Can Cloudflare Actually Hurt Your Website’s SEO? (Case Study)

Does Using Cloudflare Hurt My SEO?

There have been many ifs and buts on the correlation of Cloudflare SEO. However, the debate still remains open-ended leaving people skeptical on “Whether Cloudflare will impact my website’s ranking or not?

We have been using Cloudflare for almost 4 years now. Undoubtedly, their service is great (and free!) and we even recommend it to our clients for DNS, Caching, Security, and CDN.

An Unusual Case of a Sudden SEO Ranking Drop –

Back on a Friday afternoon in late April, I received an urgent call from one of our clients, Vikas, (Owner,, worried over losing their SEO rank on almost all their top keywords and their organic traffic had almost dropped to zero.

Imagine all the years’ hard work put in to reach the top in SEO and losing all of that in a moment.

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cloudflare seo

Unsure of how and why this happened, his SEO team rolled back every possible change done in last 7 days including any plugin addition or edits but nothing worked in their favour.

We rolled back whatever minor changes were done in the server-side settings in hope to see a positive sign.

But…nothing happened.

Expecting to find a possible breakthrough, we thoroughly checked the Google Webmasters to get answers to the sudden dip in the SEO traffic.

After hours of brainstorming sessions with the client and his team, we had almost thought of succumbing to the situation. Fortunately, we came across a few posts that hinted at Cloudflare being the culprit for SEO ranking drop:

At first, we were a little sceptical about this step as had been using the Cloudflare Pro plan for over a year without any problems.

Moreover, we had never faced such an issue in any of our own websites or websites of our clients that use Cloudflare.

But the gravity of the situation demanded to think beyond previous experiences and logic. So Vikas gave us a green signal and we went ahead with disabling CloudFlare on the night of 29th April.


He called me up on 30th April morning to inform that their SEO ranking is back on Google’s first page and the organic traffic has started to get back on track.

Both Vikas and I were still not 100% convinced that Cloudflare could be the culprit and thought it might be coincidental.

So we decided to open a ticket to Cloudflare support. As expected, their support also said that such a drop in SEO could only be coincidental.

cloudflare seo issues

Cloudflare issues

Since it was a critical issue for Vikas as a business owner, a proper closure was required. We decided to enable Cloudflare once again and see if the SEO is impacted.

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To our surprise, the same SEO dip happened again just hours after we enabled Cloudflare. And yet again, the rankings came back to normal after we finally disabled Cloudflare.

cloudflare seo issue Cloudflare SEO

Now, the question “How Cloudflare could possibly hurt my website’s SEO?” had to be answered.

So what actually happens when you enable CloudFlare?

  1. Your site is no longer served from its original IP, that is, the IP of your server. But it is going to have the IP of the proxy server i.e. Cloudflare.
  2. The IP will change depending on the geolocation of the requesting client. This means, Cloudflare basically becomes your DNS.
  3. Your site will share those IPs with many other sites using the Cloudflare service. Those sites could be big enterprises or a spammer or malware, distributor.


So, it seems a bad neighborhood or a shared IP might have done the damage here but we do not have any evidence to back this claim except the observations and graphs shared. Try using a dedicated IP address if this is the case.

As we mentioned before, drops in SEO rankings when going behind Cloudflare rarely happen.

Unless you end up sharing an IP with a network of websites that could potentially get that IP demoted with Google.

This is a one-off case we came across out of hundreds of websites we manage that use Cloudflare services.

Looking for CloudFlare Alternative Redirect Image Cloudflare SEO

I hope this case study helps others make their decisions based on facts and not rumours.

If you have a similar story to share, we would love to hear that in the comment section below!

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109 thoughts on “Can Cloudflare Actually Hurt Your Website’s SEO? (Case Study)”

  1. It seems you are still using cloudflare for the site
    So, is the cloudflare related seo issue ultimately solved for the above website?

  2. It seems that the issue with cloudflare shared ips does not only occur there. I think all other cdns use share ips to deploy the websites contents and this s a general issue. I have recently tested cloudflare cdn and my site ranks were dropping very fast but I disabled it after 1 day and changed nameservers back to my origin servers and rankings went back after 2 days……………Then I tested another cdn service from litespeed server, and rankings started scaling for 3 days but after that without any reason they started to drop as if I were using cloudflare………….so I conclude that google has a very strict algorithm regarding the usage of cdn with shared ip addresses….So this issue might have gotten expensive, because to set a dedicated ip address in cloudflare we have to upgrade to a business plan that cost 200$ a month….for startups or small sites this cost is high…..The other issue is that almost all cdns do not offer a dedicated ip address service…….I will investigate later if any offer this option anyway,,,,,,Thanks for your post it really helped!

