João Tomé

Author Archives: João Tomé

How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends

How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends
How Ramadan shows up in Internet trends

What happens to the Internet traffic in countries where many observe Ramadan? Depending on the country, there are clear shifts and changing patterns in Internet use, particularly before dawn and after sunset.

This year, Ramadan started on April 2, and it continued until May 1, 2022, (dates vary and are dependent on the appearance of the crescent moon). For Muslims, it is a period of introspection, communal prayer and also of fasting every day from dawn to sunset. That means that people only eat at night (Iftar is the first meal after sunset that breaks the fast and often also a family or community event), and also before sunrise (Suhur).

In some countries, the impact is so big that we can see in our Internet traffic charts when the sun sets. Sunrise is more difficult to check in the charts, but in the countries more impacted, people wake up much earlier than usual and were using the Internet in the early morning because of that.

Cloudflare Radar data shows that Internet traffic was impacted in several countries by Ramadan, with a clear increase in traffic before sunrise, and a bigger than usual decrease after sunset. All times Continue reading

Watching Eurovision 2022 on Cloudflare Radar

Watching Eurovision 2022 on Cloudflare Radar
Watching Eurovision 2022 on Cloudflare Radar

The Eurovision Song Contest has a history that goes back to 1956, so it's even older than the European Union and one of its highlights over the years was being the first global stage for the Swedish group ABBA — Waterloo won the 1974 edition). This year, for the 66th edition, we have a dedicated page for Eurovision fans, journalists or anyone interested in following Internet trends related to the event taking place in Turin, Italy.

The contest consists of two semi-finals and a final. The first semi-final is today, May 10, at 21:00 CEST, the second is Thursday, May 12, at 21:00 CEST. And the final is on Saturday, May 14, at 21:00 CEST. We are using Central European Summer Time and not our usual (on Radar) UTC because that’s the timezone of most of the 40 countries that will take part in the contest. There will be 17 countries in the first semi-final, 18 in the second, and 25 in the final (the full list is here).

From countries to fan sites.

First, you can see the Internet traffic aggregate in all the 40 countries that are participating in Eurovision 2022. There’s also a Continue reading

Tracking shifts in Internet connectivity in Kherson, Ukraine

Tracking shifts in Internet connectivity in Kherson, Ukraine

The Internet is not only a human right according to the United Nations, and a way to get information, but it has also become an important element in geopolitical conflicts, like the war going on in Ukraine. We have previously written about Ukrainians moving westward to escape the war and Internet outages in the country, but also about the importance of the open Internet in Russia.

Over this past week, we observed an outage in the occupied city of Kherson, south Ukraine, coupled with an apparent shift in who controls the Internet within the region. First, let’s give some context and show what we saw.

The Russian-occupied Kherson (a city of 280,000 people) experienced an Internet outage on Saturday, April 30, 2022, that began just after 16:00 UTC. The outage lasted until Wednesday, May 4, with traffic starting to return around 04:30 UTC traffic.

Tracking shifts in Internet connectivity in Kherson, Ukraine

In the chart below, we can see that there was a 43% decrease in traffic from Kherson from February 23 to 24, after the war started. However, this weekend’s outage is the most significant disruption to Internet traffic in Kherson since the start of the war.

Tracking shifts in Internet connectivity in Kherson, Ukraine

According to Ukraine’s vice Prime-Minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, and Continue reading

Two voting days, a debate and a polling rule in France impacts the Internet

Two voting days, a debate and a polling rule in France impacts the Internet
Two voting days, a debate and a polling rule in France impacts the Internet

We blogged previously about some trends concerning the first round of the 2022 French presidential election, held on April 10. Here we take a look at the run-off election this Sunday, April 24, that ended up re-electing Emmanuel Macron as President of France.

First, the two main trends: French-language news sites outside France were clearly impacted by the local rule that states that exit polls can only be published after 20:00.

And Internet traffic was similar on both the election days (April 10 and 24) and that includes the increase in use of mobile devices and interest in news websites — there we also saw a clear interest in the Macron-Le Pen debate on April 20.

We have discussed before that election days usually don’t have a major impact on overall Internet traffic. Let’s compare April 10 with 24, the two Sundays when the elections were held. The trends throughout the day are incredibly similar (with a slight increase in traffic on April 24), even with a two-week gap between them.

