BigScoots improves customer site performance and security with Cloudflare

BigScoots has been operating for 13 years as a fully managed WordPress hosting provider that offers site specific, done-for-you premium management and services for website owners of all shapes and sizes. They provide WordPress site and plugin management, around the clock proactive monitoring, DDoS protection, enhanced security, infinite scalability, database optimization, core vital improvements and 24/7/365 with ~90-second response support for a customer base of 10,000+ users who generate many billions of site visits each month.

Driven by a nimble team of experts who are dedicated to the success of their clients, they are able to focus the time and attention where it matters most, addressing performance, security, and reliability concerns for brand-new WordPress websites, established enterprises, and everything in between.

Challenge: Always improving the customer experience

BigScoots stays laser focused on the level of service they provide to their hosted websites. The BigScoots team manages and optimizes customer’s WordPress sites and is always looking for ways to reduce latency, boost performance and eliminate other pain points for their customers.

Site performance can be highly dependent on external factors, such as the speed of DNS lookups, various forms of cache, and the performance of the network between the user and the server. By leveraging Cloudflare’s robust performance and security network rather than building these services in-house, BigScoots is able to continue to stay focused on customer management, while also achieving an efficient, scalable, secure and performance oriented network.

Cloudflare Magic Transit improves uptime, response time and attack mitigation

For BigScoots, uptime is critical, and they were seeking better ways to handle DDoS attacks with their current provider. The company needed to be able to identify any ongoing attacks and manually route attack traffic to a scrubbing center; a process that incurred mitigation delays for their customers. Also, managing DDoS traffic manually took time and resources away from other areas of customer service.

To meet the BigScoots customer service goals, they knew they needed always-on DDoS protection, but were concerned about the negative impacts it could have on latency. Often, always-on DDoS protection adds latency as inbound traffic is routed through one of the provider’s few DDoS scrubbing locations.

With Cloudflare, this wasn’t a problem.

“With Cloudflare, we’ve actually seen improved network latency as a result of enabling Magic Transit with always-on DDoS protection,” said Scott Stapley, BigScoot's CEO.

Inbound traffic is routed over Cloudflare’s optimized, global network, which offers better performance than the public Internet. In addition to providing improved network performance, Magic Transit also offered peace of mind to BigScoots’ team by completely eliminating the threat of volumetric DDoS attacks.

Stapley commented, “Recently, we experienced a 1 Tbps attack and it wasn’t even noticed. I just happened to be in the dashboard at the time and saw the huge traffic peak.”

For BigScoots, even a short blip in availability has a negative impact on their customer experience — and large-scale attacks can degrade or destroy their network performance. Since Cloudflare sits in front of BigScoots' uplinks, DDoS traffic is scrubbed (and optimized!) before it hits any potential bottlenecks, and volumetric attacks are eliminated without causing any downtime for BigScoots and their customers.

Cloudflare optimizes network performance

BigScoots’ relationship with Cloudflare began more than a decade ago when they adopted Cloudflare’s managed DNS and CDN services to cache webpages and static content to improve customer website performance. Before that, BigScoots handled DNS entries for their clients internally; a process that demanded significant human resources.

Switching over to Cloudflare DNS helped improve both performance and security for their customers, while still allowing BigScoots to help manage their customers DNS - a unique aspect of BigScoots that allows for a more hands on level of management. The Cloudflare global network spans 300+ data centers worldwide, enabling DNS lookup speeds of 11 ms (on average) and propagation of DNS record updates in less than five seconds. Also, Cloudflare DNS provides robust protection against DNS record poisoning, zone transfers, and other potential security threats.

With the successful deployment of managed DNS, BigScoots took further advantage of the Cloudflare network to improve performance and reliability. Cloudflare helped reduce the latency of accessing cached content and the load on BigScoots’ origin servers.

Cloudflare’s API-first architecture is also a major benefit for BigScoots, especially when onboarding new customers. BigScoots’ onboarding portal was configured to automatically provision accounts and onboard customers to Cloudflare services and configure their DNS settings via prebuilt API queries.

According to Stapley,“Through our WPO portal and the Cloudflare API, we've streamlined the onboarding of new sites. This efficiency reduces manual tasks which in our case completely eliminates mistakes, allowing us to concentrate on ensuring the highest quality of service.”

BigScoots and Cloudflare are both focused on improving the customer experience by removing common pain points and sources of friction. According to Stapley, working with Cloudflare has empowered BigScoots to allocate more time and attention to delivering essential services to their customers.

“BigScoots is all about our service and constantly asking ‘what can we do better?’ With Cloudflare improving our services and adding additional value has been an easy win after easy win for us."

Cloudflare SSL for SaaS accelerates site performance

BigScoots offers a custom "managed performance plan" to help optimize and speed up their customers' sites. A custom built WordPress plugin combines BigScoots’ services with SSL for SaaS features, such as image optimization with automated cache management. An easy win to help improve web core vitals.

By reducing the size of downloaded webpages and fetching data from caches whenever possible, Cloudflare assists by reducing page load times and improves the performance and user experience of their sites. By packing these features into their fully Managed WordPress plans, BigScoots makes it easier for their customers to deploy these optimizations and help them manage it along the way.

Enabling high-performance WordPress management

Cloudflare and BigScoots are dedicated to improving website performance and the customer experience.

According to Stapley, “Fortunately for us, Cloudflare keeps delivering new features that we can integrate and offer to our customers. Many of which we have already begun to utilize daily.”

Cloudflare continues to innovate and provide key tools that BigScoots customers can leverage to help eliminate inefficiencies and pain points. To name a few, BigScoots manages the integration of WAF, Bot Protection and Sensitive Data Protection log for additional security, and Polish, HTTP/3 and Early Hints for performance - BigScoots expertly delivers the full suite of Cloudflare solutions to their customers.

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Key Results
  • Cloudflare successfully deflects 1 Tbps + DDoS attacks with 100% uptime, while improving network latency with Magic Transit

  • Cloudflare helps improve performance globally with lightning-fast DNS, improved cache HIT rates with Argo Smart Tiered Cache and Regional Tiered Cache

  • BigScoots integrates and manages the full suite of Cloudflare services for their customers

With Cloudflare, we've actually seen improved network latency as a result of enabling Magic Transit with always-on DDoS protection.

Scott Stapley

Recently, we experienced a 1 Tbps attack and didn't even notice it. I just happened to be in the dashboard at the time and saw a huge traffic spike.

Scott Stapley