  3. 100% I agree, but to solve this problem you can add firewall filter rule in order to allow all HTTPS incoming traffic, and disable security settings, in this way you can keep up your SEO Ranking & Hide your real server IP for Protection.

    Cloudflare is doing bad with there default firewall filtering rules because it is pretty useless against online strong booters & stresser (Free Plan)
    but still the best out there.

  4. Hello,
    What a lovely and informative article!
    I am facing a similar situation and had several reviews and audits for SEO updates. Everything looks bang in place but traffic is just getting worst.
    One question, How did you disable Cloudflare? did you remove DNS settings completely and revert to original namer servers or just paused the proxy operation in Cloudflare settings?

  5. thank you for this good article, i have same problem with cloudflare and i disabled that’s and going to be solve my dropping rank. but’s my major problem is ddos attack.
    thank you.

  6. Have You seen this issue lately? I have loosing slowly, very slowly my positions in May, Google Update in June hurt me so much, but I can’t see, why. I have a few hipothesis, and one of them is bad neighborhood on shared IP address. I saw some position drops in a few sites, which use Cloudflare too.

    I have never seen this situation before – normally, if Google Update hit, it means, that sites drops suddenly in SERP’s, but after that their results get stabilizied. Mine – not, i’m falling and failing again… So this is one of the reason, why I think, that this dropping and update it’s just a coincidence and here is some technical issue.

  7. Why are you offering a WordPress hosting with “Free CDN” from Cloudflare?

    Sorry, this is just a question.

    I want to know if the SEO hurt is a current problem,

    Thank you!

    1. Despite hurting the SEO, CloudFlare has its positive uses, such as easy DNS management, SSL, server logs, security to some extent, and ofcourse, it does help in improving the WordPress speed and reducing TTFB.

      In this particular case, we find CloudFlare was hurting the site’s ranking, but it could be different for another site.

      Though Google is saying that neighborhood sites, bad IP addresses, and CF do not affect SEO, cases study like these show different story.

  8. I think so. I have 2 websites. first website have using the Cloudflare and second website don’t. I can see that my first website ranking is a little suck even I did the same SEO technical with both sites.

  9. Elrond The Wanderer

    It was cloudflare all along. 2 years, I been trying hard for 2 years what was wrong with my SEO and its all just because of cloudflare. From top first page to non existent in SERP. After removing cloudflare my sites seo rank is recovering.

  10. Well in today’s scenario, it does not hurt that much. Now a days google know that almost everyone uses cloudflare. Its a bit common now.

  11. This issue is a question that stuck in my head. I was always thinking if I would use cloudflare when setting up a new site. Finally I decided to do a research and saw this article. You have done really good reviews and you have provided us with evidence. I think I’ll say goodbye to cloudflare.

  12. hi guys, i m also suffering some traffic problem after DNS change to cloudflare. my website traffic goes down as compare normal stage. so now we”ll change the set default DNS to our website.

  13. Do you have experience with the DDoS protection services offered by Cloudflare? If so, can you say a word or two about the effects this may have on SEO?

  14. Pawan Khadka

    Cloudflare protects our site against DDoS attacks by showing suspicious users/visitors who they suspect to be suspicious and ask them to prove if they are a real user or a bot. in this interval You have a captcha in which suspicious users have been asked to pass human verification to enter the site.

    I wonder what the impact of such an intersection could be on Google rankings. Could this sort of thing increase the SERP click increase or decrease the ranking if Google finds out?

  15. Great blog and comments!

    I run a small uk tech blog and we recently implemented (basic) cloudflare with great speed and ranking improvements and then experienced a rapid unexplained drop in some keywords on our main site only and came across this blog.

    We implemented the potential “bad neighbourhood” advice about the shared certificate from but rather than install a custom certificate we simply upgraded to the $5 p/m CF SSL unique certificate plan.

    The great news is we not only bounced back within a week but it’s looking like we might make further improvements due to this and other actions we took which included

    Pro Schema plugin installed to improve JSON / rich snippets
    CORRECT and much improved configuration of CF
    Implementation of HSTS and origin server CF SSL certificate
    Insane speed improvements
    Reduced on page elements (e.g.

