Best Cloudflare settings for wordpress ( Setup and step-by-step guide)

Best cloudflare settings for wordpress users. Step by step guide to go enhance your site's security and performance

If you’re looking to boost the performance and security of your WordPress site, you’ve likely heard of Cloudflare. This popular service is more than just a DNS provider; it acts as a frontline defense for all your web traffic. By managing your DNS, Cloudflare serves as the initial proxy, enhancing your site with CDN-like performance features and robust security tools, including advanced firewall protection.

In this guide, we’ll explore why these Cloudflare settings are THE go-to choice for most WordPress sites and walk you through a step-by-step process to implement them effectively.

Let’s get to it!

Why Cloudflare Matters for WordPress

Cloudflare acts much like a shield and a mediator: it serves as the first point of contact for anyone trying to visit your website. By managing DNS settings, Cloudflare ensures that your domain names are translated into IP addresses in the most efficient manner possible, greatly reducing the time it takes for your WordPress site to load. This is crucial for maintaining a fast, responsive site that keeps users engaged and reduces bounce rates.

But Cloudflare offers more than just speed. As your traffic passes through its intelligent global network, it optimizes and secures the data transfer between users and your site. The CDN functionality not only decreases the physical distance between your server and your visitors to improve site loading times but also helps manage large spikes in traffic, distributing the load evenly across its servers. This means your WordPress site can handle more visitors at once without any degradation in performance.

The Benefits of Cloudflare’s CDN and DNS Services

  • Handling High Traffic Effortlessly: One of the standout features of Cloudflare is its ability to manage significant spikes in web traffic with ease.
    Thanks to Cloudflare’s edge servers caching the pages, only a minimal number of requests reach your actual website’s server,allowing Cloudflare to handle the surge smoothly.
    Cloudflare could handle up to 10 thousand users per second.
  • Enhanced Security : Cloudflare provides an array of security benefits, including DDoS protection, which safeguards your WordPress site against denial-of-service attacks that can take your site offline. Its web application firewall (WAF) and SSL/TLS encryption add layers of security to keep your site’s data safe and secure.
  • Robust and Free CDN : Cloudflare’s CDN functionality distributes your static files across a global network of data centers, ensuring that your website’s content is closer to your visitors, which reduces latency and speeds up content delivery.

    Making it an excellent choice for boosting site performance.

Map of cloudflare data centers

  • Simplified Configuration via Page Rules : Cloudflare’s user interface allows you to easily set up and manage page rules without needing to modify server configurations.

    Whether redirecting non-HTTPS traffic to HTTPS, setting up cache headers, or configuring www to non-www redirections, Cloudflare makes these tasks manageable through a straightforward UI, saving you from the complexities of server-side configurations.

1. Getting Started with Cloudflare for Your WordPress Site

Setting up your WordPress site on Cloudflare is a strategic move to enhance its performance and security. Cloudflare acts as a protective and efficient intermediary between your visitors and your web server, providing benefits like faster load times, improved security, and reduced server load. Here’s how to start integrating Cloudflare with your WordPress site:

1.1 Sign Up and Add Your Site to Cloudflare

  • Create an Account: Visit Cloudflare’s website and sign up for an account. Choose the plan that fits your needs; you can start with the free plan and upgrade as necessary.
  • Add Your Website: Enter your website’s URL to add your site to Cloudflare. Cloudflare will automatically scan your site’s existing DNS records, which can take a few seconds to complete.

1.2 Configure DNS Records

  • Review DNS Records: After the scan, Cloudflare will display the DNS records it found. Verify that all records are correct and make any necessary adjustments. This includes your A records, MX records for email, and any CNAME records.
  • Set DNS to Cloudflare: Change the DNS settings at your domain registrar by replacing your current DNS nameservers with the nameservers provided by Cloudflare. This directs your domain’s traffic through Cloudflare, allowing it to manage traffic and secure your site.

By following these steps above or checking this more detailed guide on Cloudflare if needed. Your WordPress site will be set up on Cloudflare .

In the following sections, we’ll explain most of the best Cloudflare settings that every WordPress user should consider. We’ll discuss which features should typically be turned ON or OFF to maximize both performance and security for your website.

2. Quick Cloudflare Settings Guide for WordPress

Optimizing your WordPress site with Cloudflare involves a few essential settings adjustments. Here’s a straightforward guide to configuring your Cloudflare settings for optimal performance and security:

Essential DNS Settings

  • Proxy Settings: Enable the proxy (orange cloud) only for your domain name and WWW records. This channels your web traffic through Cloudflare, allowing you to take advantage of their CDN and security features.

