’ overall performance across the globe with lower cost hosting (regardless of location) then Cloudflare’s APO is a strong option to consider.

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Jeremiah Williams

To create great content, you need to read great content. And that's exactly what I love to do. My read later lists seem to be neverending with the millions of articles published every day.

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