Based at East London’s London Stadium, West Ham United Football Club has been an enduring fixture in English football for well over one hundred years.
The club enjoys the English Premier League’s third-highest average matchday attendance — around 58,000 supporters per game — and has a strong international support base who depend on the West Ham United website for game updates. Every match brings up to a 10x spike in visitor traffic, driven in part by the club’s massive social media following, and by a Premier League blackout on televising Saturday matches in the UK after three pm.
“Match days and the buildup to games are when the fans turn to the site for news. It is a platform for the club’s manager to explain the strategy, player formations, and injuries of the day,” explains Richard Ravenhill, Technical Director at Skye Cloud, a West Ham sponsor and the club’s official private server and networking provider. “Throughout the game, the site provides West Ham fans with real-time updates of what's going on — explaining fouls and cards, updating scores, and more.”
Unfortunately, West Ham’s incumbent cloud service partner and legacy website weren’t up to providing the security, reliability, and performance the club needed during these matchday traffic spikes. The club experienced frequent website outages, causing impatient fans to seek news and fan merchandise elsewhere.
“West Ham supporters are a passionate bunch, they don’t wait for a slow page to load. They want information in real time so they can keep up with match day news,” explains Ravenhill. “The website is also a hub for the club’s revenue-generating activities — its YouTube videos and the official sites for West Ham tickets, merchandise, and memorabilia. If the fans can't get to those portals, they can’t support the club financially — which is obviously bad news.”
In addition, the club needed to maintain strong web performance during volatile off-season transfer windows.
“During the summer transfer window, when the marquee player trades and signings happen, there is a lot of media buzz around the West Ham lineup,” says James Bishop, Skye Cloud’s Director. “West Ham supporters check the site regularly to confirm or dispel rumors about who is joining the club and who will be going.”
Performance and reliability weren’t West Ham’s sole focus. Proactively ensuring the security of its website, mobile apps, and fan base was another key priority.
“As a Premier League club, we are a target that is constantly under threat,” says Mo Ali, the West Ham United Director of IT, referring to malicious attacks other Premier League football clubs have suffered in the past.
“The Internet is full of bad actors that target high-profile sites. While we have been safe so far, we need to stay one step ahead to protect the brand,” Ali adds.
After a 2021 performance and security review of its website and web host, West Ham was ready for change. That change took the form of Skye Cloud, the bespoke cloud and private UK hosting provider. In addition to an excellent reputation, Skye Cloud had a strong personal connection to the club.
“Skye Cloud provided us with information about best practices, how we should use our infrastructure, and the vendors that we should partner with to provide the best web experience to our supporters,” says Ali. “Based on those recommendations, we chose them as an official sponsor and business partner.”
One of Skye Cloud’s first actions was to switch West Ham onto the Cloudflare Global Network to improve the core security of its website and mobile applications.
“We wanted to be sure West Ham had proper security in place from day one. We wanted a partner that we knew could deliver and that's where Cloudflare came in,” says Ravenhill.
The West Ham migration to Skye Cloud included implementing Cloudflare DNS services, the Web Application Firewall (WAF), and page rules to filter and redirect traffic. In addition, Skye adopted Cloudflare DDoS mitigation — a proactive measure the club has not yet needed but is important to strengthen its security posture.
With Cloudflare security in place, Skye Cloud focused on enhancing the West Ham site’s match-day performance. Skye Cloud relies on the Cloudflare Global Content Delivery Network (CDN) to handle the club’s peak traffic loads.
“The Cloudflare network delivers all web content to the West Ham fan base,” says Ali. “Because we can offload that traffic, Cloudflare radically reduces the number of hits we take, — in one 24-hour match day peak, the West Ham site received 11.5 million requests. Cloudflare handled over 93% of them.”
Because Cloudflare handles the club’s web traffic so efficiently, Skye Cloud can pass their savings on to West Ham as reduced hosting fees.
For the club and its sponsor, the benefits of the relationship with Cloudflare are clear. West Ham and Skye Cloud plan to continue the partnership for the foreseeable future, expanding into other Cloudflare products like Zero Trust as their fan base and infrastructure develop.
“100% uptime speaks volumes as a testament to the Cloudflare, Skye Cloud, and West Ham collaboration. There isn’t a better statistic to describe the results,” says Ravenhill. “Cloudflare just works. They are a partner you can trust. A partner that responds when you need them and provides you with insights into product development, training, and a product you can rely on.”
Eliminated lost merchandise and ticket revenue due to site outages and poor load times
Significantly reduced cloud hosting costs with 93% of match-day requests offloaded to Cloudflare
10x traffic surges absorbed, maintaining 100% uptime
“Cloudflare reduces the number of hits we take because we offload most of the content that goes out to the fans. In one 24-hour match day peak, the West Ham site received 11.5 million requests. Cloudflare handled over 93% of them.”
Director of IT, West Ham United FC
“We wanted to be sure West Ham had the best security in place from day one. We wanted a partner that we knew could deliver, and that's where Cloudflare came in.”
Skye Cloud Technical Director