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Founded July 2009 (2009-07)
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Founder(s) Matthew Prince
Lee Holloway
Michelle Zatlyn
Key people Matthew Prince (CEO)
Lee Holloway
Michelle Zatlyn
Industry Internet
Products CloudFlare
Services Website performance,
Alexa rank Increase 1,202 (September 2014)

CloudFlare is a company which provides a content delivery network and distributed domain name server, sitting between the visitor and the CloudFlare user's hosting provider, thus acting as a reverse proxy for websites. The service is marketed as providing security, as well as improving website performance and speed.


CloudFlare uses a modified version of Nginx as a key technology.[1] As of July 2014, it reportedly operated from within 28 partner data centers.[2]

While CloudFlare's main business is protecting customers from DoS attacks, they also provide other services like a web application firewall (WAF). A report by Zero Science Lab from 2013 comparing web application firewalls found that CloudFlare's WAF is less effective than ModSecurity and Incapsula. Since then, CloudFlare has replied to the findings, applying patches to the discovered bypasses and improving their products to protect their customers from web attacks. In August 2013, CloudFlare launched a new rule-based WAF to augment their existing heuristics-based WAF.[3][4]


CloudFlare was created in 2009 by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn,[5][6] who had previously worked on Project Honey Pot.[6][7] CloudFlare was launched at the September 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference.[5][6]

CloudFlare received media attention in June 2011, not all of it positive, after providing security to LulzSec's website.[5][8]

In July 2011, CloudFlare announced receiving $20 million in venture funding from New Enterprise Associates, Venrock, and Pelion Venture Partners.[9][10]

In June 2012, the hacker group UGNazi attacked CloudFlare partially via flaws in Google's authentication systems, gaining administrative access to CloudFlare and using it to deface 4chan.[11][12]

In June 2014, CloudFlare acquired Ryan Lackey's company CryptoSeal.[13]


  1. ^ Prince, Matthew (June 15, 2012). "Introducing SPDY". CloudFlare. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ Joshua, Motta (July 22, 2014). "Listo! Medellin, Colombia: CloudFlare's 28th Data Center". CloudFlare. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Perez, Tony (9 March 2013). "Protect Your Website Vulnerabilities With a WAF – New Compairson Report – CloudFlare vs Incapsula vs ModSecurity". Tony on Security. Retrieved 14 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Henderson, Nicole (2011-06-17). "CloudFlare Gets an Unusual Endorsement from Hacker Group LulzSec". Webhost Industry Review. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  6. ^ a b c "Our story". CloudFlare. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  7. ^ "CloudFlare Beta". Project Honey Pot. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  8. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-06-10). "Web Security Start-Up Cloudflare Gets Buzz, Courtesy of LulzSec Hackers". All Things Digital. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  9. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-07-12). "Web Security Start-Up CloudFlare Lands $20 Million Funding Round". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  10. ^ Milian, Mark (December 18, 2012). "Why a Fast-Growing Startup Tries to Keep Its Venture Funding Secret". Tech Deals. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ Simcoe, Luke (2012-06-14). "The 4chan breach: How hackers got a password through voicemail". Maclean's. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  12. ^ Ms. Smith (2012-06-03). "Hacktivists UGNazi attack 4chan, CloudFlare and Wounded Warrior Project". Privacy and Security Fanatic. NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  13. ^ "CloudFlare Acquires CryptoSeal". CloudFlare. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 

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