    Avoid enabling the proxy for your control panel or any services that point directly to external servers, as this could lead to connectivity issues.

To Enable/ Disable proxy for a specific record on Cloudflare, Log in into your account > Select the website you want to edit > Under DNS, you’ll be able to edit your records. ( In other words, To toggle the proxy setting, click the cloud icon. Switching to orange enables Cloudflare’s CDN and security features, while switching to grey bypasses Cloudflare’s network)

dns proxy cloudflare settings
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  • TTL (Time to Live): Set a higher TTL for less frequent DNS changes, which helps in faster DNS resolution. If you’re planning changes or migrations, consider a lower TTL to ensure updates propagate quickly.

Recommended SSL/TLS Settings

  • SSL Mode: Set the SSL mode to “Full” for WordPress sites. This setting encrypts the traffic between Cloudflare and your server, providing a secure connection without requiring a valid certificate on the server, which is beneficial if you’re in the process of configuring SSL.
  • Always Use HTTPS: Turn this setting ON to redirect all HTTP requests to HTTPS automatically, ensuring all data passed between your site and its visitors is secure.
  • Automatic HTTPS Rewrites: Enable this to help fix mixed content by rewriting HTTP URLs to HTTPS automatically, particularly useful if you’ve recently switched to HTTPS and have old links that haven’t been updated.

how to set ssl mode to full on cloudflare

Speed Optimizations

  • Auto Minify: Check the options for JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. This feature minimizes file sizes by removing unnecessary characters from your site’s code, which can significantly improve load times. ( testing your results will help you decide if minifying from your CDN or your cache plugin works best for you)

    To edit speed optimizations Cloudflare settings, Navigate to Speed > Optimization > Under Content Optimization, you’ll be able to edit these settings
Edit speed optimization cloudflare settings for wordpress websites. Minify Javascript, html and css to improve load times.
Best Cloudflare settings for wordpress ( Setup and step-by-step guide) 13
  • Brotli Compression: ON Enable Brotli for advanced compression that makes your web pages load faster. Brotli is effective at reducing the size of your textual content, which enhances speed without loss of quality.
  • Rocket Loader: Consider leaving this OFF unless specifically needed. Rocket Loader can interfere with certain scripts and features on WordPress sites. It’s designed to improve load times for JavaScript by loading scripts asynchronously, but it may cause issues with scripts that are not designed to support this method.

3. Detailed Cloudflare Settings Guide for WordPress

Optimizing your WordPress site with Cloudflare’s detailed settings not only enhances security and performance but also offers greater control over how your site interacts with traffic and data. Let’s dive deeper into some of the advanced features and settings:

Configuring ‘Under Attack’ and ‘Development’ Modes

  • Under Attack Mode: OFF, This setting is crucial when your site experiences an unusually high volume of traffic, potentially indicative of a DDoS attack. Enabling ‘Under Attack Mode’ activates additional security checks to help differentiate between legitimate users and malicious bots.

    This mode should be turned on only during an active attack and turned off once the threat has subsided to avoid inconveniencing legitimate users.
How to enable under attack and developer mode on cloudflare for wordpress websites
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  • Development Mode: OFF, When making frequent updates to your site’s design or content, Development Mode is invaluable. It bypasses Cloudflare’s cached version of your site, allowing you to see changes in real-time.

The Importance of API Keys and Management

  • API Keys: These are crucial for integrating Cloudflare with other services or with automation tools. API keys allow you to safely interact with your Cloudflare settings programmatically, which is essential for advanced site management. It’s important to keep these keys secure and only share them with trusted applications or personnel.
  • Managing API Keys: You can create, view, and revoke API keys from the Cloudflare dashboard. Always review your API keys regularly and ensure that each key has only the necessary permissions to minimize security risks.

Guidelines on Pausing and Removing Cloudflare from Your Site

  • Pausing Cloudflare: If you need to temporarily disable Cloudflare’s features without changing your DNS settings, you can pause Cloudflare. This action stops Cloudflare’s services but keeps your traffic routing through Cloudflare’s network.
  • Removing Cloudflare: To completely remove your site from Cloudflare, navigate to your site’s settings and select ‘Remove Site from Cloudflare’. This action will stop all Cloudflare services and require you to revert your DNS settings back to your original host or another service. This is typically done when moving your site to a new platform or discontinuing use.

