If you want to speed your site as much as possible you might be wondering about getting a CloudFlare APO subscription or implementing Full Page Caching via Page Rules.
I had already implemented Full Page Caching via Page Rules when CloudFlare APO was introduced.
I deleted the page rules and I gave CloudFlare APO a try for a couple of months and then I canceled the service.
I kept the thought that CloudFlare APO wasn’t that necessary if you implement full page caching via Page Rules.
Brian Li on CloudFlare APO
A few months later, I decided to challenge my beliefs about CloudFlare APO and found an article by Brian Li.
The article explains some of the misconceptions that people have about CloudFlare, including the idea that CloudFlare APO and Full Page Caching are the same.
Brian says this about superiority of CloudFlare APO:
Unlike Cloudflare APO, using a “cache everything” page rule doesn’t provide you with a global replication layer that automatically copies HTML to data centers around the world.
With a “cache everything” page rule configured, a request to your site from Tokyo will only result in a page being cached in Tokyo. With APO, a request to your site from Tokyo will trigger Cloudflare to store the HTML page in Workers KV, which automatically replicates across Cloudflare’s global network within 60 seconds. To put it simply, APO effectively decentralizes your site’s origin by mirroring your site across Cloudflare’s global edge network.4 Misconceptions About Cloudflare Automatic Platform Optimization (APO) for WordPress
So I think those statements settles the debate for once and for all.
Do I pay for CloudFlare APO?
I pay for a CloudFlare APO subscription only when I think the sites deserves it.
For new sites or sites not getting a lot of traffic, Full Page Caching is the one in place.
If your site is making hundreds of dollars, I don’t see paying $5 a month a big deal.