PagesJaunes is a digital directory and local search service used by a large number of French companies. It is also a major player on the web and one of the most visited sites in France. PagesJaunes' services are available via mobile applications and on the web, allowing companies to increase their visibility by displaying and digitalizing their content. Above all else, its mission is to improve community life by connecting French individuals and businesses.
PagesJaunes is also a registered trademark of Solocal. Solocal is among the European leaders in web advertising solutions and a specialist in the field of advertising, communications and digital marketing. In 2020, the company had more than 314,000 customers, with annual traffic of 2.4 billion visits.
To support its business operations, PagesJaunes must manage a very large database with sensitive information on the companies listed there. This data must be kept secure, in order to comply with European data protection regulations.
Loïc Troquet, Head of Architecture, Performance and Security at PagesJaunes, explains the main challenges facing the company: “Many people are interested in our data. As a result, we often face large-scale attempts to copy our directory or to sell our data.”
"Between 2018 and 2019, we migrated most of our on-premise servers to the cloud. This shift in infrastructure required even more protection than the solutions we already had in place," says Troquet. "The digitalization of our services weighed heavily on our infrastructure. The loading times of our pages were sometimes excessive, especially for connections from overseas territories.”
These problems led Troquet and his team to look for new solutions on the market. "We considered several services but apart from Cloudflare, none of them were able to cover the entire spectrum combining security and performance," he explains.
Troquet goes on to recount the beginnings of his cooperation with Cloudflare: "Our exchanges were made easier because the technical teams are French-speaking. They understood our problem very well and were able to provide answers to our issues, which immediately put our minds at ease.”
Following a proof of concept (PoC), PagesJaunes decided to implement Cloudflare solutions for the majority of its services. Thanks to the Cloudflare CDN (Content Delivery Network) they were able to limit incoming traffic, while ensuring the management of caches and DNS. This also allowed them to address the issues of certificate expiration and automatic renewal, which Solocal previously had to manage on their own.
"We quickly noticed that the traffic absorbed by the Cloudflare CDN meant that our infrastructure was less stressed and more resilient," insists Troquet. "70% of the bandwidth no longer needed to be serviced by Solocal's infrastructure." This has reduced loading times for users of their services.
Troquet presents the results obtained with other Cloudflare solutions, including those deployed to ensure digital security: "We already had solutions in place, but none were as successful as Cloudflare. We regularly face DDoS or large-scale scraping attacks. Cloudflare protection automatically spots them and blocks them quickly," he says.
In conjunction with WAF and anti-scraping solutions, PagesJaunes succeeds in reducing the cyber risks that their pages previously faced: "Cloudflare protection has resulted in millions of attacks stopped every month.”
Solocal has since expanded its scope of operation with Cloudflare, applying Cloudflare’s security and performance solutions to 10 other sites such as ooreka.fr, ootravaux.fr and clicrdv.com. This expansion provided an opportunity to implement new solutions as well: "We had more precise geolocation needs. Cloudflare Workers has helped us deliver more relevant content to our users as soon as they arrived on the site. The Cloudflare Argo smart routing solution is also more efficient for routing traffic from the search engines we work with (Google, Yahoo, Bing).”
Troquet explains that Cloudflare has provided other benefits: "Some infrastructure update operations can be quite time-consuming, such as setting up HTTP/2 or switching to TLS 1.3. It was very easy to perform these tasks on Cloudflare with a few clicks from the administration console."
Cloudflare has thus optimized certain technical administration tasks of the pagesjaunes.fr site by reducing the number of steps required to perform these tasks.
In the future, Troquet hopes to intensify the collaboration with Cloudflare, in particular to study the opportunities offered by the wealth of features made available by Cloudflare.
"One of Cloudflare's main strengths is its ease of use. Cloudflare has allowed us to save time, in particular by reducing our administrative tasks.”
Despite the health crisis in 2020, Troquet remained positive. “We have managed to provide localized and personalized online directories of regions and cities to facilitate the emergence of Click&Collect at a local level. Cloudflare has allowed us to quickly deploy the new digital directories and thus support local merchants.”
70% of the bandwidth no longer needed to be serviced by Solocal's infrastructure.
Cloudflare protection prevents millions of cyberattacks monthly.
Cloudflare Argo reduces access times to the group's sites.
“We already had solutions in place, but none were as successful as Cloudflare. We regularly face DDoS or large-scale scraping attacks. Cloudflare protection automatically spots them and blocks them quickly.”
Head of Architecture, Performance and Security
“We considered several services but apart from Cloudflare, none of them were able to cover the entire spectrum combining security and performance.”
Head of Architecture, Performance and Security