Setting up the Free Cloudflare Plan for your WordPress Site

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Do you need caching for your site? Do you need a Free Cloudflare Plan for your WordPress site? What is caching? I’ll give you a simple free solution for sites using Cloudflare’s free caching plan.

A Quick Summary:

Every WordPress website needs a caching service, and most sites can easily begin with a free plan. Cloudflare offers a free Cloudflare plan that is a great starter plan and can easily be integrated with any WordPress site.

What you need to know:

Caching is when a site stores copies of its files in a cache (a temporary computing environment) so that the cached content can be accessed quickly by the reader.  Without caching, visitors have to download web pages every time whenever they visit your website. Caching enables fast websites, better user experiences, and higher ranking on Google.

To have an efficient WordPress website, you need a caching solution – either a free plugin or a paid service. Cloudflare offers an awesome free plan that can be installed on any WordPress site.

My recommendation:

If you do not have a caching solution, or are looking for a free simple caching plan, I recommend that you take advantage of the free Cloudflare plan that can easily be integrated into any WordPress website.

Your next steps:

If you already have a WordPress website hosted with Bigscoots managed hosting, click here to read a caching tutorial just for you.

If you don’t have a site on WordPress (or are considering transferring), consider Bigscoots hosting and their included caching plan for your new site. Read more here.

If you have a WordPress site not Bigscoots, read below to learn how to set up the free Cloudflare plan for your site.

What is Caching?

Your website is built with hundreds of files that need to be downloaded for every pageview. There are HTML files, PHP files, text files, CSS files, and more. Every pageview downloads all of these.

If your site has a cache (pronounced “cash”), your site will store copies of your website’s pages temporarily for that reader and serves them for every pageview. This makes every page load faster.

Faster websites provide better user experiences, and also help your site rank higher in search engine results.

And, many times caching plugins are added to WordPress sites you need to clear your site cache every time you update content in order to clear outdated static files.

The different kinds of Caching

  1. Caching included with a Host – A lot of managed hosts include a caching service, like Bigscoots. If your site has a managed host with a caching solution, you won’t need to install another type of caching. But it is useful to integrate that caching with your WordPress site so you can clear the cache within your WordPress Dashboard.
  2. Free Caching Services – There are a lot of free caching plugins that work great. If you are on a budget or just starting your website, I recommend starting with a free caching service. Cloudflare has a free plan that works with the free Cloudflare WordPress plugin. Keep reading below to learn how to set it up.
  3. Paid Caching Services – For professional websites or new businesses, it might be beneficial to invest in a paid caching service. Cloudflare’s Pro plan starts at $20/mo. You can see the pricing here. To find out which plan works for you, you can take this quiz here.

Using the free Cloudflare plan

If your site is not hosted on a managed plan with Bigscoots (or if you are using a shared plan with Bigscoots that doesn’t include Cloudflare, here is how you set up the free Cloudflare plan for your site.

01. Creating a free Cloudflare account

  • Click here to view all Cloudflare accounts, and click the Free Plan and “Add a Website”.
  • Continue to set up your account and create a username and password.
  • Click “Websites” on the left and add your new domain.
  • Follow these directions to add Cloudflare’s nameservers to your domain registrar.

02. Your Domain Registrar

  • Your domain registrar is where you registered your domain. This might be with your host if you began your domain on the same platform that is hosting your site (ie. in Bluehost if you “chose a domain and get hosting” all with the same plan). This might be with a company like Namecheap that registers domain separately from hosting.
  • If you don’t know where your registrar is, contact your host’s customer support and ask them.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable changing nameservers with your registrar, reach out to the registrar’s support and ask them to help you change nameservers.
  • Here are directions for updating the Cloudflare nameservers on Namecheap.

03. Connecting Cloudflare to Namecheap

  • In Cloudflare, click on your domain, and view “Overview”.
  • Navigate to “#3 Update your nameservers”.
  • View two new nameservers that need to be updated with your registrar.
  • Login to Namecheap and click Domain List > the “Manage” to the right of the correct domain.
  • Click the first tab “Domain”
  • View the 3rd section called “Nameservers”
  • Choose the dropdown “Custom DNS” and replace the two nameservers there with the two you copied from Cloudflare.
  • Save
  • Click “Check Nameservers Now” in Cloudflare.
  • Your domain should be verified.
Do you need caching for your site? Do you need a Free Cloudflare Plan for your WordPress site? What is caching? I'll give you a simple free solution for sites using Cloudflare's free caching plan.

Disclaimer. It is possible to cause issues with your domain if you unsucessfully update your nameservers. Before changing your nameservers, always save the default versions as backups. If you find errors when you update your nameservers, contact your domain registrar’s customer service and ask their help to update to the new Cloudflare’s records.

04. Adding the Cloudflare WordPress plugin to WordPress

  • Log in to your WordPress Dashboard
  • Go to Plugins and add the “Super Page Cache for Cloudflare” Cloudflare WordPress plugin. You can also download it here.
  • Click Settings
  • Add the Cloudflare email address that you are using, and the Global API key found under Profile > API Tokens.
  • Update Settings
  • Choose your domain
  • Update Settings again
  • You’re done!

Using the Free cloudflare Plan and WordPress plugin Daily on your site

Now when you log into your WordPress dashboard, you will see a “CF Cache” in the top menu bar. Click “Purge whole Cache” every time you update your site, and your site will automatically load the newest content. If your site feels slow, you can also clear the cache.

If you ever have a reader complain of not seeing the latest content on your site, you can clear your cache to make sure they see the latest content.

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