4. Cloudflare Analytics Overview for WordPress

Cloudflare provides comprehensive analytics that offer valuable insights into your website’s performance, security, and traffic. Understanding these analytics can help you make informed decisions to enhance your site’s efficiency and security posture.

Guidelines on Pausing and Removing Cloudflare from Your Site

  • Interpreting Traffic Analytics: Cloudflare’s traffic analytics dashboard gives you a snapshot of the number of visitors, bandwidth used, and the data served. This information is crucial for assessing how well your content reaches your audience and helps identify trends in site usage.
  • Bandwidth and Requests: Monitoring the bandwidth and requests handled by Cloudflare versus your origin server can indicate the effectiveness of your CDN caching. High performance here means most of your content is delivered directly from Cloudflare, reducing load on your server.

Security Incidents Analysis

  • Threat Overview: The security dashboard provides insights into the threats Cloudflare has mitigated. This includes the number of threats blocked, the type of attacks (like SQL injection, DDoS, etc.), and the geographic origin of these attacks.
  • Security Events: Detailed logs allow you to delve into specific security incidents. Analyzing these can help you understand attack vectors and potentially adjust your security settings or implement custom firewall rules based on the nature of the attacks you are encountering.

Performance Metrics

  • Performance Overview: Here, you can see how Cloudflare has improved your site loading times through various metrics like cache hit ratio and time saved through caching. A high cache hit ratio means that most of your static content is being efficiently served by Cloudflare, speeding up site performance.
  • Argo Smart Routing: It routes traffic through the fastest Cloudflare network paths based on their real-time intelligence (Worth it if you have visitors from all around the world)

    If you use Cloudflare’s Argo Smart Routing, you’ll see metrics showing how much faster content reaches users compared to standard routing. This can be particularly useful for dynamic content that can’t be cached.

The Role of Workers

  • Worker Execution: Cloudflare Workers allow you to run JavaScript on Cloudflare’s servers at the edge, closer to your users. This section provides analytics on how often your Workers are executed and what impact they have on performance.
  • Resource Utilization: Insights into how much memory and CPU your Workers consume can help you optimize their code and ensure they’re enhancing site performance without undue resource consumption.

5. Firewall and Security Settings in Cloudflare for WordPress

Cloudflare offers a robust suite of security features that protect your website from a range of threats including DDoS attacks, malicious bots, and other vulnerabilities. Here’s how you can optimize these settings for your WordPress site:

Setting Up and Customizing Firewall Settings

  • Creating Firewall Rules: Click on “Firewall Rules” within the Firewall tab. Here, you can create and manage rules that define how incoming traffic is handled. Click ‘Create a Firewall Rule’, enter the desired filters and actions (block, challenge, allow), and specify which traffic the rule applies to.

    Example Rule: To protect your WordPress login page, set a rule to challenge access to wp-login.php. This can deter brute force attacks by requiring additional verification.
  • Bot Fight Mode: Turn Bot Fight Mode ON to automatically detect and mitigate potential threats from malicious bots. This feature analyses traffic patterns and challenges bots that exhibit suspicious behavior. Navigate to the “Bots” tab in the Firewall section and switch Bot Fight Mode to ON.
Activate bot fight mode within cloudflare settings
Best Cloudflare settings for wordpress ( Setup and step-by-step guide) 15
  • Browser Integrity Check: Enable this by going to the “Tools” section within the Firewall settings. Turning ON Browser Integrity Check helps filter out threats from sources with known vulnerabilities or malicious intent.

    This feature inspects the HTTP headers of incoming requests and blocks those that do not meet expected parameters.

P.S Keep both Bot Fight Mode and Browser Integrity Check ON to maximize your site’s security. However, monitor your site’s functionality as these settings can occasionally block legitimate users or web crawlers if not configured correctly.

6. Speed and Performance Tools in Cloudflare for WordPress

Optimizing your website’s speed and performance is crucial for improving user experience and SEO rankings. Cloudflare provides several advanced tools that can significantly enhance your site’s responsiveness and loading times. Let’s explore how to configure and utilize these tools effectively:

Configuration Settings for HTTP/2 and HTTP/3

  • HTTP/2: Ensure HTTP/2 is enabled in Cloudflare by navigating to the “Network” tab in your Cloudflare dashboard. HTTP/2 improves the speed of communication between servers and clients by allowing multiple simultaneous requests/responses between these points. This should be ON for enhanced performance. (Enable if you have the paid plan)
  • HTTP/3 (with QUIC): Similarly, enable HTTP/3 to further enhance your site’s performance. HTTP/3 reduces connection and transport latency through the QUIC protocol, and it is particularly beneficial for mobile device users and those on unstable connections. Turn this ON in the “Network” settings. (Enable if it’s there)
Optimal Cloudflare settings configuration for HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 for wordpress websites
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Utilizing Cloudflare’s Railgun, Rocket Loader, and Mobile Redirect

 Warning : Railgun & Rocket Loader might break site style/functionality. Test carefully, have a backup of your website or to be safe, keep these two disabled.

