Fourth scenario: Full Zoning & Paid Tier (Pro plan)
If you do pay for Cloudflare and use their services, including paid ones like Argo, the load time in Australia of our test website was: 5.641s
This is much better than partial zoning, but only on par when Cloudflare was not in use.
The issue with Cloudflare in Australia
Australia is in a particularly undesirable situation with Cloudflare. Their closest server is based in Singapore and is the reason for these deplorable statistics. Singapore is geographically very far away from Australia.
Fifth scenario: Singaporean loading time, Partial Zoning & Free Tier
The load time in Singapore for the website using fremium from Cloudflare is not spectacular regardless of using Cloudflare's Singaporean server, the load time is now: 6.792s
This is still slower than our website's Australian traffic without Cloudflare and only half a second faster than when we look at Australian traffic for partial zoning & free tier.
The free plugin and free services from Cloudlfare given to you by your web host is not that great after all.
Sixth scenario: Singaporean loading time, Full Zoning & Paid Tier
The load time for the above scenario is: 3.782s
So Cloudflare does improve your speed internationally, with the caveat being the location. What we can take from this, is that for Cloudflare to work best, you need:
- Full Zoning. Cloudflare must manage your DNS
- Paid Tier & paid services must be used to see a benefit
But let's not stop here. There's a few more layers to this...
Seventh scenario: Singaporean loading time, Full Zoning & Free Tier
The performance for this is not too bad, better than Australian load time without Cloudlfare, but markedly worse than when you had paid services: 5.004s
Further testing: Does Content Management System Matter?
We will now do a quick test with a Joomla website. All the above stats are based on a WordPress website. This Joomla website is using Full Zoning & Paid Tier. The Australian load time is: 5.003s
This is the Singaporean load time: 3.942s
Is Railgun any good?
This test involves the partially zoned, free tier website. Recall that the Australian load time is: 7.215s
With Railgun, the loading time is: 6.614s
This is slower than a setup without Cloudflare and not enough improvement
If you are in Australia and do not have much international visitors, do not use Cloudflare. If you are outside Australia, results may differ. For example with Singapore, website load times perform extremely well.
If you are in Australia but have international visitors, using Cloudflare is good, but only if you are in the paid tiers.