    Therefore it is possible the cert switch was a correlation not a causation and/or the combined signals reverted the drop. Or even that staggered backlink benefits just happened to kick in or it simply was a period of un-stability during a rapid rise.

    Either way, this superb blog and comments +’s test educated us to make massive improvements to our site ( which now serves on pingdom at a blazing fast 0.4 to 0.6 seconds.

    Kudus to all involved and I hope documenting our experience helps others 🙂

    Correct at – Apr 2020


  16. How long will it take for the seo rank to recover? I disabled cloudflare in my site for already a month but the ranking is still not coming back also the traffic

    1. I replied yesterday in the post under yours.

      Today, two days after disabling CloudFlare, my speeds are through the roof compared to when I had CloudFlare enabled.

      And I really mean the speeds are blowing CloudFlare out of the water by far.

      Mobile is at 85 and Desktop is at 98 on PageSpeed.

      My SEO rankings has started to regain their original positions already so it could go really fast.

      You can ask Google to re-index your site as that seems to speed up things for me at least.

      I can honestly say that enabling CloudFlare was a huge mistake in my case as it was pure damage to both speeds and SEO.

      If you have a very slow website and/or hosting provider, then CF might be a way to go but, as per my owns tests with several similar websites over time with CloudFlare, the focus should be on getting a fast hosting provider and optimize the website for speeds and ditch CloudFlare all together.

  17. Hello,

    I have been using cloudflare for about 2 years now. I was wondering , if it had been hurting me with ranking. I also wonder if i could lose ranking by disabling it and the IP changing for my site. Any help here would be much appreciated.

    1. I have toyed with CloudFlare now for a few months on several high ranking websites with target audiences around the world and very established websites.

      I remember reading up on CloudFlare and found this article and thread and now, with the results in hand after much testing and fiddling with settings to optimize speeds, etc, I can tell you that I switched off CloudFlare as of yesterday.

      I have not been very happy with the speeds via CloudFlare and a few months back I upgraded to Litespeed servers with the Litespeed Plugin and decided to use that in conjunction with CloudFlare as that was recommended.

      After approx. 2 months of hard testing speeds several times a day for the various websites, doing tweaks, optimizing to hell, I was not really happy still.

      So a week or so I decided to start testing by simply put CF in “Development Mode” and bypass CF and immediately, and I do mean immediately, the speeds took off on all websites as they all have their dedicated CF accounts so I could do one by one.

      I went from a PageSpeed rating 38-42 for Mobile tests and very various on Desktop but 75-88.

      Today I measure 90+ on Mobile and high 90 on Desktop.

      Two days ago I also noticed that my visitor count dropped significantly starting around Feb 25, 2020 from high to almost non existing. A huge drop.

      Yesterday I changed the nameservers from CF directly to my hosting providers own and they are bouncing back sharply now.

      I also noticed that some of my websites started to drop in SEO rankings lately and I know for a fact that is not due to content or stability in SEO by far.

      For me, CloudFlare is a given no-no for the reasons stated above.

      It is absolutely not for me and my experience follow many others that I have read about using CloudFlare as something is obviously not right over there or might be right for some.

      I was using the Free Plan to put things into perspective.

      1. Thanks for a detailed post. Were you using a paid or a free CF account? The free accounts have waaaay more websites on the same IP.

      2. John, thanks for your comment. Were you using a paid or a free CF plan? Free plans tend to have more sites per IP

        (2 moderators: I’m asking John the commenter, not the post author 🙂 )

  18. Cloudflare can be nuisance some times. One would rather try Cloud based hosting than go with CF. I personally had very bad experience. I had this SSL handshake issue almost every now and then even though I was using shared SSL from CF and my domain on the server had it’s own Dedicated SSL.

  19. Had serious issues with my site after enabling cloudflare, i never suspected the issues could be caused by cloudflare. Also a lot of errors when trying to open my site. Happy i disabled it.

  20. Great content! Thanks for sharing it @serverguy! I mentioned about Cloudflare’in SEO’ya etkisi in Turkish article for Turkish SEO Community. This post will help to them!

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. Awesome post. Really very useful tips to discuss are available in this content. Thanks for sharing the blog in an very innovative way that it is easy to understand. Keep doing this type of work!