  • Railgun: Railgun ensures that the connection between your origin server and Cloudflare’s network is as fast as possible. It is ideal for highly dynamic content that cannot be cached. Enable Railgun in the “Speed” tab, but note that it requires software installation on your server, and it may be best suited for larger sites or e-commerce platforms.
  • Rocket Loader: Turn ON Rocket Loader to improve load times for pages that include JavaScript. Rocket Loader works by asynchronously loading all your scripts, meaning it does not block the rest of your content from loading while scripts process. Find this option under the “Speed” tab and consider testing it carefully, as it might interfere with some scripts.
  • Mobile Redirect: If you have a significant amount of mobile traffic, utilize Cloudflare’s Mobile Redirect feature to automatically redirect mobile users to a mobile-optimized version of your site. This can drastically improve the mobile user experience. Configure this in the “Mobile” section of the Cloudflare dashboard. keep it OFF as the feature is DEPRECATED
rocket loader off
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The Role of Prefetching URLs and Its Impact on Site Speed

  • Prefetching URLs:Prefetching allows your website to load parts of web pages in advance, particularly those that users are likely to click on next. This can significantly decrease loading times when users navigate your site.
  • Configuring Prefetching: You can set up prefetching in Cloudflare by using Page Rules to specify which URLs should be prefetched. This is especially useful for links within your site that receive high traffic. Remember to balance prefetching with your site’s overall bandwidth and load, as excessive prefetching can increase resource usage.

7. Caching and Content Delivery with Cloudflare for WordPress

Effective caching and content delivery management are pivotal for enhancing your website’s performance and user experience. Cloudflare offers robust tools for managing cache and ensuring your content is delivered efficiently.

How to Effectively Purge Cache and Manage Caching Levels

  • Purging Cache: Cloudflare allows you to clear cached content either entirely or selectively. To purge the entire cache, navigate to the “Caching” tab in your Cloudflare dashboard and select ‘Purge Everything.’ This is useful when you’ve made significant site updates or want to force fresh content delivery.

    For selective purging, specify URLs or tags to clear specific items from the cache without affecting the entire cache.
  • Managing Caching Levels: Adjust your caching level to control how aggressively Cloudflare caches your content. The ‘Standard’ caching level caches most static resources (like images, CSS, and JavaScript), which is sufficient for most WordPress sites.

    If you require dynamic content caching, consider using custom Page Rules to specify cache behaviors for different content types or paths on your site.
optimal caching cloudflare settings for wordpress websites
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The Significance of Browser Cache Expiration Settings

  • Browser Cache Settings: These settings determine how long your content is stored in visitors’ browsers. Set the ‘Browser Cache Expiration’ to a longer duration if your site content changes infrequently. This reduces the number of requests to your server when repeat visitors access your site, as static files are loaded from the local browser cache. Typical settings range from an hour (for dynamic sites) to one year (for static sites).
  • Leveraging Edge Cache TTL: Cloudflare’s Edge Cache TTL controls how long your content remains cached on Cloudflare’s servers. Adjust this setting based on your content’s freshness requirements and traffic patterns to optimize delivery speeds.

Detailed Explanation of Cloudflare’s Argo and Tiered Caching

  • Argo Smart Routing:Argo improves performance by routing visitors through the fastest paths on Cloudflare’s network, thus reducing latency and increasing speed. Enable Argo from the ‘Traffic’ tab in your dashboard. This feature is particularly effective for sites with international traffic or those experiencing high latency.
  • Tiered Caching: Utilize Tiered Caching to reduce bandwidth costs and improve cache hit ratios. This system uses regional ‘tier 1’ caches to serve as primary data sources for more distant ‘tier 2’ caches, which helps in serving content more efficiently across the globe. Activate Tiered Caching in the ‘Caching’ tab under the configuration settings.

7. Advanced Cloudflare Features for WordPress

Cloudflare offers a range of advanced features designed to boost performance, enhance security, and provide greater control over how your content is served. This section explores Cloudflare Workers and network optimizations including IPv6 compatibility and WebSockets.

