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How to Configure W3 Total Cache Cloudflare Settings For Best Result

Are you using the W3 Total Cache Cloudflare settings to make your WordPress site load faster? If yes, then this is an excellent choice to boost your website speed with optimized Total Cache settings.

Previously, I have mentioned that to build a really fast website optimizing your server response performance is really necessary. And the next essential step to build a faster website is configuring a caching plugin. Using a caching plugin is very necessary to increase the site performance because it covers a majority of requirements to optimize a site.

The combination of a reliable & fast hosting, a good caching plugin plus CDN can result in stunning website performance. For example, Cloudways Hosting + W3 total cache + Cloudflare is a great combination to get a suitable site performance.

I use the W3 total cache Cloudflare settings in conjunction with MilesWeb hosting, which is currently #one of the most rated web hosting among the managed web hosting service providers.  

w3 total cache Cloudflare settings for your WordPress site

Most of the settings in the W3 total cache is preconfigured, but still, there is some space that you should have to go through and configure according to your need. And of course, these configurations will impact on the final result. Here I will go through the most important Performance Tab of w3 total cache plugin and externally I will help you to setup Cloudflare with the total cache to boost up the performance even more.

Now let’s start with the Pingdom test tool. (this was a result of my homepage after using this configuration). You will also get this kind of result but first, test your website with this great tool and know about your current status. If you find something similar to this then power to you that you have already an optimized website. But if not follow the steps below one by one carefully.

cloudflare-test
cloudflare-test

  The grade and score by this tool may be different for the different page of your website. This depends on the number of images, external javascript and other external stuff present on that page. Anyway go ahead and traverse through different pages of your website and see typically how fast they load. Whenever your test is complete and you have found a few problems with your site, follow the steps below as stated.

General w3 total cache settings

Inside the admin dashboard, you will find the general settings under total cache plugin. If you need more information just see the image below.

General w3 total cache settings
General w3 total cache settings

  And when the general setting dashboard appears, apply these configurations appropriately.

general-settings-total-cache
general-settings-total-cache

Next step:

general-settings-total-cache-2
general-settings-total-cache-2

Next step:

general-settings-total-cache-3
general-settings-total-cache-3

Again:

general-settings-total-cache-4
general-settings-total-cache-4

And the last step:

general-settings-total-cache-5
general-settings-total-cache-5

  Also, configure the settings for google page speed insight inside your total cache dashboard using API. You can find the step by step instructions in your W3 total cache dashboard. The result will be displayed like this.

Google-Page-Speed-WordPress-Dashboard
Google-Page-Speed-WordPress-Dashboard

Now it’s time to optimize your webpage caches by applying w3 total cache Cloudflare duo configuration.

Page cache

page_cache_1
page_cache_1
page_cache_2
page_cache_2
page_cache_3
page_cache_3

  Remember that enabling the compatibility mode is highly recommended by the plugin developer as it optimizes the interoperability of caching. Enabling this can reduce the loading speed a little but ensure that there will be less likely to have any problems with your site.

Minifying configuration

Minifying configuration is already configured according to the developer. Database and object cache are also properly preset. You can find this information in the install tab. If you are using Cloudflare minification then make sure minification is turned off in total cache setting as Cloudflare minification can take care of this.

W3-Total-Cache-Install-Tab-1
W3-Total-Cache-Install-Tab-1

Database cache and Object cache

Leave it as default.

Browser cache

browser_cache_1
browser_cache_1
browser-cache_2
browser-cache_2
browser-cache-3-w3 total cache cloudflare
browser-cache_3

  Don’t make any changes to those settings which developer has mentioned as preset. Including the expire header and its lifetime.

