Cloudflare Load Balancing

Over-utilized or geographically distant servers add unnecessary latency and degrade the visitor experience. In many cases, unreliable or misconfigured servers drop visitor requests completely, preventing access to websites, web apps or APIs. Poor visitor experiences like these have a direct impact on revenue, reputation, and customer loyalty.

Expanding on Cloudflare’s highly available DNS infrastructure and global Anycast network, Cloudflare Load Balancing addresses these issues by providing:

  • Local and global load balancing to reduce latency by load balancing traffic across multiple servers or by routing traffic to the closest geolocation region.
  • Health checks with fast failover to rapidly route visitors away from failures.

Already a Cloudflare customer? Activate Load Balancing

"The combination of Load Balancing’s geolocation steering and Cloudflare’s caching makes sure customers are getting the fastest load times possible."
Nigel Hepworth,
Managing Director at Active Solutions Limited

Local and Global Load Balancing to Control Traffic

Cloudflare's Load Balancing automatically reduces latency by directing visitors to infrastructure closest to them: send European customers to the London datacenter, Australian customers to the Sydney datacenter, and anywhere in-between. Load Balancing builds on top of Cloudflare’s Anycast network, allowing for quick delivery of static assets through Cloudflare's CDN, and reducing latency for dynamic requests by keeping visitors close to your infrastructure.

Cloudflare’s global Load balancing operates at the DNS-level and supports any protocol: from HTTP(S) through to TCP and UDP -based services. This allows for usage with existing services or in conjunction with other cloud providers, be it compute, storage, or any combination thereof.

"When we rolled out Cloudflare Load Balancing to route traffic across our atlas of websocket servers, we immediately got messages from customers in Asia and Oceania thanking us for the improvement."
Valérian Saliou,
Chief Technology Officer at Crisp

Health Checks & Fast Failover That Circumvents DNS Propagation Delays

Cloudflare Load Balancing includes active availability monitoring that checks the health of servers from Cloudflare’s datacenters around the globe. Through periodic HTTP/HTTPS requests, monitoring can be configured for specific URLs with customizable intervals, timeouts, and status codes. Availability monitoring checks the health of origin servers as often as every 15 seconds, with reporting via email notifications and a REST API. Seconds after an origin server is marked as unhealthy, multi-region failover intelligently routes traffic to the next available server.

Cloudflare Load Balancing is powered by Cloudflare's DDoS-resilient DNS, one of the fastest DNS providers globally. When used alongside Cloudflare's reverse proxy, Cloudflare DNS changes propagate orders of magnitude faster than public DNS services since Cloudflare can avoid waiting for public time-to-lives (TTLs) to expire.

Session Affinity Without the Need for Application Changes

Session Affinity, often referred to as sticky sessions, directs all end-user requests of a session to a specific origin. Cloudflare’s Load Balancer maintains session affinity by setting a cookie with the initial response to the client. Session Affinity can be enabled through a simple configuration change in the Load Balancing application of Cloudflare’s dashboard.

Shopping carts within e-commerce stores benefit from session affinity. If an end-user adds an item to their cart, subsequent requests during the same session require the end-user to be directed to the same origin server to see the item in their cart, which can be achieved through Session Affinity.

Multi-Cloud Reduces Lock-In and Avoids Outages

Multi-Cloud Reduces Lock-In and Avoids Outages

Cloudflare Load Balancing can be used across multiple cloud providers infrastructure to mitigate the impact of disruptions caused by a single provider or server.

Customers select a primary provider to direct all traffic to. Once a failure is detected, Cloudflare Load Balancing automatically routes traffic to backup providers or regions. For example, if a customer experiences outages or intermittent network connectivity in AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, or even the customer's own infrastructure, Cloudflare Load Balancing automatically fails over to healthy providers or servers.

Benefits of Cloudflare Load Balancing

Load balancing configuration

Configuration Made Simple

Easy configuration through Cloudflare’s dashboard, or automation through a powerful API.

Load balancing DDoS protection by Cloudflare

DDoS Resilient Service

Anycast network that is 10X bigger than the largest DDoS attack ever recorded ensures traffic continues to be routed even under stress.

Cloudflare's global DNS network

Global DNS Network

Health checks from all of Cloudflare’s datacenters enables fast failover unbound by DNS propagation delays.

Already a Cloudflare customer? Activate Load Balancing

Cloudflare Features

Cloudflare protects all Internet assets on its network, while eliminating security-related performance trade-offs through its suite of performance improving functionalities.

Performance

Cloudflare Performance Services help to speed up Internet assets, resulting in better SEO, reduced customer churn, increased conversions, and improved visitor experiences.

  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)

    With 118 data centers across 58 countries, Cloudflare’s Anycast CDN caches static content at the edge, reducing latency by delivering assets as close as geographically possible to visitors.
  • Website Optimizations

    Cloudflare includes a suite of web optimizations to improve the performance of Internet assets. Optimizations include the latest web standards, such as HTTP/2 and TLS 1.3, as well as proprietary enhancements for images and mobile device visitors.
  • DNS

    Cloudflare is the fastest managed DNS provider in the world, routing over 38% of all global DNS traffic. Cloudflare has multiple ways to achieve maximum performance for online assets.
  • Load Balancing

    Cloudflare Load Balancing provides load balancing, geo-steering, monitoring and failover for single, hybrid-cloud, and multi-cloud environments, enhancing performance and availability.
  • Argo Smart Routing

    Argo Smart Routing improves Internet asset performance on average of 35% by routing visitors through the least congested and most reliable paths on Cloudflare's private network.
  • Railgun

    Railgun compresses previously uncacheable web objects up to 99.6% by leveraging techniques similar to those used in the compression of high-quality video. This results in an average 200% additional performance increase.
  • Stream

    Cloudflare Stream makes streaming video easy by handling data storage, media encoding, content embedding and playing, regional delivery, and analytics.

Security

Cloudflare Security Services help to reduce the risk of losing customers, revenues, and trustworthiness of brand by protecting against DDoS attacks, abusive bots, and data compromise.

  • Anycast Network

    With 118 data centers across 58 countries and 10 Tbps of capacity, Cloudflare’s Anycast network absorbs distributed attack traffic by dispersing it geographically, while keeping Internet properties available and performant.
  • DNSSEC

    DNSSEC is the Internet’s non-spoofable caller ID. It guarantees a web application’s traffic is safely routed to the correct servers so that a site’s visitors are not intercepted by a hidden “man-in-the-middle” attacker.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF)

    Cloudflare’s enterprise-grade web application firewall (WAF) detects and block common application layer vulnerabilities at the network edge, utilising the OWASP Top 10, application-specific and custom rulesets.
  • Rate Limiting

    Rate Limiting protects critical resources by providing fine-grained control to block or qualify visitors with suspicious request rates.
  • SSL / TLS

    Transport Security Layer (TLS) encryption enables HTTPS connections between visitors and origin server(s), preventing man-in-the-middle attacks, packet sniffing, the display of web browser trust warnings, and more.
  • Secure Registrar

    Cloudflare is an ICANN accredited registrar, protecting organizations from domain hijacking with high-touch, online and offline verification for any changes to a registrar account.
  • Orbit

    Cloudflare Orbit solves security-related issues for Internet of Things devices at the network level.
  • Warp

    Automatically secure, accelerate, route, and load balance applications and services without directly exposing them to the internet.
  • Workers

    Cloudflare Workers let developers run JavaScript Service Workers in Cloudflare's 118 data centers around the world.