CloudFlare is becoming a target

CloudFlare offers a fantastic service. DNS, DDoS protection and optimization of your site. The trouble is, just lately, the service – particularly to UK users – has been spotty at best. Here’s the issues from March 22nd and 23rd.

As you can see there was what CloudFlare call “Performance degradation”, which they detail as “Performance is slower than normal”. This description is a bit wide of the mark, because Coolsmartphone was actually taken off the web (we sit behind the CloudFlare system and have been paying for their service) twice. This wasn’t “slower than normal”, this was off.

Other sites went off-line at these times too. Mr Paul O’Brien runs MoDaCo and I know he uses the system too. His site went offline at the same time and, on Twitter, many others seemed to be in the same boat.

Now, everyone has problems, but just recently CloudFlare took Spamhaus on as a customer. Spamhaus, for those who don’t know, are a huge anti-spam organization that help many fight the endless junk mail you’d receive on a daily basis without it. There’s a few on the internet that have linked the fact that CloudFlare are handling the endless (and huge) DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks against this site. Spamhaus is a huge target because they try and stop spam, which of course is what spammers hate.

Anyhow, I’ve had a few people saying that now CloudFlare has become “the enemy” because they’re effectively shielding / protecting Spamhaus. Whether this is true or not I’m not sure, but I do know that the outages are more frequent.

Yesterday though, there was another outage and the explanation just didn’t add up to me…

I’ve asked several times for an explanation on this but it’s not been forthcoming. I’m not letting go of this, because it’s not quite right to say that “London Internet Exchange went offline”. You’re telling your customers that LINX, which is a massive internet exchange, went offline? Completely off the web? Totally dark? Well, after checking the LINX website and, sure enough, there was some sort of interruption. But it was on the Saturday, not Sunday when this happened. What’s strange to me though is that only CloudFlare mention this. There’s nothing else on the web that mentioned it.

Either way, they’ve at least responded to me. Today though, just now, there’s another outage. This is the third outage in as many days.

This is a critical time for CloudFlare. They’ve got many paying customers. We were one of them but have decided to stop using them. Why? Well, CloudFlare have become a target. By going out there and protecting others, especially high-profile sites, you become the one that those “bad guys” on the web want to stop.

So the problems are going to continue. CloudFlare is becoming very successful and is becoming a target as it protects people from DDoS and other attacks.