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30% More Traffic in Less Than a Blink of an Eye

by Matthew Prince.

30% More Traffic in Less Than a Blink of an Eye

CloudFlare's traffic grows in a number of different ways. The most obvious is that we sign up more websites. We also grow as the natural traffic to sites using CloudFlare increases as they get more popular themselves. Another way we grow is less obvious but extremely cool: as CloudFlare makes the web faster, visitors end up surfing more pages.

Save 25ms, Get 30% More Page Views

We had a really good example of this in just the last couple days. Our networking team was able to work some routing magic to more efficiently get traffic to our Singapore data center. This, on average, saved about 25 milliseconds -- 0.025 seconds, a tiny sliver of time, about 1/12th the time it takes you to a blink of your eyes -- for requests from countries in the region including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

The graph above shows traffic over the last 9 days from TOT, one of the largest ISPs in Thailand. You can see from the graph that traffic rises and falls depending on the time of day, which is normal, but if you look at the peaks you'll see they step up dramatically in the last two days.

Digging into the details, there was approximately a 30% increase across bandwidth, hits, and page views in the region after the improved routing. The increase holds even if you control for the day of the week, remove new sites that signed up over the period, and compare other regions that also benefited from the routing so as to control for other potential explanations like weather, news events, or anything else would have had more people surfing the web in Thailand in the last few days. In other words, just eliminating 25ms in latency resulted in a 30% increase in traffic. That's really cool.

Faster Means More

The very nature of the way that TCP, the protocol of the Internet, works means that any performance benefit tends to be amplified. Google, Amazon and the other Internet giants have known for a long time that faster means higher engagement and more Internet use. At CloudFlare, we have network engineers that have helped build the networks for some of those Internet giants now at work tuning connections to save milliseconds for the rest of the web. We'll continue to add data centers and improve routing toward our mission of making a faster, safer web for everyone.

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