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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 US-based company that provides a content delivery network and distributed domain name server system, sitting between the visitor and the CloudFlare user's hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites. Its network protects, speeds up, and improves availability for a website or mobile application with a change in DNS. CloudFlare is headquartered in San Francisco, California with an additional office in London.[1]


CloudFlare was created in 2009 by Matthew Prince, Lee Holloway, and Michelle Zatlyn,[2][3] who had previously worked on Project Honey Pot.[3][4] CloudFlare was launched at the September 2010 TechCrunch Disrupt conference.[2][3] It received media attention in June 2011, after providing security to LulzSec's website.[2][5] In July 2011, CloudFlare announced receiving $20 million in venture funding from New Enterprise Associates, Venrock, and Pelion Venture Partners.[6][7]

The hacker group UGNazi attacked CloudFlare partially via flaws in Google's authentication systems in June 2012, gaining administrative access to CloudFlare and using it to deface 4chan.[8][9] In December 2012, it raised $50 million in Series C funding from Union Square Ventures and existing investors.[10]

In February 2014, CloudFlare mitigated the largest ever recorded DDoS attack which peaked at 400 Gbit/s.[11] The same month, CloudFlare announced that it acquired the anti-malware firm StopTheHacker. While CloudFlare could stop new infections the acquisition ensured that sites that were already infected when they first signed up would be able to remove any potential vulnerabilities and malware.[12]

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


CloudFlare uses a modified version of Nginx as a key technology.[14] As of December 2014, it reportedly operated from within 30 partner data centers.[15]

CloudFlare claims to protect, speed up, and improve availability for a website or mobile application by using a DNS change. The network optimizes web and mobile pages to improve page load times and performance. CloudFlare also attempts to block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers. CloudFlare currently runs on an anycast network.[16] CloudFlare aims to protect customers from DDoS attacks, they also provide other services like a web application firewall (WAF).

CloudFlare releases "Keyless SSL" technology that lets sites use CloudFlare’s SSL service while retaining on-premises custody of their private keys.[17]


As of March 2014, CloudFlare was ranked in the top 10 of the world's worst hosts and networks based on malicious traffic it hosts.[18]

Cloudflare is hosting numerous websites selling stolen credit cards.[19]

Two of ISIS' top three online chat forums are currently guarded by CloudFlare.[20]


  1. ^ "CloudFlare Reveals $50 Million "Secret" Funding -- From One Year Ago - Kara Swisher - Security - AllThingsD". AllThingsD. 
  2. ^ a b c Henderson, Nicole (2011-06-17). "CloudFlare Gets an Unusual Endorsement from Hacker Group LulzSec". Webhost Industry Review. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  3. ^ a b c "Our story". CloudFlare. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  4. ^ "CloudFlare Beta". Project Honey Pot. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  5. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-06-10). "Web Security Start-Up CloudFlare Gets Buzz, Courtesy of LulzSec Hackers". All Things Digital. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  6. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik (2011-07-12). "Web Security Start-Up CloudFlare Lands $20 Million Funding Round". AllThingsD. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  7. ^ Milian, Mark (December 18, 2012). "Why a Fast-Growing Startup Tries to Keep Its Venture Funding Secret". Tech Deals. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ Simcoe, Luke (2012-06-14). "The 4chan breach: How hackers got a password through voicemail". Maclean's. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  9. ^ Ms. Smith (2012-06-03). "Hacktivists UGNazi attack 4chan, CloudFlare and Wounded Warrior Project". Privacy and Security Fanatic. NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2012-07-12. 
  10. ^ "CloudFlare Reveals $50M Round From Union Square Ventures". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  11. ^ "DDoS Attack Hits 400 Gbit/s, Breaks Record". Dark Reading. 
  12. ^ "CloudFlare Acquires Anti-Malware Firm StopTheHacker". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  13. ^
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  16. ^ "Spamhaus DDoS grows to Internet-threatening size". Ars Technica. 
  17. ^ "CloudFlare’s New Keyless SSL Could Unlock Cloud For Financial Institutions". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  18. ^ "World Hosts Report". March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Cloudflare and the Target Heist". 16 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Testimony of Evan F. Kohlmann". 27 January 2015.