  22. Actually just wait 3-6 months after switching to cloudflare. Because your whois information is changed it will affect the seo ranking. But most are not affected and those are the lucky ones. My seo ranking went down too, 90% traffic gone, after changing my dns to cloudflare but I patiently waited and after 3 months my traffic is back to normal.

  23. I have tried cloudflare for my website and observed a sudden drop in traffic when cloudflare is enabled. This post strengthen my assumption.

  24. I am using cloudflare for my website from past 3 weeks. After enabling cloudflare I have observed sudden drop in traffic. But I wondering why many people on internet defending cloudflare.

    1. Cloudflare is not a bad product and offers CDN, DNS, and DDoS protection. But it has its own limitations.

      So what actually happens when you enable Cloudflare is that your site is no longer served from the IP of your server. It gets Cloudflare IP. So, it seems a bad neighborhood or a shared IP might have done the damage here.

      So, if you are facing such an issue, then you can opt for premium security products for CDN and WAF. We offer Sucuri and Astra for WAF and Stackpath for CDN. Check out our blog:- Cloudflare Vs Sucuri

  25. Hi team,

    I am also facing same problem, i was finding the solution and i think i got the solution, thanks for sharing this helpful information.

    1. Anytime my ip changes I always run it through something like seoneighborchecker dot com. Better safe than sorry! 🙂

  26. Finn Majlergaard

    Thank you very much for this article that confirms what we suspected. Our site educatedsingles dropped dramatically after enabling cloudflare. We looked for all sorts of reason, but didn’t think of cloudflare until this article.

    We disabled cloudflare and not we are climing up again, but not as quickly as we dropped

  27. Hello, is pausing cloudflare enough to test if it’s causing negative effects to my website’s SEO or do I have to remove it completely? I paused it but it’s still using cloudflare’s DNS. Will the concept of bad neighborhood still apply if my website is still using cloudflare’s DNS? Thanks for your helpful article!

  28. I installed Cloudflare 4 weeks ago. I was getting 500+ visits a day to my product review website, within 24 hours I was getting 20 visits a day (none from google, only Bing). I suspected it was them as Google was
    returning with a 5xx server error. I contacted Cloudflare and they said I had no 5xx errors only 4xx ( basically blaming someone else) so I sent them the Google error page and haven’t heard back from them. I’m going to disable Cloudflare and go back to my original hosting servers. This drop in traffic has really hurt me and I hope it can get back to where it once was as it was steadily growing month on month. All I ever wanted was to see if my page loading time could be increased. Lesson learned I’d rather a slightly slower page that works than a fast page that no one ever sees. Great post and I’m more certain then ever it’s Cloudflare causing my issues.

  29. Ahmad Shah Adami

    Hello Sahil,

    Thanks for sharing this story with us.

    It’s been a few months since i have figured out that using cloudflare is bad for seo, why? whenever i launch a new website after installing the wordpress cms on it and my second task after installation of wordpress is adding my website to cloudflare to get benefit of their free CND service and free ssl certificate but unfortunately after doing hard work for months are even a year my website won’t rank for any low competition keyword.

    So few months back i decided to not use the cloudflare system and instead use my own hosting default ip’s and examine this situation and fortunately after a month or two my website start showing for a very high competition keywords and i become 100% sure that using cloudflare is not a good choice.

    I am planning to revert back my website’s to my default ip’s and stop using cloudflare services anymore.

  30. Cloudflare was causing error 520 on my website, while I never had that issue when I was using my web host nameserver. I have to revert back to my default nameserver to save my website.

  31. Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us! Some of my websites lost about 50% of visibility after adding them to Cloudflare one year ago. Today I disabled Cloudflare for some of my websites with the biggest loss in traffic. I will tell you if this solve the problem.

    Important: I also looked in the SSL encryption. The certificates of Cloudflare are not compatible with Chrome69 (Win7) and Firefox62 (Win7). But a lot of users are using this browsers at this moment. Maybe this is also an issue which have an effect into the ranking.

  32. Atul Kumar Pandey

    Thanks for the case study, however I have one case study similar and our team found some different solution over it. The main issue was with TTFB, the primary server was causing the main issue with CloudFlare and initial load time is the biggest issue with CloudFlare if your primary site doesn’t load fast.

    In our case we whitelisted the IPs of CloudFlare and increased the keepalive_timeout time to more than few minutes in nginx configuration and within 2 days everything started ranking again.