Two voting days, a debate and a polling rule in France impacts the Internet

Another election-day trend is the use of mobile devices to access the Internet, mainly at night. The largest spikes in number of requests made using mobile devices in Continue reading

Deux jours de vote, un débat et une réglementation concernant les élections en France impactent l’Internet

Deux jours de vote, un débat et une réglementation concernant les élections en France impactent l'Internet
Deux jours de vote, un débat et une réglementation concernant les élections en France impactent l'Internet

Nous avons publié un article de blog consacré à certaines tendances concernant le premier tour de l'élection présidentielle française de 2022, qui s'est déroulé le 10 avril. Nous nous intéressons ici au second tour de l'élection, qui a eu lieu le dimanche 24 avril et a abouti à la réélection d'Emmanuel Macron à la présidence de la France.

Tout d'abord, les deux principales tendances : les sites d'information francophones situés hors de France ont été clairement impactés par la réglementation locale, qui stipule que les estimations ne peuvent être publiées qu'après 20 heures.

Le trafic Internet a été similaire les deux jours de l'élection (les 10 et 24 avril), et cela inclut l'augmentation de l'utilisation des appareils mobiles et l'intérêt pour les sites d'actualités – - là aussi, nous avons constaté un net intérêt pour le débat Macron-Le Pen du 20 avril.

Nous avons déjà évoqué le fait que les jours d'élections n'ont généralement pas un impact majeur sur le trafic Internet global. Comparons les journées des 10 et 24 avril, les deux dimanches où ont eu lieu les élections. Les tendances tout au long de la journée sont incroyablement similaires (avec une légère augmentation du trafic le 24 Continue reading

US Tax Day 2022. How leaving it to the last day impacts tax sites

US Tax Day 2022. How leaving it to the last day impacts tax sites
“Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
 Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy, 1789
US Tax Day 2022. How leaving it to the last day impacts tax sites

The famous expression highlighting that only “death and taxes” seem certain in life (something that goes back to the beginning of civilization and to Ancient Egypt) is on people’s minds during the month of April in the United States. This past Monday, April 18, 2022, was Tax Day. So, were US citizens procrastinators, leaving their federal (and state) tax returns to the last day? Traffic to tax-related official federal and state websites seems to show it: there was a spike of more than 470% on April 18.

Just for reference, we can see on Cloudflare Radar that Internet traffic in the US, from our perspective, wasn’t significantly impacted on Monday, April 18, although there was a clear peak, higher than in the previous 14 days, that night at 22:00 EST (that’s 02:00 UTC on April 19). So, traffic (that includes DNS and HTTP requests from our standpoint) was 18% higher compared to the same time on the previous Continue reading

The 2022 French Presidential election leaves its mark on the Internet

The 2022 French Presidential election leaves its mark on the Internet
The 2022 French Presidential election leaves its mark on the Internet

The first round of the 2022 French presidential elections were held this past Sunday, April 10, 2022, and a run-off will be held on April 24 between the top two candidates, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Looking at Internet trends in France for Sunday, it appears that when people were voting Internet traffic went down, and, no surprise, it went back up when results are coming in — that includes major spikes to news and election-related websites.

Cloudflare Radar data shows that Sundays are usually high-traffic days in France. But this Sunday looked a little different.

The seven-day Radar chart shows that there was a decrease in traffic compared to the previous Sunday between 08:00 and 16:00 UTC, that’s 10:00 and 18:00 in local time — bear in mind that polling stations in France were open between 08:00 and 19:00 (or 20:00 in big cities) local time. So, the decrease in traffic was ‘inside’ the period when French citizens were allowed to vote.

The 2022 French Presidential election leaves its mark on the Internet

That’s a similar trend we have seen in other elections, like the Portuguese one back in January 2022.

The time of the French election day with the largest difference compared to the previous Sunday was 14:00 Continue reading

How the Oscars impacted the Internet (at least in the US)

How the Oscars impacted the Internet (at least in the US)
How the Oscars impacted the Internet (at least in the US)

The 94th Academy Awards happened this past Sunday, March 27, 2022. In the global event we got to see several Oscars attributed to winners like CODA, Jane Campion (the director of The Power of the Dog) and also Dune (which won six Oscars), but also moments that had a clear impact in the Internet traffic, like the altercation on stage between Will Smith and Chris Rock.

Cloudflare Radar uses a variety of sources to provide aggregate information about Internet traffic and attack trends. In this blog post, we will use DNS name resolution data as a proxy for traffic to Internet services, as we did for the Super Bowl LVI.

The baseline value for the charts (that are only focused on the US) was calculated by taking the mean DNS traffic level for the associated Internet services between 08:00 - 12:00 PST on Sunday (March 27, 2022) — usually we use UTC, but we chose to use Los Angeles time as that’s where the event took place.

