Internet and Networking

What Is Argo Smart Routing From Cloudflare?

A tremendous benefit of being on Cloudflare is that its products and services constantly improve & adapt to meet the new demands and expectations of the modern internet.

From the many unique features, Cloudflare introduced a new product called “Argo Smart Routing,” which can uplift the performance levels of any site’s assets by up to 30% and dwindle connection errors by up to 27% as an average.

How Argo Smart Routing Works?

The governing principle of how this product works is impressive, while at the same time, is driven through common sense and logic, which is the beauty of the whole thing.

Just like how a sophisticated navigation system calculates traffic patterns and congestion in real-time, in order to suggest a faster & optimized route to your destination, the Argo Smart routing pretty much behaves the same way for your site users. Translated, it computes a faster path for your site users in that your pages load and render more quickly.

As a result of using Argo Smart Routing, a website owner can get better speed performance, fewer connection errors, and as a bonus, savings on bandwidth costs. To the site user, it means faster page loads, better experience, and in turn, helps gain more trust.

All in all, a super short technical summary is that Argo Smart Routing can cut down the delay/latency between your server and Cloudflare getting the first byte in response (TTFB) because of which speed and reliability refinements are happening in real-time. It’s one of the very elegant & simple solutions, to an ever complex problem of making the internet faster.

How To See Argo Smart Routing in Action/View Its Analytics

To see Argo in action, after this feature is enabled, Cloudflare provides analytics with original visuals on origin performance by response time, as well as geography. This reporting is available under Analytics > Performance.

Argo Origin Response Time Performance

Argo origin response time performance histogram
Argo origin response time performance histogram.

Cloudflare bestows us with a beautiful histogram of Argo origin response time performance where we can quickly get the readings on the following two:

  1. On top is a summary that compares Average response times with Argo where it was able to find a smart route, and without it. Next, it also presents a synopsis of the percent improvement and the total percentage of smart routed requests.
  2. Below, the histogram measures TTFB between Cloudflare and your server with the percentage of requests plotted on the Y-axis for a given response time on the X-axis.

Argo Response Time Improvement by Geography

Argo Response Time Improvement by Geography
Argo Response Time Improvement by Geography.

Also, there is a geographical map where Cloudflare is able to show which areas were hot in that each circle is a Cloudflare network location.

According to the organization, the colors indicate the improvement in TTFB, and the larger the circle, the more requests were passed through that location.

How Much Does Argo Smart Routing Cost?

You’d think this would be expensive, but it isn’t. Cloudflare classifies Argo as a usage-based product, whereby it charges $5 as a base for any traffic that is less than 1 gigabyte of traffic.

After you cross the 1 GB mark, there is an extra charge of $.10 (10 cents) for every additional 1 GB. To put it into context:

  • <1 GB will cost $5
  • 10 GB will cost $5.90

Here is a nice summarized “estimated” pricing chart grabbed directly from my Cloudflare Dashboard.

How Much Does Argo Smart Routing Cost
The cost of Argo Smart Routing. Screenshot captured from Cloudflare Dashboard — after logging in.

How To Access and Turn On Argo Smart Routing?

When logged into your Cloudflare dashboard, first, head over to the “Traffic” app from the left panel (or from the top horizontal bar if you’re still seeing the old version of Cloudflare).

Then, there will be a tab/sub-option called “Argo.” If you haven’t bought this service yet, you’ll need to purchase it. Once everything is paid for, there will be a toggle switch/button to turn Argo Smart routing on or off.

how to turn argo smart routing on or off
How to turn Argo smart routing on or off.

Next, the analytics for Argo can be found under the analytics app > performance, as mentioned. However, note that if your site isn’t high traffic and or if it hasn’t been 48 hours, you’ll need to wait a little bit before Cloudflare can pull histograms and maps for your Argo performance.

need to wait 48 hours notice before Argo Smart Routing analytics are displayed
As shown, Cloudflare may display a 48-hour waiting notice before it can start showing detailed Argo Smart Routing performance data.

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Have You Tried Argo Smart Routing Yet?

The Argo Smart Routing is an exceedingly easy, inexpensive (depending), and no-brainer product from Cloudflare that can dramatically boost the performance of a site’s web assets with a switch of a toggle button.

If you’re using Cloudflare, you at least owe it to yourself to see why it’s generating such positive buzz. Honestly, because the results speak for themselves.

Bonus tip: You don’t have to necessarily rely on Cloudflare’s analytics. You can use your own tools and methodologies to monitor if Argo Smart Routing works out for you. If not, you can always turn it off to debug and diagnose or cancel entirely.

Expert source: Cloudflare and the Cloudflare dashboard.