In March 2009, a group of the original team behind Project Honey Pot began working on a new idea. Dubbed CloudFlare, the skunkworks project's goal was to take Project Honey Pot to a new level. For the first five years of its life, Project Honey Pot has tracked online malicious behavior. The most common request by members of the Project Honey Pot community, however, has always been that we do more to actually stop the bad bots. CloudFlare aimed to do exactly that.
A large sample of active Project Honey Pot members were surveyed about what they wanted in a new service. That feedback was then incorporated into a specification. The goals were ambitious:
- Develop a service that provided broad protection against online attacks,
- Make the service available to anyone with a website regardless of their underlying platform or where their site was hosted,
- Provide better insight into the complete picture of traffic to participating websites,
- Expand the tracking ability to get more visibility into malicious bots,
- Empower web admins with an ability to provide feedback on the traffic they see that can be shared across the community,
- Don't negatively impact site performance, and
- Provide the service at no cost... because you shouldn't have to pay to ensure your website is protected.
While ambitious, almost a year later we've worked with terrific partners and a great team to achieve an early step toward those goals.
In January 2010 the first users began testing the new service in a limited private beta. The results have been terrific so far and we've begun to roll out beta invitation codes to the Project Honey Pot community.
Here's some early feedback from beta testers:
"Wow you have put together a great service. I added CloudFlare to my site and noticed within hours that speed increased."
"I LOVE the UI. The simplicity is wonderful."
"You guys rule!"
"[Signup] was an absolute breeze! [The automatic email protection] is so awesome!"
"The sign-up process was really easy ... very simple and straight forward."
"I botched an upgrade to mysql last night and managed to take my site offline for a few hours [but] Cloudflare offered up a cached version of the page [keeping me online]. Nice touch as I wasn't expecting that benefit."
"Dagnabbit, you guys have accomplished a rare Eureka! moment and if this wonderful new venture succeeds, you'll have taken a quantum leap toward taking the internet back for what it was invented in the first place: as a semantically organized, meaningful and open marketplace for ideas, information, services and products."
We're sending out beta invitation codes to select Project Honey Pot members based on their activity and karma levels. If you haven't gotten one yet, be patient, it'll likely arrive in your inbox in the coming months.
If you receive one, we hope you'll try out CloudFlare and give us feedback on what you think. Click here to visit the CloudFlare site and sign up.