The event started with Beyoncé singing at 17:00 PST and ended at around 20:30. In terms of growth in traffic, the start of the show didn’t show much for social media, although TikTok Continue reading

Internet is back in Tonga after 38 days of outage

Internet is back in Tonga after 38 days of outage
Internet is back in Tonga after 38 days of outage

Tonga, the South Pacific archipelago nation (with 169 islands), was reconnected to the Internet this early morning (UTC) and is back online after successful repairs to the undersea cable that was damaged on Saturday, January 15, 2022, by the January 14, volcanic eruption.

After 38 days without full access to the Internet, Cloudflare Radar shows that a little after midnight (UTC) — it was around 13:00 local time — on February 22, 2022, Internet traffic in Tonga started to increase to levels similar to those seen before the eruption.

Internet is back in Tonga after 38 days of outage

The faded line shows what was normal in Tonga at the start of the year, and the dark blue line shows the evolution of traffic in the last 30 days. Digicel, Tonga’s main ISP announced at 02:13 UTC that “data connectivity has been restored on the main island Tongatapu and Eua after undersea submarine cable repairs”.

When we expand the view to the previous 45 days, we can see more clearly how Internet traffic evolved before the volcanic eruption and after the undersea cable was repaired.

Internet is back in Tonga after 38 days of outage

The repair ship Reliance took 20 days to replace a 92 km (57 mile) section of the 827 km submarine fiber optical cable that Continue reading

Who won Super Bowl LVI? A look at Internet traffic during the big game

Who won Super Bowl LVI? A look at Internet traffic during the big game
“It's ridiculous for a country to get all worked up about a game—except the Super Bowl, of course. Now that's important.”
- Andy Rooney, American radio and television writer
Who won Super Bowl LVI? A look at Internet traffic during the big game

When the Super Bowl is on, there are more winners than just one of the teams playing, especially when we look at Internet trends. By now, everyone knows that the Los Angeles Rams won, but we also want to look at which Super Bowl advertisers were the biggest winners, and how traffic to food delivery services, social media and messaging apps, and sports and betting websites changed throughout the game.

We covered some of these questions during our Super Bowl live-tweeting on our Cloudflare Radar account. (Hint: follow us if you’re interested in Internet trends).

Cloudflare Radar uses a variety of sources to provide aggregate information about Internet traffic and attack trends. In this blog post, as we did last year, we use DNS name resolution data to estimate traffic to websites. We can’t see who visited the websites mentioned, or what anyone did on the websites, but DNS can give us an estimate of the interest generated by the ads or across a set of sites in Continue reading

Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year

Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year

The early hours of Sunday, January 23, 2022, started in Burkina Faso with an Internet outage or shutdown. Heavy gunfire in an army mutiny could be related to the outage according to the New York Times (“mobile Internet services were shut down”). As of today, there are three countries affected by major Internet disruptions — Tonga and Yemen are the others.

Cloudflare Radar shows that Internet traffic dropped significantly in the West African country after ~09:15 UTC (the same in local time) and remains low more than 24 hours later. Burkina Faso also had a mobile Internet shutdown on January 10, 2022, and another we reported in late November 2021.

Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year
Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year

The main ISPs from Burkina Faso were affected. The two leading Internet Service Providers Orange and FasoNet lost Internet traffic after 09:15 UTC, but also Telecel Faso, as the next chart shows. This morning, at around 10:00 UTC there was some traffic from FasoNet but less than half of what we saw at the same time in preceding days.

Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year

It’s not only mobile traffic that is affected. Desktop traffic is also impacted. In Burkina Faso, our data shows that mobile devices normally represent 70% of Internet traffic.

Burkina Faso experiencing second major Internet disruption this year

With the Burkina Continue reading

Internet outage in Yemen amid airstrikes

Internet outage in Yemen amid airstrikes

The early hours of Friday, January 21, 2022, started in Yemen with a country-wide Internet outage. According to local and global news reports airstrikes are happening in the country and the outage is likely related, as there are reports that a telecommunications building in Al-Hudaydah where the FALCON undersea cable lands was hit.

Cloudflare Radar shows that Internet traffic dropped close to zero between 21:30 UTC (January 20, 2022) and by 22:00 UTC (01:00 in local time).

Internet outage in Yemen amid airstrikes

The outage affected the main state-owned ISP, Public Telecommunication Corporation (AS30873 in blue in the next chart), which represents almost all the Internet traffic in the country.

