CloudFlare Goes Down, But Does Another One Bite the Dust?

It seemed that Internet downtime troubles, for the most part, were behind us when GoDaddy got back up and running. Just a few days ago, however, CloudFlare was facing troubles of its own and websites across the Internet were yet again being affected by outages that were out of their control.

CloudFlare is a service that enhances website performance and makes the sites run faster, among other things. According to the CloudFlare site, approximately 350,000 websites take advantage of the company’s technology. Unfortunately that also means that approximately 350,000 websites were at risk of downtime or performance issues when CloudFlare experienced its recent outage.

What caused the CloudFlare outage? According to the company the outage was caused when there was an interruption of the company’s network services. This interruption was caused by a number of factors including a massive DDoS attack, an upstream bandwidth provider experiencing network issues and misapplied network rate limits in hopes of mitigating a widespread DDoS.

CloudFlare was indeed under attack. They aren’t denying it. Someone was launching a 65Gbps DDoS attack on the company and the company is being completely open about that fact and what they did to mitigate damage. CloudFlare is also proud to boast about how well they were able to handle the attack. Yes the CloudFlare services were impacted, but the company worked hard to minimize damage and when it came time for an explanation, the company was upfront and honest with its customers.

How does this bode with people who were affected by the attack on CloudFlare? One might be surprised. As one Twitter member, Tod Maffin, mentioned, “Part of the reason I stick with certain vendors, like CloudFlare, is their transparency when something goes wrong.” While the DDoS attack may have been meant to destroy the reputation of CloudFlare, it seems to have had the opposite effect. Twitter member Stefano Bernardi even want so far as to say, “I'm proud to be a CloudFlare customer!” It appears the way CloudFlare handled the attack and communicated with their customers made the difference between a PR nightmare and a PR opportunity.

The CloudFlare story just goes to show you that how you respond to a website or service outage can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how people perceive your company. Honesty, communication and working hard to get things up and running are things that aren’t ignored by customers – in fact it seems that they are greatly appreciated. Kudos to CloudFlare for addressing the issues so quickly and for being so forthright with their clientele. It seems that honesty and integrity do still go a long way in maintaining public relations.

The question remains, was your site affected by the CloudFlare DDoS attack? If you’re an Alertra customer you already know the answer to that question as you would have been notified the moment your site was affected. If your site was affected, take CloudFlare’s lead and let your customers know why and what happened. You may be surprised at just how far a little bit of communication will go in maintaining customer relations and your business’s reputation.