How we reduced bandwidth by 4X

One of the sites I run has been growing a lot lately. Late last year as the traffic grew, page load times started going up. We already had a lot of things optimized, it runs on a server a bit more powerful than my Macbook Air. I had tried Cloudflare in its early days and had complaints from several people that it was very aggressive with its security captchas. I gave Cloudflare another try (with low security settings) and the results were phenomenal. Not just our page speed increased, it just dropped our bandwidth to almost half. Since November we have increased our traffic 2.5X and as you can see bandwidth started increasing back again in February. This is when I setup minimum expire TTL (in Cloudflare settings) to 1 Year and that gave us another drop in the bandwidth usage. This helps with the returning users, not so much with the new users.

We have increased our traffic around 2.5X and reduce the bandwidth to half (perhaps more). If someone is not using Cloudflare’s free CDN and other features like auto minify JS, CSS and HTML they are missing out. No matter what the traffic is, your users and server will thank you.

We have also experimented with Varnish and a few other things, but haven’t been able to set it up with a very high cache rate yet. More on that later.

You should follow me on Twitter at @gsharma.