What I learned about CloudFlare & WordPress

Cloudflare is a network that allows websites & applications the ability to utilize its services to increase performance and security. By allowing Cloudflare to manage your traffic, you gain access to 200+ unique locations, an intelligent website firewall & a bunch of other performance or security enhancing features.

Aaron here and I wish to spit some mad knowledge about what I’ve learned about Cloudflare, WordPress and utilizing it to accelerate and protect sites. This short story comes from the early days of Rocket (Feb 2020) and a few AHA moments I had when interacting with Ben (Rocket CEO).  If you’d like to just skip the dramatics screenplay & enjoy managed WordPress hosting, powered by Cloudflare, go here now!

What is Cloudflare?

Cloudflare is a network that allows websites & applications the ability to utilize its services to increase performance and security. By allowing Cloudflare to manage your traffic, you gain access to 200+ unique locations, an intelligent website firewall & a bunch of other performance or security enhancing features.

For the technically inclined readers, this means CDN (Content Distribution Network), WAF (Website Application Firewall), Image Optimization, Full Page Caching, Hardened Firewall Rules that include priority Edge access from origin servers to Cloudflare Network, blah blah blah…….

Cloudflare Free vs Paid

Cloudflare offers a Free Plan, which is designed for hobbyists or individuals that need basic DNS and CDN services. In the wild, this is most often seen as an offering from low cost shared hosting providers, which Cloudflare has partnered with. The Cloudflare Free plan does not include WAF, Image Optimization, and access to the Cloudflare premium network.

Why Cloudflare offers a Free Plan?

I’m glad you asked and my conspiracy theory is threefold. One, they needed data and what better way to gather security & performance intelligence than live websites from hosting providers around the world. Two, they needed exposure – and in partnering with tech companies (hosting providers) – they could expand the brand quickly. Three, in general they are good people & perhaps Matthew Prince (CEO) just wanted to give back. Seriously, he is a good dude.

Paid Cloudflare

Cloudflare Pro starts out at $20/month and has WAF (Web Application Firewall) and provides you with a more robust feature set, it however still lacks priority access to their premium network available on the higher paid plans. The Business & Enterprise plans include all the features needed to maximum security & utilization of the priority Cloudflare network.

Do it Myself Cloudflare?

So, when Ben (Rocket CEO) started telling me how he was going to integrate with Cloudflare to make setup seamless for users,

I thought… “It can’t be that hard to get this Cloudflare setup with one of my WordPress sites, hold my beer while I go do it!”  Over the next 3 days, I consumed knowledge base articles, tutorials, WordPress plugin installs, and much more.

Reality Strikes

After realizing there wasn’t a Cloudflare wizards, I found this great article and read it twice.

It seemed at first (based a quick glance) that I’d be able to click a single button and a fully optimized WordPress + Cloudflare configuration – but this is not the case.


I was pretty happy to find the magical wizard button, but was soon deflated as I had 12 steps to go before I could use it. Sigh. 

So many Rules!

Cloudflare provides a robust website firewall (aka WAF) & to configure it, one must understand the language of RULES. Not like plain English rules, rules written by developers:

What about full page caching?

Cloudflare offers a page rule known as “cache everything”. Now, this is a great feature! This allows me to cache my entire WordPress website in every Cloudflare location… right? Sorta. While I can use the cache everything functionality on my Cloudflare plan, I can’t effectively use it without breaking user experience. I quickly learned Cloudflare has another feature… “Bypass cache on cookie” and using this would allow me to not cache the admin bar for visitors, not break blog comments, run my WooCommerce store…but wait… it’s $200 a month per domain.

Managed WordPress & Cloudflare

Is he (Ben) still holding by beer, three days later? Yup and he’s also quite pleased with himself, knowing that I have been struggling to set up one of my WordPress sites with all the cool Cloudflare features, only to be sent down multiple rabbit holes that required ninja like DevOps skills to pull off miracles laced with RegEx!

You automated it, didn’t you?
Yes, and bundled it with every WordPress account that is created on the Rocket platform.

We spent countless hours developing the right rule sets for WordPress hosting, tweaking, testing, and automating Cloudflare so that it’s instantly on for every website, via a simple DNS change. Rocket directly integrates with Cloudflare Enterprise Network via API & together with the right configuration a premium WordPress experience can be obtained effortlessly. And because it’s managed you never have to worry about the tech stuff.