There’s a good chance that, like Hankes, you haven’t heard of Cloudflare, but it’s likely you’ve viewed something online that has passed through its system. Cloudflare is part of the backend of the internet. Nearly 10 percent of all requests for web pages go through its servers, which are housed in 118 cities around the world. These servers speed along the delivery of content, making it possible for clients’ web pages to load more quickly than they otherwise would. But Cloudflare’s main role is protection: Its technology acts as an invisible shield against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks—hacker campaigns that disable a website by overwhelming it with fake traffic. The company has more than 7 million customers, from individual bloggers who pay nothing for basic security services to Fortune 50 companies that pay up to a million dollars a year for guaranteed 24-hour support.
Hankes wanted to learn something about Cloudflare’s business, and what really interested