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Cloudflare: Protecting from DDoS Attacks

Thomas Hug
Written by
Thomas Hug
October 28, 2021
Share this post is one of Switzerland’s biggest online shops. In 2020, it saw a turnover of 60 m Swiss Francs.

From the start, the company’s enormous growth made it clear that would become the target of DDoS attacks. Thus, the company worked with Nine and Cloudflare to establish a solution early on. This solution is not only resistant to DDoS attacks, but also offers many other advantages by providing less complexity and stronger performance.

Interview with Sven Härtwig  (CEO and Proprietor of narf-studios GmbH, commissioned by to maintain their webshop). Blogpost created by Tom Hug (Nine).

Why did you purchase Cloudflare from Nine?

Cloudflare offers a Content Delivery Network (CDN) as well as Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) Protection and a Web Application Firewall (WAF) from a single provider. With 200 locations around the world (Zurich and Geneva in Switzerland) and excellent peering with a variety of internet providers, Cloudflare is well-equipped to improve the performance of devices used in Switzerland and thus enables an unhindered shopping experience for our customers.

In connection with their CDN, also uses so-called Edge Computing, which eases the pressure on servers hosted by Nine. Edge Computing means, for example, that images are only stored in their original size on Nine’s servers, while any custom sizes are created by Cloudflare on the fly. This can lower CPU usage and save a lot of storage space. Cloudflare Workers uses a JavaScript Runtime on Edge which is very accommodating when it comes to individual client requirements. Thanks to the use of JavaScript, the application makes any front-end developer feel right at home. For example, a self-developed Worker can directly recognise devices (e.g. smartphones or 3G-enabled devices), meaning that images can be adapted to each device as well as the necessary bandwidth without any contribution from the application itself. In addition, we can edit entire websites and add dynamic content, such as impromptu promotional pop-up messages, from the cache – before they even hit the device – without completely rebuilding caching. In this way, we attain maximum performance while keeping usage on our application servers as low as possible. 

Furthermore, we appreciate the flexibility of caching, which allows, among other things, for purging of individual pages via tags and API. If a change to a product is detected, Cloudflare receives a command directly from the backend and all cached objects which are connected to this particular product are first invalidated, and then rebuilt through a cache-warming process. As a result, we attain a high cache rate, while maintaining strong flexibility, and can thus consistently provide optimal performance and quick delivery times while keeping server usage low.

Nine is a Cloudflare Enterprise Partner, and Nine’s engineers possess the necessary know-how to support us. They know which Cloudflare services would best complement our setup and are aware of their advantages and drawbacks.

Why did you choose Nine at the time?

Nine was able to quickly provide a solution tailored to our needs and to ensure a swift and straightforward migration. Thanks to Nine’s long-standing experience, our issues were well-known to their engineers, and they knew how to tackle our challenges perfectly and reliably.

How would you describe Nine in one sentence?

Through a combination of strong expertise and technical solutions, Nine provides us with the security needed to no longer face days such as Black Friday trembling in fear, and the possibility to offer an extremely high-performance web shop.

What are the emerging trends and developments in the market (from your point of view)?

In ecommerce, there is a clear trend towards more mobile devices. In 2019, their share already made up more than 60%! In addition, fast loading times are becoming much more important. In this context, approaches such as headless PWA concepts are gaining in importance as well.

Which topics have you and your team focussed on in the past months?

At the moment, our redundant cluster is only running in one of Nine’s locations. We are aiming to expand our setup further, while adding more reliability as well. Performance optimisation is and will always remain a topic we are constantly working on.

If you would like further information regarding Cloudflare or DDoS protection, contact Nine.