The greatest compliment you can receive is if your ideas are copied. Right? Recently Cloudflare released their (Beta) “Fonts” service, to “enhance website font privacy and speed.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Let’s compare OMGF’s and CloudFlare Fonts’ features and see if one is better than the other.
This post isn’t going to be a Cloudflare bash session.
I love Cloudflare and I use many of their services; mostly related to security and image optimization.
As the developer of OMGF and OMGF Pro, it would be ridiculous to insist that I’m not biased. However, I’m passionate about web privacy and performance, so I’m equally excited about Cloudflare’s new service, as I’m curious as to how it’ll compare to my plugin. I.e. there’s no need to worry if I’ll remain neutral and give you an honest comparison of Cloudflare Fonts vs OMGF.
What does Cloudflare Fonts do?
Cloudflare Fonts is currently still in its Beta phase, so it’s perfectly valid if you haven’t heard of it yet.
For OMGF users the concept is very familiar: it self-hosts Google Fonts, i.e. it makes sure Google Fonts are served from your domain/server, instead of Google’s servers. To enhance privacy, GDPR compliance and performance.
At its core, Cloudflare Fonts and OMGF offer a very similar solution for the same problem. However, there are some significant differences. Let’s go through them one by one.
How does Cloudflare Fonts compare to OMGF?
The biggest difference between Cloudflare Fonts and OMGF is how they work at the core. While OMGF is installed on your server and runs on top of WordPress, Cloudflare “lives” in your Domain Name System (DNS), i.e. “between” your server and your user’s browser.
While OMGF processes the present Google Fonts while the server is compiling the HTML, Cloudflare does it after the server has compiled the HTML and is sending it to the user’s browser. Basically, OMGF changes the input and Cloudflare Fonts changes the output. But both change it before it’s sent to the browser.
Because it only processes output, Cloudflare Fonts’ main benefit is platform independence. OMGF, on the other hand, manipulates the input and therefore has a wider reach while depending on WordPress.
Is one approach better than the other? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to achieve. In the next chapters I’m hoping to answer this question for you.
Installation and onboarding
I mentioned that Cloudflare Fonts is platform independent, but it does (of course) require you to use Cloudflare.
The onboarding process and how easy it is to implement Cloudflare Fonts depends on whether or not you’re already using Cloudflare.
If you’re already a Cloudflare user, enabling Cloudflare Fonts couldn’t be easier. It’s litterally a matter of hitting a toggle.
If you’re not currently using Cloudflare, I’d say enabling this feature requires you to be an advanced user and you’re probably better off sticking with OMGF.
Enabling Cloudflare for your website requires you to change your domain’s DNS and Nameservers. If reading these terms freaks you out, then I think it’s save to say that Cloudflare Fonts is not for you.
No worries, installing OMGF follows the same steps as any WordPress plugin and is (probably) familiar to you.
A possible downside of Cloudflare Fonts is that it doesn’t have any configurable options. As I mentioned before, it’s a matter of hitting a toggle and it just works.
If you’re looking to just self-host your Google Fonts, this might be exactly what you’re looking for. But if you’re looking to do more than that, e.g. remove unused Google Fonts, CloudFlare Fonts will be of no use to you.
OMGF’s initial configuration is equally simple. After installing the plugin, head to its Settings screen and hit Save & Optimize. That’s it. On top of that, OMGF offers several features that allow you to tweak your fonts’ performance.
Cloudflare boasts that its Fonts service will boost performance, but I doubt this is true. Isn’t Google’s CDN equally fast as Cloudflare’s CDN? They’re both equally powerful and offer no significant difference in terms of speed.
I’d say the only real benefit they have over serving the fonts from Google’s CDN is privacy.
The fact that Cloudflare Fonts “lives” in your website’s DNS also means that it’s featureset must be limited. It doesn’t have access to your website’s database, it can’t intercept (PHP) code execution, etc. It can only “look” at output, i.e. the HTML of your website.
