Yola uses Cloudflare to secure their websites and shrewdly manage their service costs.
Yola, headquartered in San Francisco, offers a website creation and hosting platform to millions of customers. Its flagship product, a web-based site builder, allows nontechnical users to create a website and establish a digital presence for themselves or their small businesses through Yola’s ecommerce and marketing tools. Today, Yola has more than 10 million users and hosts 50 million pages across both dedicated and shared domains.
Similar to Cloudflare, Yola shares the mission to make the web secure for all global visitors. With this mission, they started researching ways to offer Universal SSL to all of the web properties on their network. As a big proponent for for Web Security and Performance, they already had put in place DDoS protection, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and managed DNS capabilities to deliver a world class service. When Yola started evaluating alternatives, a question came to mind; “Could we roll out Universal SSL while at the same time consolidating multiple vendor contracts?”
Cloudflare first made an impact in the evaluation process by showing the speed and ease of rolling out Universal SSL for all its customers. With that primary need in place, Yola began to evaluate Cloudflare for a wider range of services including DDoS protection, CDN, and DNS. Yola’s detailed analysis showed that Cloudflare can effectively deliver on these feature areas as well. By consolidating vendors from three to one, Yola was able to cut costs and enhance their end users’ website performance and efficiency.
Getting Started: The Integration Phase
Though Cloudflare offered the perfect single-vendor solution for Yola’s multiple needs, there was still the challenge of migrating Yola’s substantial user base to Cloudflare’s platform. Lisa Retief, VP of Engineering at Yola, remarked that “Cloudflare was very supportive during the onboarding process. It was not a simple one for us on the partner side, as we had millions of user sites that needed to be migrated. Any questions we had were promptly answered and appropriately escalated.”
Migrating Yola’s users in a straightforward and scalable way was key to the project’s success. Thanks to the ease of Cloudflare’s host API, Yola had managed to move their user base to Cloudflare’s platform within a few weeks.
Deep Dive: Benefits of SSL Security
According to Yola, one of the big selling points for Cloudflare was its Universal SSL service. Lisa Retief noted that a big problem Cloudflare solved “was how to turn on SSL traffic to our users’ websites. There were a few ways to solve the problem, but when Cloudflare launched their Universal SSL product it provided a simpler path to get there.” Cloudflare’s Universal SSL service is offered for free to every Cloudflare client because Cloudflare believes in encrypting as much web traffic as possible to prevent data theft and other site tampering.
Deep Dive: DDoS Protection
All of Yola’s sites are automatically protected against level 3 and 4 DDoS attacks thanks to Cloudflare’s advanced Anycast Network DDoS mitigation technology. As a host that can have multiple websites on a single shared IP address, Yola has always provided their users with premium DDoS protection, because when one site is attacked, many users are potentially affected. Because of Cloudflare’s state-of-the-art Anycast Network, these attacks are s ystematically and automatically protected for every one of Yola’s sites. This has allowed Yola to discontinue service with their previous DDoS mitigator.
Deep Dive: Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Yola now enjoys extremely fast content loading due to Cloudflare’s global CDN. A key for Yola’s ability to serve small business customers from all around the world is to bring website content close to local web surfers. By using Cloudflare’s CDN, the page content from Yola’s 10 million+ sites gets replicated to Cloudflare’s 151 global PoP’s and optimizes page load experiences for site visitors from all around the world.
Cloudflare operates one of the fastest DNS infrastructures in the world. Through Cloudflare’s global, powerful, and secure DNS, Yola has seen improvements in users’ page loading times, which in turn has improved overall customer satisfaction. Furthermore, because Yola has moved its sites behind Cloudflare’s Proxy, every site uses Cloudflare’s DNS and is thus protected at both the subdomain and root domain level.
Unexpected Benefit: Bandwidth Savings
What started out as an effort to roll out Universal SSL to all of its customers has expanded to a wide adoption of Cloudflare’s features. One result of employing all of this functionality from the same vendor on the same network has been a reduction in bandwidth usage now that 40% of the requests to user sites is served from cache. This reduction resulted from the combination of Cloudflare’s, SSL security, advanced DDoS protection, Global CDN, and DNS infrastructure.
40% of requests to user sites are served directly from edge side caching
All of Yola's sites are protected against level 3 and 4 DDoS attacks
Full Migration to SSL through Cloudflare's Universal SSL
“Cloudflare was very supportive during the onboarding process. It was not a simple one for us on the partner side, as we had millions of user sites that needed to be migrated.”
VP of Engineering