Cloudflare is one of the most popular CDN services available for WordPress and other websites. The popularity comes as many hosting companies offer free integration with their WordPress hosting plans. Though the free plan is sufficient for most of the users, their Pro plan offers additional features like bot protection and more page rules. However, with many CDN services available in the market, you may wish to cancel their subscription plan or want to switch the service. In this article, we will explain how you can do that without losing money and harming your site.
Cloudflare Pro Plan Problems
In our opinion, the free plan works much better than the pro plan as additional features can harm your site than protecting.
- Automatically applied WAF rules will block file uploads like theme and plugin uploads from your admin dashboard. You have to manually disable the firewall temporarily or permanently.
- Automatic bot blocking will stop legitimate users and user agents. For example, you can’t test page speed with Google PageSpeed Insights tool as Cloudflare will block that user agent access.
- The same problem happens with blocking WP-Cron jobs running with your own server’s IP. This will be absurd to block your own server IP activities.
- Duplicate and overlapping features like minify and WebP generation with most of the performance optimization plugins like SG Optimizer and WP Rocket.
- Their APO plugin does not make any difference in the page speed.
In summary, 20$ per month for a Pro plan is costlier than many CDN services available in the market. In addition, you should change the nameservers and route all the traffic through them for both free and pro Cloudflare plans. This is not required for other CDN services and you can always use security plugins to harden of your site’s security.
Stopping Cloudflare – Actions Before Cancelling the Service
Moving out of Cloudflare will bring downtime to your site due to nameserver change. You can avoid or reduce the downtime with the following precautions:
- Login to your account and click “Purge Cache” from the dashboard section. Alternatively, go to “Caching” section and purge everything. This will delete all the cached content and allow visitors to access the content from your hosting server.
- Pause the site so that only DNS will resolve through Cloudflare and allow the situation to prevail for few days.
- Check your Cloudflare DNS and make sure the emails and other services are not passing through their DNS.
- Finally, change the nameservers in your domain’s DNS zone editor to your hosting companies nameservers.
These things will avoid users seeing old content if you abruptly deactivate Cloudflare. When you change the nameservers, your visitors will start seeing the content directly from the hosting server. Though there may not much downtime, wait for the DNS to propagate completely. This may take up to 72 hours and after that you may setup new CDN without interfering with Cloudflare cache/DNS.
Cancel Cloudflare Subscription
Once your site is out of Cloudflare, next step is to remove the site and cancel your subscription. Purchasing is a simple process while cancelling the service is always painful and Cloudflare is not an exception. You have multiple options to cancel the subscription plan:
- Delete site and cancel the service
- Downgrade the premium to free plan if you want to use the service
- Stop preapproved payment from PayPal
Let us explain these options and the applicable scenarios.
1. Delete Site from Cloudflare Account
This is the correct process to cancel Cloudflare, stop the billing and get your site out of their platform.
- Login to your Cloudflare account and select the site that you want to cancel the subscription.
- This will take you to the dashboard and scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- From the sidebar, click “Remove Site from Cloudflare” link under “Advanced Actions” section.
- On the pop-up that appears, click “Confirm” to remove the site from your account.
As you can see in the pop-up, this will cancel the subscriptions associated with the site and stop the billing. You will receive an email mentioning the subscription is cancelled and the site has been removed from the account.
2. Downgrading to Free Plan
The only problem with the above cancellation is that you should cancel just few days before the end of billing cycle. Otherwise, you will lose the remaining service period as the site will be removed your account. To avoid that you can downgrade to free plan and remove the site whenever you need after the end of billing cycle. Your subscription will work till the end of current billing cycle and after that you can continue with free plan. This is also the only option when you want to downgrade from premium to free plan.
- When you are in Cloudflare account, click on your profile icon showing on top right corner and select “Billing” option.
- Go to “Subscriptions” section where you will see all your existing subscription details.
- Click on “Edit” link under the last “Action” column.
- You will see a pop-up showing all plans available in Cloudflare and select the “Free” plan and select 0 page rules to make the amount to $0.
- Scroll down a bit and you will see a notice that downgrading will not affect your current subscription till end of the billing cycle.
- Select the reason for downgrade and click “Continue” button.
- Now the “Service Status” column will be changed from “Renews on….” To “Ending on…” with indicated date of subscription end.
- Click on the small arrow to see the complete details about when the new free plan will be effective.
3. Stop PayPal Preapproved Payments
While cancelling the service make sure to remove the site from the account few days earlier than your billing date. If you remove on the last date, Cloudflare will still send you the invoice and try to change the default payment method available in your account. Since you should have at least one payment method, Cloudflare will not allow you to remove your default payment method. In this case, you will lose the money unnecessarily without using the service. Fortunately, you can still avoid this if you have used PayPal for payment. Otherwise, you can add PayPal and remove your credit card from the payment setup.
- When you purchased through PayPal, Cloudflare will setup automatic recurring payments.
- Go to your PayPal account and click on the settings button.
- Under “Payments” tab, click on “Manage automatic payments” button.
- Select Cloudflare from the sidebar under “Show action” option.
- Click “Cancel” button and on the right pane and confirm to stop payments to Cloudflare.
You can learn more about cancelling automatic payments in PayPal in this guide. Cloudflare will send you emails that payment method is not working and try to charge again. Finally, they will remove your site from the account and stop the service which is anyway the intended result you want.