Auto Trader UK

Why Auto Trader UK Chose Cloudflare For Its Cloud Migration

It’s a challenge familiar to any longstanding business with an IT department: how to transition from their current physical, data center-based hardware infrastructure to the next-generation — implemented and maintained in the cloud.

Auto Trader — the largest automobile classifieds service in the United Kingdom and Ireland — recently decided it was time to make that crucial migration. The company’s site offers an array of services, including key information on vehicle valuation and seller reputation. It also hosts over 3,000 custom websites for local dealerships across the UK, who rely on Auto Trader to maintain their online presence.

All told, Auto Trader sees over 55 million visits to its platform every month. With over 10 million transactions completed annually and £330 million in revenue, in addition to the thousands of dealerships relying on its platform — this migration to the cloud was an undertaking with high stakes and little margin for error.

The Challenge

As it looked to switch these mission-critical services to Cloudflare, Auto Trader’s stack consisted of multiple differing technologies which included: PowerDNS (on-premises DNS), Verisign DNS (key external domains), Arbor (DDoS defence), and F5 (load balancing / WAF).

Utilising a variety of different products had downsides including a lack of API access or support for automation, necessitating workarounds and repetitive work. This increased complexity which made tasks more difficult than required — and Auto Trader had to buy each individual product for their specific use case.

Auto Trader Systems Engineer Mark Bell adds: “We wanted something that would combine all of our DNS, performance, and security needs into a single unified interface”.

The Cloudflare Difference

With Cloudflare, all of these products are included in the same service, managed from a single integrated dashboard. That translates to major savings in overhead — no more hardware to maintain — and a user experience that’s vastly easier to navigate.

Cloudflare was one of several options Auto Trader considered: “We believe in performing as much due diligence as possible and as part of this we looked at the various offerings available in the marketplace,” Bell says. And after extensive research and internal discussion, there was a clear winner.

”There was only one decision to make, really: it was to go with Cloudflare, because you’re so far ahead of the competition in regards to the capabilities and the features that you offer. And also, the support — with things like live chat, it’s been very effective and really helpful.”
- Mark Bell
Systems Engineer, Auto Trader

Auto Trader was also drawn to Cloudflare’s flexibility, with extensive API support for automation tasks and the Cloudflare Workers platform to build out custom functionality. It also was keen to take advantage of the extensive cost savings afforded by the switch.

“A key consideration was cost, and we believe Cloudflare are very competitive for the service that they offer in comparison with other providers. Another attraction was the interconnect program between Google Cloud and Cloudflare — which offers up to 75% savings on egress costs.”
- Mark Bell
Systems Engineer, Auto Trader

Along with the convenience of a cloud-based solution, Auto Trader has seen marked improvements in performance: its previous DNS provider Verisign averaged 20-25ms of latency — with Cloudflare, that’s fallen to just 10-13ms — an improvement of 50%.

DNS Latency - Auto Trader - Lower is Better

Security has also been a vital component to Auto Trader's migration, which leverages Cloudflare's WAF — powered by the collective intelligence of millions of Internet properties on Cloudflare's network — to defend against hostile actors.

By migrating from its on-premises infrastructure to Cloudflare, Auto Trader has been able to accelerate its site performance, thwart hostile actors, and improve the operational efficiency of its team. That's a huge win for any company, and Cloudflare is proud to be a part of their cloud migration.

“Performance and Security are imperative to our company, especially going forward as we look to utilize more public cloud based services. Cloudflare’s WAF and built in zone security level has enhanced our security and detected and blocked malicious activity.

I have no doubt in my mind that Cloudflare is the best out there at the moment in what they do.”
- Mark Bell
Systems Engineer, Auto Trader

Learn more about Cloudflare's suite of security and performance products.

Auto Trader UK
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Key Results

• Migrated from on-premises, legacy infrastructure to Cloudflare's integrated performance & security

• Detected and blocked bombardment of malicious attacks by enabling Cloudflare's WAF

• Accelerated DNS performance by 50% using Cloudflare

Not only is the product great in itself, but so are the people who work at Cloudflare — they really care, they’re passionate about the product. They want to help you succeed. It’s rare that you can find a company that you collaborate with where it feels like a real working partnership.

Mark Bell
Systems Engineer, Auto Trader