Andrew A. Schafer

Author Archives: Andrew A. Schafer

China | Silicon Valley | China: A path less traveled

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.”
― Confucius


China | Silicon Valley | China: A path less traveled

Don’t tell our CEO, Matthew Prince, but the first day I interviewed at Cloudflare I had a $9.00 phone in my pocket, a knock-off similar to a Nokia 5140, but the UI was all in Chinese characters—that phone was a fitting symbol for my technical prowess. At that time in my career I could send emails and use Google, but that was about the extent of my tech skill set. The only code I’d ever seen was in the Matrix, Apple computers confused me, and I was working as a philosophy lecturer at The University of California, Santa Cruz. So, you know, I was pretty much the ideal candidate for a deeply technical, Silicon Valley startup.

This was in 2013. I had just returned from two years of Peace Corps service in the far Southwest of China approaching the Himalayan plateau. That experience gave me the confidence to walk into Cloudflare’s office knowing that I would be good for the job despite the gaps in my knowledge. My early training in philosophy plus my Peace Corps service gave me a blueprint for learning and Continue reading

Prepare Your Site for Traffic Spikes this Holiday Season

The holiday season is approaching, and everyone is thinking about gifts for their friends and family. As people increasingly shop online, this means huge spikes in traffic for web sites---especially ecommerce sites. We want you to get the most out of this year’s surge in web traffic, so we’ve created a list of tips to help you prepare your site to ensure your visitors have a reliable and fast experience.

Make sure your site can handle traffic spikes:

1) Contact your hosting provider to understand the limits of your hosting plan

Even though CloudFlare offsets most of the load to your website via caching and request filtering, a certain amount of traffic will still pass through to your host. Knowing the limits of your plan can help prevent a bottleneck from your hosting plan.

2) Reduce the number of unwanted requests to your infrastructure

CloudFlare allows you to block IP address individually or IPs from entire regions. If you don’t want or need traffic from certain IPs or regions, you can block them using your Threat Control panel. This is useful for sites who know where their visitors usually come from.

For example, if you run an ecommerce site with Continue reading

Migrating to the Ghost Blogging Platform

For those of you that follow the CloudFlare blog, you’ll know that we try to be prolific. We have industry leaders like Matthew Prince, John Graham-Cumming, Nick Sullivan, and others publishing pieces weekly from the front lines of internet performance and security. We’re also big fans of open source software, which is used in almost everything we do.

A little over a year ago we watched as a brand new independent open source blogging platform called Ghost started making waves, raising over $300,000 on Kickstarter. A little later, we reached out to the team to see if CloudFlare could help make the lightning-fast Node.js platform even faster and more secure on the Ghost(Pro) hosted service.

In March, Ghost announced that their entire Pro network was powered by CloudFlare, and today we’re pleased to announce that the CloudFlare blog is now running on Ghost.

While things look largely the same, you’ll find new and improved RSS feeds as well as tag and author archives to allow you to browse through our backlog of content more easily. The biggest improvement by far, though, is in the writing tools which we now have available to us—meaning our team is Continue reading

DIY Web Server: Raspberry Pi + CloudFlare

The Raspberry Pi was created with a simple mission in mind: change the way people interact with computers. This inexpensive, credit card-sized machine is encouraging people, especially kids, to start playing with computers, not on them.

When the first computers came out, basic programming skills were necessary. This was the age of the Amigas, BBC Micros, the Spectrum ZX, and Commodore 64s. The generation that grew up with these machines gained a fundamental understanding how how computers work.

Computers today are easy to use and require zero understanding of programming to operate. They’re also expensive, and wrapped in sleek cases. While aesthetically pleasing designs and user friendly interfaces make computers appealing and accessible to everyone, these advances create a barrier to understanding how computers work and what they are capable of doing. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but for those who really understand computers, it seems that our collective sense of the power of computing has been dulled.

Raspberry Pi marks the beginning of a conscious effort to return to computing fundamentals. Starting at about $25—case not included—it’s purposely designed to remove barriers to tinkering, reprograming, and, ultimately, to understanding how computers work. This return to fundamentals is rejuvenating the Continue reading