While they both parse the HTML document, OMGF, being specifically written for WordPress, “sees” much more and offers a more fine-grained control to increase performance of your fonts:
- Leverage the
font-display(swap) attribute to ensure text remains visible during webfont load.
- Preload above-the-fold font styles to reduce perceived loading speed (Largest Contentful Paint and Cumulative Layout Shift) and,
- Unload unused font styles, which can be especially beneficial for WordPress users, because plugins and themes tend to load Google Fonts excessively — killing overall performance.
It’s also worth noting that OMGF Pro offers, among other things, several advanced features that allow for “deeper” scanning and detect Google Fonts that’re “hidden” inside CSS stylesheets and JS libraries (e.g. Webfont Loader).
Overview: Cloudflare Fonts VS OMGF
Ever since the Google Fonts scare early last year, different companies have implemented different variations of what OMGF has been doing for 5+ years: self-host Google Fonts.
Cloudflare Fonts is simply another tool at your disposal. If you’re going to use it and how is up to you. Is one better than the other? I’d say no. It depends on your requirements which’ll suit you best.
Before jumping into the conclusion part, let’s do a quick sum up of what we’ve just discussed:
|Easy (if already on Cloudflare, otherwise hard)
|❌ (WordPress required)
|❌ (WordPress required)
|Google Fonts detection
|– Parse HTML Document
|– Parse CSS Stylesheets
|✔️ (limited to WebFontLoader and removal of async loaded files)
|– Preload font files
|– Serve over CDN
|✔️ (Cloudflare CDN)
|⭕ (compatible with a CDN of choice)
|⭕ (compatible with a CDN of choice)
|– Remove unused font styles
|– Automatically add
font-display attribute to Google Fonts
|– Automatically add
font-display attribute to other font libraries
|Starting at € 19,- (renews at € 24,-)
As you can see, OMGF Pro is the clear winner in terms of features, but comes with a price. OMGF and Cloudflare Fonts are both available for free, but OMGF offers optimization features, which Cloudflare’s service doesn’t.
Cloudflare offers the convenience of being a package deal of platform indepence and a great CDN. On the other hand, OMGF and OMGF Pro will work with any CDN and their only real downside is the fact that it’s only available on WordPress.
Which is Better: OMGF or Cloudflare Fonts?
There’s several reasons why I recommend to use Cloudflare: the added layer of security, their powerful CDN and reasonable pricing for on-the-fly image optimization. However, in terms of privacy related to Google Fonts, both solutions offer the same level of privacy by self-hosting the Google Fonts used on your website.
While there is no immediate answer to the question as to which is better; for WordPress users there’s no immediate or urgent reason to switch to Cloudflare Fonts. If you’re already using Cloudflare with OMGF, switching to Cloudflare Fonts won’t bring you anything, you’ll only lose features.
So, if you’re considering making the switch, consider the following:
While it makes sense to let Cloudflare take care of e.g. HTML caching or image optimization, that doesn’t necessarily count for Google Fonts, because implementation methods vary heavily:
- By declaring a stylesheet (
- Using an
@importstatement inside a CSS stylesheet,
- Using an asynchronous loading JS library, like
webfontloader.js, or a custom variation of this.
Cloudflare Fonts, like OMGF, can only detect Google Fonts in stylesheet declarations. However, OMGF still offers more control over your fonts’ performance with features like preloading above-the-fold fonts and unloading of unused fonts.
If you’re an OMGF Pro user, it’s save to say that you shouldn’t switch. OMGF Pro detects all of the implementation methods mentioned above and offers even more performance enhancements with features like:
- Fallback font stacks, and
Switching would almost definitely mean a performance hit and a drop in your Pagespeed score.
I hope you enjoyed this honest comparison of OMGF and OMGF Pro VS CloudFlare Fonts, which is currently still marked as Beta. While there’s no immediate answer to the question as to which is better, I hope I’ve given you a clear overview of things to consider before pulling the trigger on your tool of choice.