Cloudflare Serves Up Delicious Results for iCook

Food is a universal language that brings people together. This is especially true in Asia where people often bond over a meal. While eating has always been a communal activity, today’s digital world has enabled cooking to go social too.

Thanks to the Internet, cooking enthusiasts can now connect across time and space, sharing their recipes and learning from others. In Taiwan, much of this is happening on iCook. Born in 2011 as the brainchild of software development company Polydice Inc., iCook is Taiwan’s largest recipe-sharing social networking site. In fact, iCook has determined that one in three women in Taiwan are iCook users, creating an active and vibrant online community of about five million people.

The price of performance

As a social networking site, iCook uses technology as an enabler, and cooking as a shared passion, to connect people.

“In Taiwan, people think of iCook when they want to share their recipes or when they are looking for cooking inspiration,” explained Technical Project Manager Paul Lee. “They often use our platform while they are busily cooking in the kitchen, so the performance of our website and mobile app has a major impact on the user experience. Ideally, we want to achieve content delivery that is so smooth and seamless that it feels like someone is demonstrating the cooking process right before their eyes.”

This level of performance is quite a feat considering that iCook hosts over 190,000 recipes — most of which are asset heavy with videos and photos — and enjoys an average monthly click rate of about 63 million. iCook has managed to meet this demand at an eye-watering cost that quickly became unsustainable. That was when Paul and his team embarked on a search for a more affordable cloud service provider that would be capable of handling their highest traffic spikes without issue — and found Cloudflare.

"With Cloudflare, we are achieving 20% cost savings without any compromise on performance and security. To say that we are pleased would be an understatement.”
— Paul Lee
Technical Project Manager, Polydice Inc.

The Cloudflare difference

iCook was ultimately convinced by Cloudflare’s ability to serve content with speed and security as well as agility and affordability. Paul points out that while cost was the reason iCook started looking for an alternative, it was not the team’s only consideration. “Performance and security are equally important to us. These are areas that we are unwilling to compromise on even in the face of cost pressures,” stated Paul.

“In order to continue growing the iCook brand and expand our services, we need to optimize the performance of our website and mobile app. Performance is at the heart of the user experience, so we are constantly striving for faster loading time while maintaining high-quality images.

We are also guardians of a vast amount of personal data, which makes security another non-negotiable priority. Cloudflare checked all the boxes for us, so choosing it was a straightforward decision.”
— Paul Lee
Technical Project Manager, Polydice Inc.

While Cloudflare’s network takes care of front-end performance, Cloudflare Workers is helping iCook improve back-end efficiency. By using Workers as an API gateway, the team is able to aggregate responses from multiple endpoints into a single response, reducing the resource burden of compiling individual responses.

“We also use Workers to distribute cookies and tracking codes to gather data on user behaviour,” added Paul. “From this data, we develop user insights, which then allow us to make recommendations to improve the overall user experience. Our partnership with Cloudflare, you could say, is a recipe for success.”

Related Case Studies
Key Results

• With Cloudflare, iCook has gotten robust security and performance while achieving 20% cost savings — without tradeoffs.

• Cloudflare Workers empower iCook to write custom code that aggregates responses from multiple endpoints — improving backend efficiency.

With Cloudflare, we are achieving 20% cost savings without any compromise on performance and security. To say that we are pleased would be an understatement.

Paul Lee
Technical Project Manager, Polydice Inc.