Font Awesome creates icons for companies to use in their websites and products. It began as an open-source project in 2012 and evolved into a business in 2015. Today, it is nearly impossible to browse the Internet without seeing icons created or hosted by Font Awesome. It hosts thousands of icons, which have been used on over 100 million websites.
Font Awesome is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution. It runs a content distribution network (CDN) that provides access to icons for websites and other apps. The popularity of Font Awesome’s icons and its clients’ sites means that their infrastructure is often under heavy load.
The company tried a couple of different solutions, but they were ineffective. As a result, Font Awesome had to delay product releases because it lacked the infrastructure to support them.
Font Awesome began a trial to see if Cloudflare solutions could solve their issues. Rob Madole, Software Engineer at Font Awesome, was impressed with the results, saying, “We were able to try everything out from the beginning. So much so that we had Terraform - an infrastructure as code software tool - set up and working before we signed on the dotted line. That was fantastic.”
After partnering with Cloudflare, Font Awesome’s stability and scalability issues disappeared. Cloudflare’s solutions monitor the health of origin servers and optimally routes traffic to the best match. According to Madole, “The pressure is gone. I know that, when an origin server goes down, Cloudflare has already worked around it. It is diverting that traffic to a healthy origin, and I could go in there and debug without stress.”
In addition to increased resiliency, Cloudflare Load Balancing also provides improved performance. With dynamic traffic steering, Font Awesome doesn’t need to plan for deployments in new locations because Cloudflare automatically handles traffic routing. With this optimization, Font Awesome has seen an average 60 ms performance improvement. According to Madole, “The performance improvement from Cloudflare is a huge benefit for our clients. If you shave 60 ms off your request on a retail site, that equals sales, conversions, and engagement. It's fantastic.”
Cloudflare’s solutions also help Font Awesome’s development processes, as managing a large SaaS solution with a small team can be overwhelming. By increasing visibility, automating infrastructure management, and supporting an alternative approach to caching, Cloudflare API, Terraform Provider, and Workers address Font Awesome’s development challenges.
The Cloudflare API gives Font Awesome visibility into its infrastructure and network performance. In the past, Font Awesome often learned of outages from their customers. Now, the company is immediately notified of concerns and can start work on addressing any issues.
The Terraform Provider Font Awesome tested in the demo has also been a huge help to the company. Previously, origin servers were configured and deployed manually, but with Terraform Provider, Font Awesome is able to automate the configuration of their infrastructure. This makes its origin servers faster and easier to deploy and eliminates the chance for errors.
In addition to Cloudflare Load Balancing, Font Awesome also uses Workers - which allows serverless applications to be deployed at the edge of Cloudflare’s global network - to improve site performance. The company’s new GraphQL API previously experienced issues due to high traffic loads. With Workers, Font Awesome is able to implement caching for the API, a feature that would be difficult to implement otherwise due to GraphQL’s use of POST requests. With Workers, Font Awesome was able to design and deploy a solution in less than a day that ensured that their API could stay up despite high request volumes.
For Font Awesome, Cloudflare Load Balancing is essential to the health of the business. In the past, infrastructure issues hurt the company’s reputation and blocked the development pipeline. Now, the company can focus on developing and releasing icon updates and new features.
Cloudflare Load Balancing improved performance by 60 ms.
Cloudflare allows Font Awesome to meet user demands and push out timely releases.
Cloudflare Workers prevented Font Awesome's GraphQL API from crashing under heavy load.
“The performance improvement from Cloudflare is a huge benefit for our clients. If you shave 60 ms off your request on a retail site, that equals sales, conversions, and engagement. It's fantastic.”
“The pressure is gone. I know that when an origin server goes down, Cloudflare has already worked around it. It is diverting that traffic to a healthy origin, and I could go in there and debug without stress.”