How to Set up Cloudflare APO for WordPress

Boost WordPress performance up to 300% with Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization (APO).

As part of its annual “Birthday Week” celebration, Cloudflare recently announced the release of “Automatic Platform Optimization” (APO) for WordPress sites.

For performance enthusiasts, Cloudflare’s APO represents a huge step forward for maximizing WordPress performance.

In our benchmarks tests, we found that enabling APO on our test site reduced page load times by 70-300% depending on testing location.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into how Cloudflare APO works and how you can use it to boost the performance of your WordPress site!

What Is Automatic Platform Optimization (APO)?

Automatic Platform Optimization is a new suite of one-click platform-tailored optimization services by Cloudflare.

The first platform to receive the “APO treatment” is WordPress, the world’s most popular CMS with over 60% market share. In the future, we expect to see similar APO services for other CMS and platforms.

On a high level, Cloudflare’s WordPress APO improves site performance in two major ways.

  1. Static HTML copies of your WordPress site’s pages are cached in Cloudflare edge servers around the world.
  2. Third-party fonts are cached and served by Cloudflare.

Let’s take a look under the hood to see how and why APO works on a technical level.

Static HTML at the Edge

The key differentiating factor between Cloudflare’s APO and other traditional page caching and CDN solutions is its ability to directly cache static HTML at Cloudflare’s edge. To paint a clearer picture, let’s go through four different WordPress setups from “no optimization” to APO.

WordPress Setup #1 – No Page Caching or CDN

By default, WordPress does not come with page caching or CDN support. With this configuration, all requests need to be dynamically generated by PHP even if no page content has been changed between requests.

Furthermore, no content delivery network (CDN) integration means that all static assets like CSS, JS, images, and fonts are served by the origin server.

This configuration can make for a very slow WordPress site, especially for visitors who are far away from the origin server.

WordPress Setup #2 – Page Caching with no CDN

Implementing page caching is one of the best tactics to improve WordPress performance. At Kinsta, our hosting stack includes a highly-tuned page caching layer powered by Nginx’s FastCGI cache module.

Page caching reduces CPU load on the origin server dramatically because requests can be served from cache without the need for dynamic HTML generation.

This frees up your CPU to focus on other important dynamic tasks and makes your WordPress site more stable. While this configuration may allow your site to serve more requests per second, it doesn’t solve the “distance problem”.

Without a proper CDN, serving static assets to faraway visitors is still a problem.

WordPress Setup #3 – Page Caching with CDN

Up until now,

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This article was written by Brian Li and originally published on Blog – Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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