Thanks to Google’s page speed experience updates, page speed has become one of the most important factors for website owners. If you are using platforms like WordPress with premium web hosting, it is easy to fix speed related problems. For example, you can use premium caching plugins like WP Rocket in WordPress to fix issues like reduce unused CSS/JS, lazy load images and 100/100 score to pass Core Web Vitals. However, it is not possible to do any external optimizations with platforms like Weebly as you can’t access the server. The alternate way is to use content delivery network or CDN services that can help you fix speed problems and improve page loading speed.
Free Cloudflare CDN
Cloudflare is a free content delivery network that offers content distribution through their edge servers. In addition, you can get security protection by stopping bots DDoS attacks and brute force attacks. So, this is an ideal option for website owners to improve the speed with no cost. However, to setup Cloudflare CDN you need to route the website’s traffic through their system. You need the following requirements for connecting Weebly site and Cloudflare CDN:
- A free Cloudflare account
- Custom domain connected to your Weebly site
- Access to DNS zone editor to change nameservers
Unfortunately, it is not possible to connect a free Weebly site to Cloudflare CDN. You should have connected a custom domain to your Weebly site. This domain could be from Weebly or from any other domain registrars like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
Setup Cloudflare CDN in Weebly Site
If you do not have a Cloudflare account, go to their website and register for a free account.
1. Adding Weebly Site in Cloudflare
Login to your free Cloudflare account and you will land on the dashboard section. It will show you a list of all previously connected sites and click on “Add a Site” button showing on top of the list. Alternatively, you can also select “Add site” option from the navigation menu as shown in the below picture.
On the next screen, enter your Weebly domain name and click “Add site” button.
You will see the pricing plan page with the premium plans starting from $20 per month. Scroll down and select a free plan and click “Continue” button.
Cloudflare will scan your DNS records and show the current setup. You can check all A record type are showing the proxy status as “Proxied”. This will show as an orange cloud symbol with an arrow passing through. It indicates that your site’s traffic will pass through Cloudflare setup before reaching Weebly’s server. You can review the DNS records setup and click “Continue” button. Don’t worry!!! This is only a display view of your DNS records and Cloudflare will not change any entries in the record.
2. Getting DNS Nameservers Details
At this point, you have basically added your Weebly site in Cloudflare. However, to finish the setup you need to get the Cloudflare nameserver details. When you click on “Continue” button in the above screen, Cloudflare will show your current nameservers along with the new server details. You can also see the steps to replace your existing nameservers with Cloudflare servers.
In our case, below are the Cloudflare nameservers, it may be different in your case.
3. Changing Nameservers of Weebly Domain
As you see in the above screenshot, Cloudflare automatically detects the domain registrar as GoDaddy and shows the current nameservers. We have registered our domain at GoDaddy and explain here how to change nameservers from GoDaddy account. If you have purchased domain from Weebly, you can go to “Domains” section in your Weebly account and change the nameservers in the DNS. If you have any problem, get in touch with Weebly support to change the DNS setup.
- Login to your domain registrar account (GoDaddy in our case) and access the DNS zone editor.
- Go to “Nameservers” section and click on “Change” button.
- On the pop-up that appears, select “Enter my own name servers (advanced)” option.
- Enter Cloudflare nameserver details and click “Save” button. You will see a message that DNS changes will take time to reflect.
- After successfully changing, the nameservers section will show Cloudflare servers as shown below.
4. Testing and Accessing Cloudflare Dashboard
When you are done with nameserver change, go back to your Cloudflare account and click on “Done, check nameservers” button. Cloudflare will ask you to configure the recommended settings. Click on “Configure recommendations” button proceed further.
You will see a list of items and click “Apply recommendation” button to immediately change the setup. Otherwise, skip recommendations to go back to your dashboard section and manually configure the settings.
Note that any change in DNS setup needs up to 48 hours to propagate all part of the world. During this time, your site may not be accessible in some countries while accessible in other countries. Due to this reason, you may find the dashboard section shows your site is not yet active on Cloudflare. This is normal and wait sometime for the DNS nameserver changes to be effective.
Cloudflare will periodically check your DNS and update the dashboard. However, you can manually click on “Check nameservers” button to verify the site is successfully added in the account. Once everything is correct, you will see the traffic analytics data showing in “Overview” section as below.
5. Configure Cloudflare Settings
You can go through each setting in Cloudflare from the sidebar menu and configure required items for your Weebly site. Here are some of the important settings from the speed improvement perspective. Go to “Speed > Overview” section to see the improvement Cloudflare brings to your Weebly site.
You can enable “Auto Minify” option under “Speed > Optimization” section to reduce the size of CSS/HTML/JS files. Similarly, enable Brotli compression to serve compressed files and improve the loading speed.
Similarly, go to “Caching > Configuration” section and enable “Caching Level” as “Standard”.
From the security perspective, go to “Firewall > Bots” section and enable “Bot Fight Mode”. This will help you to block automated blocks that try to attack your site.
Troubleshooting Cloudflare Setup with Weebly
Cloudflare has plenty of settings that you can navigate through from the sidebar menu and configure for your Weebly site. However, you need to be careful when enabling certain settings which could potentially break the setup. Check the following when you have problem with Cloudflare setup.
- Make sure your A records are pointed to correct Weebly IP address and enable Cloudflare proxy only for A records. Generally, for emails (MX record) and other domain records (TXT), you should use Weebly IP address for them to work properly.
- In Cloudflare, use “Full” or “Flexible” option for SSL/TSL setup. You may need to test the site when changing this option to make sure your site is always loading with HTTPS protocol.
- If you see broken layouts, disable JS or CSS minify settings and test your site again.
- When you change theme or add additional services on your Weebly site, it is better to clear the Cloudflare cache by clicking on “Purge Everything” button available under “Caching > Configuration” section.
You can remove the site from Cloudflare at any point to disable the setup and serve pages from Weebly server.
It is easy to setup Cloudflare CDN in Weebly site and reduce the page loading speed and improve SEO. This helps delivering content to your visitors from the nearest Cloudflare server instead of Weebly server. However, Weebly’s custom DNS setup may create some problems when you change nameservers. If the above listed troubleshooting options did not resolve your issue, you may need to contact Weebly support for changing the settings of your domain.
Great article very helpful – hope to try this one day!