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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 3,189 (July 2012)

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 April 2013, it had 23 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.[3]

CloudFlare offers four types of service plans: Free, Pro, Business, and Enterprise.


Its customers have included Hamas,[4][5] the Turkish government,[6] Stratfor, and Metallica,[7] with many customers outside the United States.[8]


Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn created CloudFlare in 2009.[6][9] They previously worked on Project Honey Pot.[9][10] CloudFlare was launched at the September 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference.[6][9]

CloudFlare received media attention in June 2011, not all of it positive, after providing security to LulzSec's website.[6][11]

In July 2011, CloudFlare announced receiving $20 million in venture funding from New Enterprise Associates, Venrock, and Pelion Venture Partners, after receiving $2 million in earlier funding.[12] It had raised the additional funding in November 2010.[13]

In October 2011, CloudFlare was named as the Most Innovative Network & Internet Technology Company of 2011 by Wall Street Journal.[14] The World Economic Forum (WEF) noted CloudFlare's "innovative algorithms" and ability to adapt in its "Technology Pioneers 2012" report.[15][16] The WEF called LulzSec's use of CloudFlare's services "a vote of confidence in CloudFlare's approach."[15][16]

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.[17][18]

In June 2014, CloudFlare acquired Ryan Lackey's company CryptoSeal.[19]

In June 2014, CloudFlare protected the "PopVote" website in Hong Kong against 300Gb/s of DDoS attacks that were meant to abort the voting process. Under its protection, more than 100,000 successful electronic votes were recorded within the first two hours of the voting process.[20][21]

In June 2014, its services to many of its partners including Nigeria's most visited indigenous website has been suspended and it learnt it will not be restored until 30 June 2014.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Lardinois, Frederic (June 15, 2012). "Making The Web Faster: CloudFlare Adds Support For Google’s SPDY Protocol". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ Matthew, Prince (March 3, 2013). "Today's Outage Post Mortem". CloudFlare. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "CDNPlanet's CDN Finder tool". 
  5. ^ "US firm helps Hamas, Netanyahu keep hackers at bay". 
  6. ^ a b c d Henderson, Nicole (2011-06-17). "CloudFlare Gets an Unusual Endorsement from Hacker Group LulzSec". Webhost Industry Review. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  7. ^ Perlroth, Nicole (February 17, 2012). "Preparing for DDoS Attacks or Just Groundhog Day". Bits. New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ Denne, Scott (December 26, 2012). "Selling Abroad From the Get-Go". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c "Our story". CloudFlare. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  10. ^ "CloudFlare Beta". Project Honey Pot. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  11. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-06-10). "Web Security Start-Up Cloudflare Gets Buzz, Courtesy of LulzSec Hackers". All Things Digital. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  12. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-07-12). "Web Security Start-Up CloudFlare Lands $20 Million Funding Round". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  13. ^ Milian, Mark (December 18, 2012). "Why a Fast-Growing Startup Tries to Keep Its Venture Funding Secret". Tech Deals. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  14. ^ "CloudFlare Named Most Innovative Network & Internet Technology Company". 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  15. ^ a b "Technology Pioneers 2012". World Economic Forum. September 2011. p. 8. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  16. ^ a b Anderson, Nate (2011-09-01). "CloudFlare named "tech pioneer" after protecting LulzSec website". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  17. ^ Simcoe, Luke (2012-06-14). "The 4chan breach: How hackers got a password through voicemail". Maclean's. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  18. ^ Ms. Smith (2012-06-03). "Hacktivists UGNazi attack 4chan, CloudFlare and Wounded Warrior Project". Privacy and Security Fanatic. NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  19. ^ "CloudFlare Acquires CryptoSeal". CloudFlare. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  20. ^ "力保佔中公投系統運作 CloudFlare CEO分享抗黑客實錄". House News. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  21. ^ "Cyberattack on Occupy Central poll is 'most sophisticated onslaught ever seen'". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2014-06-24. 

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