How to Set Up Cloudflare for WordPress

Having a secure and fast website is crucial to building a business in a modern economy. Customers turn to websites to learn more about a company, compare features, services, and prices, and read reviews and testimonials as they research their best options.

Cloudflare is a tool that can help you maintain an effective, optimized site that works for your customers as much as it does your business. Continue reading our guide to learn more about Cloudflare, what it can do for you, and how to set up Cloudflare for WordPress. 

What Is Cloudflare for WordPress?

Cloudflare Defining the Edge graphic

Screenshot via Cloudflare

Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) that prioritizes security and speed. When you run Cloudflare on a WordPress site, you can benefit from connecting to the network’s secure global data centers to help your site’s visitors load your pages quickly and reliably. 

It’s important to note that Cloudflare isn’t a hosting provider. You host your WordPress site with a website host, like Siteground or Bluehost. In contrast, Cloudflare stores copies of your website and all of its content through caching, allowing it to load quickly on visitors’ browsers, regardless of whether they visit from a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. A fast-loading website not only makes your visitors’ experience better, but it’s also an SEO ranking factor.

In addition to holding these copies of your site, Cloudflare monitors, identifies, and prevents threats from harming your site. For instance, Cloudflare can detect when bots attempt to log in or spam your website and enact measures to prevent any potential attacks that could interfere with data security or a working website.

WordPress already implements several features for speed and security, but pairing it with Cloudflare can maximize both.

How to Set Up Cloudflare for WordPress 

Cloudflare WordPress Plugin screenshot

Screenshot via Cloudflare WordPress Plugin

Are you ready to install Cloudflare for WordPress? Follow the steps below to learn how to set up Cloudflare easily with the Cloudflare WordPress plugin.

Step 1: Create Your Cloudflare Account

First, you need to go to Cloudflare to create an account. Head to the sign-up page and input your email address and a password you’d like to use for your account. Then, click Create Account. Choose the plan you’d like to sign up for.

Step 2: Configure Cloudflare

Now, you need to add your site. Enter your site’s URL in the box in the Cloudflare setup process and click Add Site. Cloudflare then shows you a list of all DNS records it finds for your site. Search the list to ensure that it includes your primary domain, as you want this to pass through Cloudflare. You can enable and disable any DNS records that you don’t want passing through Cloudflare during this step. When everything looks good, click Continue.

Next, you must update your nameservers with your website host to reflect the changes you made with Cloudflare. In a new browser tab, navigate to your host’s control panel in the DNS or Nameservers tab. Select the appropriate domain. Replace the nameservers’ information in your account with those given by Cloudflare. Be sure to save your changes. Go back to your Cloudflare account and indicate that you’ve made the changes.

Your host should let you know how long the changes should take. In most cases, the update can take 24-72 hours.

Step 3: Install and Configure the Cloudflare WordPress Plugin

Finally, it’s time to install the Cloudflare WordPress plugin. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign into your WordPress Admin panel.
  2. Navigate to Plugins and click Add New.
  3. Search for the Cloudflare WordPress plugin in the search bar. Click Install Now and Activate.
  4. Go to SettingsCloudflare.
  5. Click Get your API key from here.
  6. In the new window, navigate to API Tokens View. Enter your password to see your API key. 
  7. Copy the API key and paste it into the area in the Cloudflare WordPress plugin settings. Save to complete the setup.

Now, you can browse through Cloudflare’s options and settings to personalize its capabilities on your website.

Cloudflare for WordPress Plugin Plans

Cloudflare offers three plans for WordPress users: Free, Free + APO, and Pro.

The free plan includes fast DNS, a universal SSL certificate, web analytics, and access to Cloudflare’s CDN network with more than 200 global locations.

With Free + APO for $5/month, Cloudflare adds Automatic Platform Optimization for WordPress (APO). All you need to do is toggle the feature ‘On’ with the Cloudflare WordPress plugin to get as much as 72% faster loading speeds for your WordPress site.

Pro is $20/month, adding security with a Web Application Firewall (WAF) and speed with lossless image optimization and accelerated mobile page loads.

Using Cloudflare for WordPress

Adding Cloudflare to your WordPress site can optimize speed and security using Cloudflare’s global network of data centers. The Cloudflare WordPress plugin offers the most straightforward way to add Cloudflare to your WordPress site.

Be sure to download share buttons for Cloudflare to allow easy one-click sharing of your content to the most popular social networks.

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