    What we learned here was minimizing the impact (initial slowdown) caused by proxying the whole dynamic website. If anyone wants to use CloudFlare for CDN only, make sure you host subdomain for static contents, it works better there.

  33. Cagatay Belgen

    perhaps google is trying to “encourage” us to use their cdn instead of cloudflare? I had similar issues in the past. When I disabled cloudflare, my rankings and traffic increased.

    the only logical explanation is “bad neighbors” sharing same ip address, but come on.. this is year 2018.. it’s the era of cdn and fast content delivery.

    we made google a monopoly and now we’re whining about it.

    1. dalamanairportshuttle

      Hi Cagatay Belgen, yes your words are true, GOOGLE is providing paid CDN and of course they will force to use web sites their CDN service.
      What tools google serves, using this tools bring huge advantage for websites.

  34. This is super interesting. I have been trying to figure out why my wife has seen an epic drop in her Index Status. We activated Cloudflare on the 15th of March and as of the 18th she was a total index of 816. By the 1st April it had halved. I then actually upgraded her Cloudflare account on June 14th. At this point it was down to 146 and on the 24th dropped to 29! It is now sitting at 2…
    After reading this I have gone ahead and ‘paused’ the Cloudflare account and will keep an eye on it. Will be very interested to see if this is the issue.
    Thanks for the post though.

  35. Did you guys take the April 28th Google update into consideration? It crashed thousands of site rankings and re-calibrated.

  36. Sunday Ukafia

    Cloudflare causes a drop in search traffic. I have data to back this up from 2 websites. Search traffic from 2 of my sites dropped after I activated Cloudflare and kicked back up when I deactivated Cloudflare.

    CF should be activated at the initial creation of the site and not after the site is ranked in search results. A change in IP is detected by Google and in some cases causes a drop in search traffic.

    If you have to implement a CDN, make sure you don’t have to point your nameservers to them, activate CDN via your hosting control panel or better still use a plugin if your site is on WordPress.

  37. I am facing the same issue right now, my traffic has fallen more than 3 times today on my blog. The blog is losing rankings gradually, it surely increased the speed but at the expense of almost 1500 visitors daily. I have just disabled it after reading your post and I will update you about the results as I notice them.

  38. I had a client who was in the top spot. And ever since we added CloudFlare, the rankings started to drop. I did a reverse IP lookup, and found five other spammy affiliate websites on the same IP. Also, it takes 5 seconds to load the website, which is terrible as Google has come up with a speed update starting this July. Also, the majority of the audience of the website was in India, and changing the servers definitely had its effect. Now, I am thinking about rolling back.

    1. Hi Anoop, we’re sorry to hear about the rank drop. It could be the right decision of rolling back from CloudFlare as it’s always better to have a fully dedicated IP than the shared one. Let us know how did it work for you.

    2. Hi Anoop. I suspect a similar problem in my service. Ever since we used Cloudflare, we have been slowing down in the rankings. I presented to my administrators your method “I did a reverse IP lookup”. Unfortunately, they claim that there are no technical possibilities. Could you write how to do it technically?

  39. Based on my personal experience I found that sometimes website is not accessible on some countries and on high uses it gives that Captcha screen, which is most hated thing by true visitors.

    1. Hi Carol,
      Maybe the users’ ISP has blocked/blacklisted the CloudFlare shared IP. Talking about the captcha, you can decrease the security level in your CloudFlare account or simply opt for not showing captcha in any case.

  40. nicolas guerinet

    Dear Sahil, I have noticed the same issue. I also noticed that now Cloudflare imposed IPv6 settings and HTTP/2 protocol by default. IPv6 and HTTP/2 aren’t popular among big websites. The best examples are & ebay which are IPV4 only websites in 2018.
    It can also be related to an issue with Googlebot. I have already found a bug in Googlebot. I think that Googlebot can be the culprit by mishandling IPv6 and/or HTTP/2. Perhaps, Google stopped supporting googlebot.
    I had also issues with websites behind cloudflare that I moved to https. I lost the ranking. When I moved to a simple IPv4 direct dns, then things went back to normal within… 6 months.

    1. Hi Nicolas,
      Did you test ‘fetch as google’ in webmaster console. I think google is able to crawl both ipv4 only and ipv6 only sites.

  41. safayet hossain

    Hey, Sahil Chugh.I have faced with same issues on my site. Suddenly, I started to getting loss my traffics. Today, I have disabled Cloudflare IP.