Internet outage in Yemen amid airstrikes

Looking at BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) updates from Yemen’s ASNs around the time of the outage, we see a clear spike at the same time the main ASN was affected ~21:55 UTC, January 20, 2022. These update messages are BGP signalling that Yemen’s main ASN was no longer routable, something similar to what we saw happening in The Gambia and Kazakhstan but for very different reasons.

Internet outage in Yemen amid airstrikes

So far, 2022 has started with a few significant Internet disruptions for different reasons:

1. An Internet outage in The Gambia because of a cable problem.
2. An Internet Continue reading

Tonga’s likely lengthy Internet outage

Tonga’s likely lengthy Internet outage

2022 only has 19 days of existence but so far this January, there have already been four significant Internet disruptions:

1. An Internet outage in The Gambia because of a cable problem.
2. An Internet shutdown in Kazakhstan because of unrest.
3. A mobile Internet shutdown in Burkina Faso because of a coup plot.
4. An Internet outage in Tonga because of a volcanic eruption.

The latest Internet outage, in the South Pacific country of Tonga (with 169 islands), is still ongoing. It started with the large eruption of Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, an uninhabited volcanic island of the Tongan archipelago on Friday, January 14, 2022. The next day, Cloudflare Radar shows that the Internet outage started at around 03:00 UTC (16:00 local time) — Saturday, January 15, 2022 — and is ongoing for more than four days. Tonga’s 105,000 residents are almost entirely unreachable, according to the BBC.

Tonga’s likely lengthy Internet outage

When we focus on the number of requests by ASN, the country’s main ISPs Digicel and Kalianet started to lose traffic after 03:00 UTC and by 05:30 UTC January 15, 2022, Cloudflare saw close to no traffic at all from them, as shown in the graph below.

Tonga’s likely lengthy Internet outage

Looking at the BGP Continue reading

Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

In Kazakhstan, the year had barely got going when yesterday disruptions of Internet access ended up in a nationwide Internet shutdown from today, January 5, 2022 (below you’ll find an update). The disruptions and subsequent shutdown happened amid mass protests against sudden energy price rises.

Cloudflare Radar shows that the full shutdown happened after 10:30 UTC (16:30 local time). But it was preceded by restrictions to mobile Internet access yesterday.

Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

Our data confirm that Kazakhstan’s ASNs were affected after that time (around 18:30 local time). That’s particularly evident with the largest telecommunication company in the country, Kaz Telecom, as the next chart shows.

Internet shut down in Kazakhstan amid unrest

The first disruptions reported affected mobile services, and we can see that at around 14:30 UTC yesterday, January 4, 2022, there was significantly less mobile devices traffic than the day before around the same time. Kazakhstan is a country where mobile represents something like 75% of Internet traffic (shown on Radar), a usual trend in the region. So mobile disruption has a big impact on the country’s Internet, even before the shutdown that affected almost all connectivity.

When we focus on other ASNs besides Kaz Telecom such as the leading mobile Internet services Tele2 or Continue reading

Cloudflare Radar’s 2021 Year In Review

Cloudflare Radar's 2021 Year In Review
Cloudflare Radar's 2021 Year In Review

In 2021, we continued to live with the effects of the COVID pandemic and Internet traffic was also impacted by it. Although learning and exercising may have started to get back to something close to normal (depending on the country), the effects of what started almost two years ago on the way people work and communicate seems to be here to stay, and the lockdowns or restrictions continue to have an impact on where and how people go online.

So, Cloudflare Radar's 2021 Year In Review is out with interactive maps and charts you can use to explore what changed on the Internet throughout this past year. Year In Review is part of Cloudflare Radar. We launched Radar in September 2020 to give anyone access to Internet use and abuse trends.

This year we’ve added a mobile vs desktop traffic chart, but also the attack distribution that shows the evolution throughout the year — the beginning of July 2021, more than a month after the famous Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, was the time of the year when attacks worldwide peaked.

There are also interesting pandemic-related trends like the (lack) of Internet activity in Tokyo with the Summer Olympics in town and Continue reading

In 2021, the Internet went for TikTok, space and beyond

In 2021, the Internet went for TikTok, space and beyond
In 2021, the Internet went for TikTok, space and beyond

The years come and go, Internet traffic continues to grow (at least so far and with some ‘help’ from the pandemic), and Internet applications, be they websites, IoT devices or mobile apps, continue to evolve throughout the year, depending on if they attract human beings.

We’ll have a more broad Internet traffic-related Year in Review 2021 in the next few days (you can check the 2020 one here), but for now, let’s focus on the most popular domains this year according to our data on Cloudflare Radar and those domains’ changes in our popularity ranking. With Alexa.com going away, if you need a domain ranking, you can get it from Cloudflare.

