Railgun is a WAN (wide area network) optimization technology that we offer our hosting customers in partnership with CloudFlare.
Railgun technology greatly speeds up the delivery of non-cached pages. While CloudFlare automatically caches 65% of the resources needed to make up a page, 35% can’t be cached because the resources are dynamically generated or marked as ‘do not cache’. The 35% often includes the initial HTML of the page. That must be downloaded before any static content, such as images. Railgun speeds this remaining 35%.
The benefits of Railgun
Websites running Railgun show a 143% improvement in HTML load times and a 90% decrease in Time To First Byte (TTFB) responses. Web pages become visible faster.
How Railgun Works
Railgun opens a secure, tunneled connection between the CloudFlare network and your origin server where the connection only sends differences from the last request. This is similar to how video encoding works.
The markup of websites frequently does not change from one request to the next and most changes are small. Instead of transferring the entire request between CloudFlare and the origin server, Railgun will transfer only the changes in markup from one request to the next. This cuts down on bandwidth, transfer time, and overall page load times. Railgun caches these differences in memory to make page processing as fast as possible.
Sites Which Benefit from Railgun
Any website can benefit from the performance improvements Railgun offers, especially dynamic sites. Sites with an international audience particularly benefit.
If you were to purchase Railgun directly through CloudFlare, it would cost $200 per month. We are offering Railgun to our customers for FREE !
How To Enable Cloud Flare and Railgun on Your Site
- Log in to cPanel
- Find and click on the CloudFlare icon
- If you are not yet signed up with CloudFlare you can do so at this point.
- Click on Statistics and Settings
- Scroll down and find Railgun – select a rail gun instance (there may be only one)
- Next to the Railgun drop down, there is a box which will say “off”. Change it to “on”
If You Have Issues Enabling Railgun
If you experience issues when enabling Railgun, please create a help ticket. Be sure to include details.
I’m seeing an error on my site and I think Railgun is causing it, what should I do?
If you are using Railgun via cPanel, you can turn it off directly from your control panel. Otherwise, log into your CloudFlare account, go to Performance Settings and turn Railgun off from there. Please file a bug report with a detailed description here.