Cloudflare Advanced Platform Optimization Results In A Noticeable Speed Increase

Published: October 2, 2020

Cloudflare just announced their new automatic platform optimization tool for WordPress. After writing about its release, we wanted to test it out on our own website to get some quantitative data about the impact that it would have on a WordPress installation.

Our website is created with Oxygen Builder, and uses WP Rocket as well as Asset Cleanup Pro to ensure that it loads quickly. We also have already set up the Cloudflare CDN specifically for the DDoS protection.

In their announcement blog post, the company claims some pretty stunning speed improvements: “Our testing, as detailed below, showed a 72% reduction in Time to First Byte (TTFB), 23% reduction to First Contentful Paint, and 13% reduction in Speed Index for desktop users at the 90th percentile, by serving nearly all of your website’s content from Cloudflare’s network.

We tested our website before activating the automatic platform optimization , and then again afterwards using the Google PageSpeed tool. This is just initial testing on our own website, so you shouldn't take these numbers by heart. In the future, we also want to implement this on several client web sites, and use a more complete speed testing tool like GTMetrix.

here's the lab data for our website without the automatic platform optimization turned on. It loads fairly quickly, so we weren't expecting any major changes here, because you're literally talking about milliseconds.

After testing, we implemented the APO, purged all cache, pre loaded everything again, and then ran the PageSpeed report. Keep in mind, this isn't scientific, nor incredibly well controlled. Nevertheless, here's the lab data for the site with automatic platform optimization turned on:

Surprisingly, there is a pretty substantial impact on our time to interactive, as well as a smaller but noticeable improvement in our speed index score.

Compared to the lab data for the website without the automatic platform optimization offered by Cloudflare, when APO is toggled, our TTI improved by 38%, and speed index improved by 22%.

The speed index especially notable as it was already in this sub one second range before implementing APO.

For $5 a month, we think that advanced platform optimization is definitely worth it. Keep in mind that it ships for free on any plan that isn't the “free plan” with Cloudflare. if you're interested, here's exactly how to toggle APO on your WordPress website.

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1 year ago

So did you leave WP Rocket enabled for this test? There are conflicting reports about whether you can or should do this. Cloudflare is listing WP Rocket as a plugin that is currently incompatible with APO but it’s not clear how or why.

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