Introduction to Workers for Advanced Users

What are Cloudflare Workers? Workers allow you to run JavaScript on Cloudflare’s servers at the edge, before requests reach your site. This means you can write custom functions to modify requests and responses, interact with other APIs, and make decisions at the edge.

So, Cloudflare Workers are incredibly powerful for scenarios where you need to personalize content, make quick API calls, or manage requests dynamically. They’re executed within milliseconds, improving speed and reducing the load on your origin server.

worker configuration cloudflare
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To create a Worker, go to the “Workers Routes” section in your Cloudflare dashboard, where you can write your script directly or upload one when clicking on “Manage Workers”.

Cloudflare provides templates to get started with common tasks like URL redirection, header manipulation, or basic auth.

Network Optimizations Including IPv6 Compatibility and WebSockets

  • IPv6 Compatibility: IPv6 is the latest version of the Internet Protocol, which provides an expanded address space. Enabling IPv6 in Cloudflare ensures your site remains accessible to all users worldwide, regardless of the IP version they are using.

    Turn this feature ON in the “Network” section of your Cloudflare dashboard.
  • WebSockets: WebSockets provide a way for web servers and clients to communicate without the overhead of HTTP. This is useful for real-time applications like live chat, gaming, or trading platforms. Cloudflare offers native WebSocket support to improve the performance and scalability of these interactive communications.

    Ensure that these features are enabled and properly configured via your Cloudflare dashboard to maximize your site’s network efficiency and compatibility.

Frequently Asked Questions About Using Cloudflare with WordPress

1. How does Cloudflare enhance my WordPress site’s security?

Cloudflare provides several layers of security enhancements for WordPress sites. It includes a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that protects against common vulnerabilities like SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS).

DDoS protection is also a key feature, helping to mitigate large-scale attacks that attempt to make your website unavailable. Additionally, Cloudflare’s SSL/TLS encryption secures the data transmitted between your visitors and the Cloudflare network, ensuring data privacy and integrity.

2. What should I set my SSL/TLS encryption to on Cloudflare?

For most WordPress sites, the “Full” SSL/TLS setting is recommended. This mode encrypts the connection between Cloudflare and your server, requiring a valid SSL certificate on your server but not validating it.

For sites that handle sensitive information, “Full (strict)” provides an added layer of security by requiring a valid, trusted certificate. Always ensure your server-side certificates are up to date to avoid connection errors.

3. Can Cloudflare speed up my WordPress site?

Absolutely. Cloudflare’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) caches your WordPress site’s static content and serves it from a data center closest to your visitor, which significantly reduces load times.

Features like Auto Minify reduce the size of your CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files, while Brotli compression further decreases the file size for faster site performance. Additionally, Cloudflare’s HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 enhancements make the delivery of content more efficient.

4. How do I clear my Cloudflare cache if I update my WordPress site?

You can clear your Cloudflare cache directly from your dashboard. Navigate to the Caching tab and click on “Purge Everything” to clear all cached content, or use “Purge by URL” to selectively clear cached pages. This is particularly useful after making significant changes to your site, ensuring visitors see the most up-to-date version.

5. What are Cloudflare Page Rules and how do I use them for my WordPress site?

Cloudflare Page Rules allow you to customize how Cloudflare handles different URLs or types of content on your site. For instance, you can create a rule to always use HTTPS for securing your site or to cache an HTML page.

To set up Page Rules, go to the Page Rules tab in your Cloudflare dashboard, click on “Create Page Rule,” and define the target URL pattern and the desired settings. This feature is powerful for fine-tuning performance and security settings for specific pages or scenarios.


Integrating Cloudflare with your WordPress site brings numerous benefits, from enhanced security to improved site performance. By leveraging Cloudflare’s comprehensive CDN, advanced security features, and powerful performance tools, you can ensure that your site not only loads quickly and remains available under high traffic but also stays protected against a range of online threats.

Throughout this guide, we’ve explored how to set up essential Cloudflare settings, manage DNS effectively, utilize advanced features like Workers and Page Rules, and understand the significant impact of Cloudflare’s analytics and caching capabilities. With these tools at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to optimize your WordPress site for both speed and security.

P.S If you’re seeking a hosting solution that complements the speed and security enhancements Cloudflare offers, consider exploring our hosting services. We specialize in providing secure, high-performance hosting environments that are optimized for WordPress and fully compatible with Cloudflare’s technologies. This synergy ensures that your site remains swift, secure, and scalable regardless of traffic spikes or security threats.

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