Sam Marsh

Author Archives: Sam Marsh

Maximum redirects, minimum effort: Announcing Bulk Redirects

Maximum redirects, minimum effort: Announcing Bulk Redirects

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Maximum redirects, minimum effort: Announcing Bulk Redirects

The Internet is a dynamic place. Websites are constantly changing as technologies and business practices evolve. What was front-page news is quickly moved into a sub-directory. To ensure website visitors continue to see the correct webpage even if it has been moved, administrators often implement URL redirects.

A URL redirect is a mapping from one location on the Internet to another, effectively telling the visitor's browser that the location of the page has changed, and where they can now find it. This is achieved by providing a virtual ‘link’ between the content’s original and new location.

URL Redirects have typically been implemented as Page Rules within Cloudflare, up to a maximum of 125 URL redirects per zone. This limitation meant customers with a need for more URL redirects had to implement alternative solutions such Cloudflare Workers to achieve their goals.

To simplify the management and implementation of URL redirects at scale we have created Bulk Redirects. Bulk Redirects is a new product that allows an administrator to upload and enable hundreds of thousands of URL redirects within minutes, without having to write a single line of code.

We’ve moved!

Mail forwarding is a product offered by postal Continue reading

Modifying HTTP response headers with Transform Rules

Modifying HTTP response headers with Transform Rules
Modifying HTTP response headers with Transform Rules

HTTP headers are central to how the web works. They are used for passing additional information between the client and server, such as which security permissions to apply and information about the client, allowing the correct content to be served.

Today we are announcing the immediate availability of the third action within Transform Rules, “HTTP Response Header Modification”, available for all Cloudflare plans. This new functionality provides Cloudflare users the ability to set or remove HTTP response headers as traffic returns through Cloudflare back to the client. This allows customers to enrich responses with information about how their request was handled, debugging information and even recruitment messages.

Previously, HTTP response header modification was done using a Cloudflare Worker. Today we’re introducing an easier way to do this without writing a single line of code.

Luggage tags of the World Wide Web

Modifying HTTP response headers with Transform Rules

Think of HTTP headers as the “luggage tag” attached to your bags when you check in at the airport.

Generally, you don't need to know what those numbers and words mean. You just know they are important in getting your suitcase from the boarding desk, to the correct airplane, and back to the correct luggage carousel at your destination.

Continue reading

Traffic Sequence: Which Product Runs First?

Traffic Sequence: Which Product Runs First?
Traffic Sequence: Which Product Runs First?

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” It’s one of life's great questions. There are hundreds of articles published which conclude with eggs predating chickens by millions of years. Unfortunately, Cloudflare users don't have New Scientist on hand to answer similar questions.

Which runs first, Firewall Rules or Workers? Page Rules or Transform Rules? Whilst not as philosophically challenging, the answers to these questions are key to setting up your Cloudflare zone correctly. Answering them has become increasingly difficult as more and more functionality is added, thanks to our incredible rate of shipping products. What was once a relatively easy to understand traffic flow exploded in complexity with the introduction of products such as Workers, Load Balancing Rules and Transform Rules. And this big bang of product announcements is only accelerating each year.

To begin addressing this problem, we developed Traffic Sequence. Traffic Sequence is a simple dashboard illustration which shows a default, high-level overview of how Cloudflare products interact. Think of this as your atlas, rather than your black cab driver’s “Knowledge”. This helps you understand that London is in the south east of the UK, but not that it's quicker to walk than use Continue reading

Modify HTTP request headers with Transform Rules

Modify HTTP request headers with Transform Rules
Modify HTTP request headers with Transform Rules

HTTP headers are central to how the web works. They are used for passing additional information between the client and server, such as which security permissions to apply and information about the client, allowing the correct content to be served.

Today we are announcing the immediate availability of the second action within Transform Rules, “HTTP Request Header Modification”, available for all Cloudflare plans. This new functionality provides Cloudflare administrators with the ability to easily set or remove HTTP request headers as traffic flows through Cloudflare. This allows customers to enrich requests with information such as the Cloudflare Bot ManagementBot Score prior to being sent to their servers. Previously, HTTP request header modification was done using a Cloudflare Worker. Today we’re introducing an easier way to do this without writing a single line of code.

Luggage tags of the World Wide Web

Modify HTTP request headers with Transform Rules
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Think of HTTP headers as the “luggage tag” attached to your bags when you check in at the airport.

Generally, you don't need to know what those numbers and words mean. You just know they are important in getting your suitcase from the boarding desk, to the correct Continue reading

Dynamic URL Rewriting at the edge with Cloudflare

Dynamic URL Rewriting at the edge with Cloudflare
Dynamic URL Rewriting at the edge with Cloudflare

URLs are ugly. They are hard to read, difficult to memorise and often auto-generated for the benefit of the origin server - not the user.

Today we are announcing the immediate availability of Transform Rules for all Cloudflare plans. Transform Rules provide Cloudflare administrators with the ability to create URL rewrite rules. These rules transform HTTP requests as they flow through Cloudflare providing an interpretation layer between the human friendly and the computer friendly.

Ease of understanding

Imagine you are going on a much needed around-the-world trip and want to buy a copy of John Graham-Cumming’s book The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive to use as inspiration. Would the link https://www.travelbooks247.com/dp/0596523203/ make sense to you? Chances are the answer is no. It's hard for humans to understand these complex, contextless URLs.

This is why companies instead provide user friendly alternatives such as: https://www.travelbooks247.com/Geek-Atlas-Places-Science-Technology/dp/0596523203/ and use web servers as the interpreter. This interpretation is known as URL rewriting.

Large ecommerce retailers take HTTP requests to these human-friendly URLs and rewrite them using a simple pattern that strips the content Geek-Atlas-Places-Science-Technology/ before sending the HTTP request to the backend. The human readable hyperlink Continue reading