Configure W3 Total Cache Cloudflare CDN

CDN is a very important term for your website. Without a CDN, you will only have one origin server for your website which can or can’t be very far away for people. But if the server is far away from your visitors they will experience a bad loading time. So establishing a CDN for your WordPress site is a really important task. You have options available to configure a CDN in w3 total cache setting. Here’s how to configure it properly. For this example, I will use Cloudflare CDN as it is free to use and accessible to everyone. Inside the settings, tab enables the CDN option and later put the name of CDN you will use. (Cloudflare)

configure-w3 total cache cloudflare
configure-w3-total-cache-cloudflare

Extensions

W3-Total-Cache-cloudflare-Extensions
W3-Total-Cache-Extensions

  Inside the extension tab of W3 total cache, you can enable the configuration any feature you like to use. So to use Cloudflare you need to enable it.

W3-Total-Cache-CloudFlare-Activation
W3-Total-Cache-CloudFlare-Activation

  After activating the Cloudflare option click on the settings below it and it will lead you to a new dashboard to configure the settings properly.

cloudflare_stings
cloudflare_stings
cloudflare_stings
cloudflare_sting

Caching level

You can use any of the given settings according to the requirement to your website. But most of the user normally use the aggressive caching including myself.

Hotlink protection

This helps you to protect your images from spam sites. Whenever someone uses your images directly with the image link then it increases the server load on your hosting. So to save the CPU uses hotlink protection must be enabled. You can enable it from your Cpanel too. Always try to check your incoming external links in google search console to make sure your site is not having a load of spam links. Remember that more SEO backlinks you get, the higher rank you will achieve. When you have correctly configured everything inside the total cache setting, now you need to go to your Cloudflare dashboard. If you don’t have a Cloudflare account, create one here. After signing up you will have a new window where you have to put your website address to scan by Cloudflare. Like the image below,

w3_total_cache_cloudflare
w3_total_cache_cloudflare

  After typing your site address click on add site and scroll down the rubbish list and click on continue. Then choose free Cloudflare package and continue. At this stage, Cloudflare will provide two name server (NS record) which you have to put into your hosting DNS record instead of your current name servers. Don’t afraid as changing your name server with Cloudflare ND records won’t create any problem to your website visibility.

Cloudflare-Missing-Records
Cloudflare-Missing-Records
Cloudflare-Missing-Record
Cloudflare-Missing-Record

  If you find it difficult to configure the DNS record search in Google Search as [ your hosting name+ DNS record configuration ] You will find the way to fix it easily. Now after confirming your DNS records go to the Cloudflare site speed dashboard and follow the settings as in the image below.

Cloudflare-Speed-Settings
Cloudflare-Speed-Settings

Page Rule settings

Now go to your page rule configuration. And follow the settings below according to the images, to create a good page rule.

page-rule-settings
page-rule-settings
page-rule-settings
page-rule-settings

Now when you are done with the page rule go to your WordPress admin dashboard and clear your all cache. ( purge all caches)

Some Issues With W3 total cache

The website is not appearing: Disable the minify option to fix this. Slower load time compared to previous load time: Disable the object cache and sometimes wait for till next pagination. The website crashed: Open your WP-config file and remove these codes.

/** Enable W3 Total Cache */ define('WP_CACHE', true); // Added by W3 Total Cache

Also, remove the lines of your .htaccess file between

# BEGIN W3TC ... # END W3TC

Don’t forget to include these two lines too. If that still not fix the site crash issue then, delete advanced-cache.php, objectcache.php, and db.php from wp-content. Also, delete the w3-total-cache folder in wp-content/plugins. Conclusion: using these settings you can easily get a suitable site performance and save lots of extra CPU uses. So try to configure the settings properly and everytime check the website while changing anything. If it goes wrong then rollback the settings and thus get the proper setting for your website. Remember, to get something really good you need to perform some experiments yourself. Yet, I hope this guide will definitely help you figure out the things how to configure w3 total cache Cloudflare settings properly.  

About the Author Jon

I am a 33 year old husband, father of 3, engineer and a huge fan of developing systems to build useful and profitable websites. The reason I build online businesses is to provide financial independence for my family and yours AND so I can spend time outside skiing and biking with my family.
Jon Gillham, Online Entrepreneur

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