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The hop is not the problem. In fact, an extra hop can actually be a benefit, due to various TCP and connectivity factors. The issue might actually be "CloudFlare buffers all the content and does complex operations on it before returning any of it", or maybe is simply a poor CDN (not really being very distributed, for example).

For more information, see a long comment I wrote on this a while back (note: while reading, remember that a CDN typically has a server very near the end user but not so near as to be on the other end of the last mile of their network connectivity; in essence, they are a reverse proxy solution positioned in the network where a forward proxy would normally go), as well as the response someone left:


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