Yes, I’m obsessive about Webpage load speed. Only in the past year or so has Website speed become an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) factor however I’ve always spent an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to speed up my Website (as well as find ways to speed up all Websites I build for clients). Until a few short years back, besides using state of the art software and hardware (NGINX, Ubuntu Server, reverse HTTP proxies etc.) in addition to a CDN (Content Delivery Network) such as Amazon Web Services CloudFront, there really wasn’t any simple means of speeding up WordPress Websites.
How times have changed in a few short years! We now have super awesome services such as CloudFlare and the Google PageSpeed Service (PageSpeed service isn’t widely available yet but should be soon). CloudFlare is a freemium service and their free offering is probably much more than most Websites need. As for Google PageSpeed Service, pricing hasn’t been provided as yet and is being used free on an invite only basis at present (thanks Google for the invite you sent me ).
Just over two months ago I started using the PageSpeed service for three of my other Websites. Around the same time I started using CloudFlare Pro (a paid-for service) for this Website, OrganicWeb.com.au. Here are my findings.
How the CloudFlare free plan can remain free is quite simply amazing. The benefits, from free use of a leading CDN, free high-performance DNS hosting to security and more is awesome. The majority of users won’t need to upgrade to the Pro plan which has a monthly cost and offers further performance and security enhancements.
I used the Pro plan for a couple of months but I actually moved my Website from CloudFlare to PageSpeed a few weeks back as there were problems when people were leaving comments on Posts (I use the JetPack Plugin to manage commenting). I believe that Blog commenting is important and no matter what configuration I did, I just couldn’t correct the commenting problem when on CloudFlare so moved to PageSpeed (and the commenting problem no longer seems to occur). In fairness to CloudFlare I believe that the problem may well have been with the JetPack Plugin.
Just because my WordPress Site had problems on CloudFlare doesn’t mean that yours will. In fact, I recommend CloudFlare over PageSpeed for users that want a very simple to setup service that works well. CloudFlare have done a great job in making the setup super simple; just install and activate the WordPress CloudFlare Plugin, add necessary data to CloudFlare and your WordPress Site will be secured and delivered by CloudFlare in just a few minutes.
The Google PageSpeed Service may be a bit too technical for those wanting something very simple to setup. Whilst CloudFlare provides top-class and very fast DNS hosting, Google PageSpeed doesn’t provide this. I prefer having a separate DNS hosting provider and use AWS Route 53 so PageSpeed is preferable for me.
The biggest selling point for most people however will likely be the security provided by CloudFlare. I’m really not sure if PageSpeed provides any security and whether the security provided by CloudFlare is any good. Security is often a perception and CloudFlare beats PageSpeed completely where the perception of security matters.
My advise for most people is to use CloudFlare. For more advanced users, and those that are confident managing their own security, the Google PageSpeed Service is the way to go.