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I've had a website for a while and I'm using the free Cloudflare CDN. My host is a fairly cheap shared one.

I noticed that my website feels a bit slow when it is first loaded. I ran a Google Pagespeed Insights test and received a red flag for Server Response Time, which was 1 second. It consistently scores around the second mark, although every now and then it gets <0.3 seconds.

Does Cloudflare even help with this metric? How can I reduce the server response time on the cheap?

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Some questions to consider:

  • How is your caching model set?
  • Is priority set for Origin servers, to respect your aging headers, or to Cloudflare?
  • When you examine your HTTP request logs do you see items in the logs which should be served by your CDN?
  • Do you have cagey developers who are placing all sorts of dynamic parameters on static resources which are keeping them from being cached as static resources
  • Do you have too early allocation of an Origin-bound resource, such as giving out a default shopping cart, which forces a relationship with the longest path servers with the clients?

These are just a few off the top of my head. I know I was looking at a client's HTTP logs just a couple of days ago and found that their caching model was all messed up. They also had Cloudflare and couldn't have been getting a very high cache hit ratio from what I observed.

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