We’ll focus on space (NASA and SpaceX flew higher), e-commerce (Amazon and Taobao rule), and social media (TikTok ‘danced’ to take the crown from Facebook). We’ll also take a little ‘bite’ on video streaming wars. Netflix is a Squid Game of its own and January 2021 was at the highest in our ranking — probably lockdown and pandemic-related.

Chat domains (WhatsApp, what else) will also be present and, of course, the less established metaverse domains of sorts ( Continue reading

Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind

Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind
Thanksgiving’s biggest online shopping day was Cyber Monday, but other days were close behind

November comes, the temperatures start to get colder for most of the planet's population (87% live in the Northern Hemisphere) and many are also starting to prepare for the festive season. That also brings significant changes in Internet traffic, most notably the online shopping kind of traffic.

So, what were the November days that e-commerce websites had the most traffic in the US and what about worldwide? Is humanity using more mobile Internet at this time? And what are the most popular days online — is Black Friday the winner?

We’ll dig into those questions using Cloudflare Radar. E-commerce is expanding and at an all-time high, especially after the pandemic accelerated the digital transformation process (e-commerce had a 32.4% increase in sales in the US in 2020 and is expected to grow this year).

Cyber Monday, a ‘last minute’ winner

Let’s start with e-commerce — we added a chart to Radar that shows trends for e-commerce by country. The worldwide trend is pretty evident: Cyber Monday, the day for supposedly last-minute discounts, was the clear winner.

#1. Cyber Monday, November 29.

#2. Monday, November 23.

#3. Black Friday, November 26 — November Continue reading

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

So, if you like to keep up with the tradition in the United States you and your family yesterday (November 25, 2021) celebrated Thanksgiving. So on a special day, with family gatherings for many and with a lot of cooking if you’re into the tradition (roast turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie), it makes sense that different Internet patterns show up on Cloudflare Radar.

First, let’s look at shopping habits. After a busy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, online shopping paused for Thanksgiving Day and dipped at lunchtime. So in a very good week for e-Commerce, Thanksgiving was an exception, especially at the extended lunchtime.

How the US paused shopping (and browsing) for Thanksgiving

Now, let’s focus on Internet traffic at the time of the Thanksgiving Dinner. First, what time is that? Every family is different, but a 2018 survey of US consumers showed that for 42% early afternoon (between 13:00 and 15:00 is the preferred time to sit at the table and start to dig in). But 16:00 seems to be the “correct time” — The Atlantic explains why.

Cloudflare Radar shows that Internet traffic in the US increased this past seven days, compared with the previous period, and that makes sense given that it’s traditionally a good week for Continue reading

Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021

Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021
Opening night of Web Summit 2021, at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Sam Barnes/Web Summit
Heard in the halls of Web Summit 2021

Global in-person events were back in a big way at the start of November (1-4) in Lisbon, Portugal, with Web Summit 2021 gathering more than 42,000 attendees from 128 countries. I was there to discover Internet trends and meet interesting people. What I saw was the contagious excitement of people from all corners of the world coming together for what seemed like a type of normality in a time when the Internet “is almost as important as having water”, according to Sonia Jorge from the World Wide Web Foundation.

Here’s some of what I heard in the halls.

With a lot happening on a screen, the lockdowns throughout the pandemic showed us a glimpse of what the metaverse could be, just without VR or AR headsets. Think about the way many were able to use virtual tools to work all day, learn, collaborate, order food, supplies, and communicate with friends and family — all from their homes.

While many had this experience, many others were unable to, with some talks at the event focusing on the digital divide and how “Internet access Continue reading

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown
Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

A few days after Sudan restored access to the Internet, people living in Burkina Faso are facing an Internet shutdown. On Saturday, Cloudflare Radar shows that after 22:00 UTC (the same local time) Internet traffic went down significantly, something that has happened in the context of social tensions in the country that started on November 14, 2021, and after this Saturday’s shooting of protesters that tried to block a French military convoy.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

It is clear when we look at the last 30 days, that Sunday and today, Monday, November 22, are days almost without Internet traffic in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

All the Internet Service Providers (ISP) of the country were significantly affected by what we could see in our data. That is evident when we look at HTTP traffic by ASN (Autonomous System Number). Orange, FasoNet and Telecel are the three most used ISPs in the country and this chart clearly shows how they were impacted.

Burkina Faso Internet shutdown

Mobile traffic affected

Burkina Faso is a mobile-first country because mobile is the main way of accessing the Internet — in the last 30 days the mobile traffic percentage represented 77% of the total Internet traffic in the country.

We can also Continue reading