  42. My website is dead after adding to Cloudflare. The whole hard work and investment have gone in vain. I don’t know what came to mind but after adding Cloudflare on 16th Jan, I lost almost 80% of my traffic by 18th of Jan. Is there any possible way to recover it now. I’ve already removed Cloudflare but the situation is not getting normal.

    1. Hi Mohsin,

      You can try to resubmit the site in Google webmasters after disabling Cloudflare and see if that helps. We saw ranking coming back to normal within 12 hours of disabling Cloudflare.

  43. Same happened to me. I connected my site to cloudflare on 18th of this month and there came a dip of more than 80% on 18th Jan. Now even after changing the DNS on the day I saw drop, the ranking is not coming back. It has been more than two days, no improvement. Could you tell me what can I do to speed up the process?

    1. Hi Mohsin,

      You can try to resubmit the site in Google webmasters after disabling Cloudflare and see if that helps. We saw ranking coming back to normal within 12 hours of disabling Cloudflare.

  44. Chris Matchmaker

    I noticed a very large drop in Rank on my dating site, after it got really bad I decided to test everything and I mean Everything. And to my surprise, Images on my site was loading like i was on dial up, only large images though. But it was not related to Polish on Cloudflare ( Weird ). Pretty much my entire site was running much slower on Cloudflare. I am currently looking for a better solution for CDN. It is to soon to tell if my site’s SEO is effected from the slowness of cloudflare, but I would almost bet money that it was. I also did some research on shared IP’s and if you have a spam site on the same ip as you, this will hurt seo. Cloudflare needs to start segregating free from paid. Thanks for sharing about the SSL Tip, if I try another solution and we are not happy I might try Cloudflare with a CUSTOM SSL.
    Thanks again.

  45. i have suffered a great loss in traffic just after few days of implementing cloudflare. I have doubts the problem is from cloudflare or my configuration settings. I have a relatively new blog which was initially hosted on blogger, i used to get about 100 post reads a day per post, but then i decided to change my domain name and host on godaddy which i then changed the server to that of cloudflare in other to get free ssl. But ever since when i check my post reads on blogger it is very low not even up to 20. then i noticed as well that my traffic from other countries started to drop relatively. What i would like to know is if my traffic is dropping because blogger traffic tools can’t analyse my blog or there is something just wrong with the blog. I also noticed that my blog responds to google search well now though which is the only good thing. Am i meant to check my traffic status from now on in cloudflare?

  46. Strange… my ranking went much higher for a while just after I activated Cloudflare, and it stayed constant since. I think that Google misinterprets the Cloudflare headers like the DDoS Screen

  47. Interesting read. I actually faced exactly the same issue with my domain.

    As my OVI dropped significantly since I enabled cloudfare, I decided to disable it again and see how it goes…

    Another possibility would be to wait until SEO picks up again (with cloudfare) but I consider it as too risky and I’m afraid of falling further…

  48. I faced a difficult situation after using Cloudflare nameservers. My website SEO ranking started to drop suddenly when I reverted to my hosting provider name servers it began to rank up again. Don’t know what happened.

    System Admin

  49. Vishwajeet Kumar

    Hello Sahil,

    Very interesting and informative post. I have seen a dropped in my ranking after using Cloudflare. I have remove the Cloudflare from my site and its not only increase ranking but also makes my site load faster. I also want to know that is server location is a concern in SEO? Does server location affects SEO?

    1. Hi Vishwajeet

      Glad it is helpful to you.

      Definitely, yes. If you have a majority of the audience in a particular, then your preferred server location should be that country only. It helps in:

      1. Better page load and SEO benefits
      2. Low Latency
      3. Less time for Website requests

      Here’s a post on Why You Should Host in India, for instance, if you have Indian audience:

      Hope this helps.

  50. I do find cloudflare affects sales on my site negatively.

    Traffic on google analytics appear to increase. But sales simply drop – sometimes to none.

    I tried cloudflare, a couple of weeks ago. Sales dropped. Then I returned to my own server ip. Sales picked up somewhat.

    Now, I am experimenting again with cloudflare, and again sales dropped.
    I plan to wait a little longer to see if this continues.

    If it is the case, I will go back to my server ip again, and never return to cloudfare in the future.

    1. Hi Quinton

      After we finally disabled CloudFlare, the rankings got back to normal to our surprise. We moved it to Sucuri after that and the rankings are stable.

