Is Cloudflare Argo Worth It?

Cloudflare Argo reduces network latency by an average of 30% and connection errors by 27%. Traditional network technologies use static routing information, which can be slow and often uses congested paths.

Slow loading times and connection timeouts increase the chances of a poor user experience. The Cloudflare company routes 20% of all internet traffic. This provides them with real-time network intelligence and accurate speed of network paths.

Cloudflare’s Argo Smart Routing algorithm uses this information to route traffic along the fastest routes available while maintaining a secure connection and eliminating additional latency. Argo promotes content through Cloudflare’s 250+ server locations.

Cloudflare Argo Enabled

Cloudflare Argo response time

Above: Histogram of Time to First Byte (TTFB). The blue and orange series represent the before and after.

Although the majority of visitors to this blog are from the United States, about a third of visitors are from Europe. Britain, Germany and France are on top. That was one of the reasons why I decided to give Cloudflare Argo a test run.

In short, if you have a significant portion of international traffic,
It is more than worth a try.

If your entire web traffic is US-based, you will still see about 20% response time improvement based on your current TTFB. The 300 millisecond reduction of response time in Europe and Asia is a welcome addition, with page loads for this blog being around the one second mark.

Cloudflare Argo response time by geography

Above: Each circle represents the Cloudflare network location. The larger the circle, the more traffic is being served from that location.

TTFB measures the delay between sending the request to your server and receiving the first byte in the response. TTFB includes network transit time (which Argo’s Smart Routing optimizes for) and processing time on your server (which Argo does not affect. See graph below for Nginx’s response times for this blog).

Cloudflare Argo and my previous setup

Nginx Full Page Cache Stats Via Nginx Amplify

Above: screen crop Extending Nginx Illustrations (this blog). The response time spike was due to my WordPress admin back-end activity.

Without it Cloudflare Argo, I have used Cloudflare’s FPC (Full Page Caching) page rule For a 300ms reduction in cached response time.

with Cloudflare Argo, I used Nginx w/ fastcgi_cache for FPC, This means that all page requests, even not cachedare fast.

cloudflare page rules

Above: My current Cloudflare page rules. FPC can still be enabled here, but I prefer the flexibility with it.

The purpose of this blog is to set Cloudflare’s edge servers for statics to a maximum TTL (live/expiry time) of one month. Since there is no FPC enabled, there is no need to clear Cloudflare’s cache. This is more convenient than using Cloudflare FPC with a TTL of 4 hours or whatever the previous setting is.

Over the past year, with full-page caching enabled, I’ve found Cloudflare’s cache to be either part (new posts, categories, tags, and front pages) or the entire cache (and/or dev mode) during design changes. Had to clear it. or other global reasons. Since moving full page caching to Nginx and using Cloudflare Argo, blogs now have better overall response times for both cached and uncached requests.

cloudflare ergo bandwidth

Above: It shows my monthly Cloudflare bandwidth usage. Argo costs $5/domain monthly, plus $0.10 per GB transfer.

Cloudflare Argo Unique Visitors

Above: 30 days of unique visitors.

Cloudflare Argo – Conclusion

Update March 2022: i am using Bunny CDN (affiliate credit link) Using Cloudflare for statics on subdomains and to cover main domain caching. Previously, I had BunnyCDN for FPC via the global POP locations of this blog, however the benefits of Cloudflare’s full features meant placing it on the main domain. Check out my list of the best CDNs, which includes Cloudflare and Bunny CDNs.

I also measured the improvements using psdi and other equipment. Of course, when Cloudflare’s EDGE servers are set up to cache everything/FPC, it’s a bit faster to cache results. However, I wanted to get away from using Cloudflare’s FPC page rules without hitting the 300+ milliseconds on response times for my needs.

Argo allows EDGE cache TTL of 1 month for constants instead of 4 hours for FPC and this results in a much higher cache hit ratio. This only with 3-page rules, keeping costs low. Of course, you’re free to use Argo + cache everything page rules together if that suits your setup.

Considering that 300ms amounts to 30% of the total page load time of this blog (when including response time/TTFB), Cloudflare Argo makes a noticeable difference! It’s definitely not free; However, you do get the advertised improvements in response time.

Ultimately, if you’re obsessed with page speed and measurable performance improvements, you should give Cloudflare Argo a go. an affair,

note: views expressed are mine own opinion After using Cloudflare Argo for a few weeks. Your results may vary.

Updated: March 30, 2022

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