  51. Hi Sahil,

    We came across your article while googling for [Cloudflare affecting SEO] help – similarly, our site dipped in rankings about a week after we installed Cloudflare. What we realised though while looking through the robots.txt file, was that Cloudflare had a “Disallow:/” line, which was preventing Google bots from crawling and indexing our homepage and certain subpages. We removed that line, waited 24 hours and by the next day, our rankings were back to normal. You might want to try that with your client – hopefully it’ll help!

    1. systemBuilder

      As a former member of Search SRE (1st stage of search + page fetcher) at google, yes, a robots.txt ban would prevent the google search engine from indexing your site, and that would cause your ranking to fall. There are at least 2 different places that generate page crawls inside google, but an important one is the webmirror crawler (part of 1st stage) itself. If it cannot see your site any more, it cannot rank your pages, and it would not do any further “early discovery” (which is the purpose of webmirror) and that’s a large fraction of all web pages crawled at google. Make sure your robots.txt page allows Googlebot to enter!

  52. Manideep Singh

    Very surprising article. Didn’t knew about it.But I guess this is more of a configuration problem. As like said in shared links, If one goes with Custom SSL certificate and Private IP, rankings do come back. Have this been tested??

      1. Hey mate, did you or anyone else here try the custom ssl workaround?
        I could potentially be facing the same issue and I am looking at ways of mitigating the damage.

  53. Have you tried any of the suggestions provided here:

    Would love to hear if it makes a different in this one off case

    1. Hi Ryan,

      Yes, we came across this article and its mentioned in the post also. We asked for dedicated/private IP address from Cloudflare but support team replied this was not possible. Screenshots of their reply is also given in the post.

      1. Reza Moaiandin

        Hi Sahil, when you go on Business plan and upload your own Custom SSL certificate you will be given private IP addresses due to the nature of how SSL works. They don’t sell dedicated IP but this is the way around it.

        1. Hello Reza,

          Thanks for sharing this information. I will keep this in mind for future if any client faces similar issues.

          We tried to ask how we can opt for this kind of dedicated IP address from Cloudflare support after reading the article on blog but they responded this was not possible. Screenshot of their response is attached in our blog post.

          A workaround like this should have been suggested by CF team IMO as this is something most of the people are not aware of.

  54. Wow, very interesting (and a little alarming)! I had not ever considered Cloudflare actually hurting rankings before. I have a handful of sites running through Cloudflare but have never noticed ranking changes as a result – although I wasn’t watching out for any connection here, and no big sites like Vikas’ site. Will definitely be keeping an eye out in future, thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes Damien, it was the first such incident for any of the sites managed by us using Cloudflare. Over a hundred other sites still using it and never faced similar issue. Although no 100% evidence but still the graphs show another story that we shared 🙂

      1. Hi,
        Just a related question to this, does the location of the hosting server not matter if you are using CDN? I have read that for better SEO results you should host your website locally to gain better rankings. If you are using CDN and the closest PoP serves as your IP, then is it correct to assume that you can use any hosting company around the world with CDN even though you only have local clients.

  55. Quite interesting!

    I have a static website hosted on AWS S3 with AWS CLOUDFRONT in front of it. And it seems that the IP address is not static (changing for every ping).
    Speed seems OK.
    It is 6 month old and I don’ see any traffic from Google (nada).
    Don’t you think that dynamic IP addresses could hurt SEO?

    1. Not really. CDN’s are designed in a way that for each location, the closest CDN PoP serves the content and therefore IP will be different when you ping from different locations. This should not have any SEO issues as per our experience.

      But if in case you observe any erratic behaviour in future, do share it with us!

  56. Very very interesting case study. Have you made a decision about Cloudflare in general? Do you plan to migrate away from Cloudflare for all clients or just this one instance?

    1. Hello Drake,
      No, not in general. We are using Cloudflare on 100+ sites without any issues. This was a one-off case. So, if in case there is a sudden drop of SEO rankings, Cloudflare could also be one reason you should consider.
      What has been your experience with CF so far, have you evaluated any other Options?

      1. We have hundreds of sites managed through Cloudflare. So far the good far outweighs the bad, although I am beginning to suspect bad neighbors could certainly negatively influence ranking. We have a few comparisons ongoing. We will know for sure in the coming months. I only wish Cloudflare would take a higher stance about which sites it is willing to get in bed with.

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