Cloudflare’s global network is always expanding, and 2021 has been no exception. Today, I’m happy to give a mid-year update: we've added ten new Cloudflare cities, with four new countries represented among them. And we've doubled our computational footprint since the start of pandemic-related lockdowns.

No matter what else we do at Cloudflare, constant expansion of our infrastructure to new places is a requirement to help build a better Internet. 2021, like 2020, has been a difficult time to be a global network — from semiconductor shortages to supply-chain disruptions — but regardless, we have continued to expand throughout the entire globe, experimenting with technologies like ARM, ASICs, and Nvidia all the way.

The Cities

Without further ado, here are the new Cloudflare cities: Tbilisi, Georgia; San José, Costa Rica; Tunis, Tunisia; Yangon, Myanmar; Nairobi, Kenya; Jashore, Bangladesh; Canberra, Australia; Palermo, Italy; and Salvador and Campinas, Brazil.

These deployments are spread across every continent except Antarctica.

We’ve solidified our presence in every country of the Caucuses with our first deployment in the country of Georgia in the capital city of Tbilisi. And on the other side of the world, we’ve also established our first deployment in Costa Rica’s capital of San José with NIC.CR, run by the Academia Nacional de Ciencias.

In the northernmost country in Africa comes another capital city deployment, this time in Tunis, bringing us one country closer towards fully circling the Mediterranean Sea. Wrapping up the new country docket is our first city in Myanmar with our presence in Yangon, the country’s capital and largest city.

Our second Kenyan city is the country’s capital, Nairobi, bringing our city count in sub-Saharan Africa to a total of fifteen. In Bangladesh, Jashore puts us in the capital of its namesake Jashore District and the third largest city in the country after Chittagong and Dhaka, both already Cloudflare cities.

In the land way down under, our Canberra deployment puts us in Australia’s capital city, located, unsurprisingly, in the Australian Capital Territory. In differently warm lands is Palermo, Italy, capital of the island of Sicily, which we already see boosting performance throughout Italy.

25th percentile latency of non-bot traffic in Italy, year-to-date.

Finally, we’ve gone live in Salvador (capital of the state of Bahia) and Campinas, Brazil, the only city announced today that isn’t a capital. These are some of the first few steps in a larger Brazilian expansion — watch this blog for more news on that soon.

This is in addition to the dozens of new cities we’ve added in Mainland China with our partner, JD Cloud, with whom we have been working closely to quickly deploy and test new cities since last year.

The Impact

While we’re proud of our provisioning process, the work with new cities begins, not ends, with deployment. Each city is not only a new source of opportunity, but risk: Internet routing is fickle, and things that should improve network quality don’t always do so. While we have always had a slew of ways to track performance, we’ve found that a significant, constant improvement in the 25th percentile latency of non-bot traffic to be an ideal approximation of latency impacted by only physical distance.

Using this metric, we can quickly see the improvement that comes from adding new cities. For example, in Kenya, we can see that the addition of our Nairobi presence improved real user performance:

25th percentile latency of non-bot Kenyan traffic, before and after Nairobi gained a Cloudflare point of presence.

Latency variations in general are expected on the Internet — particularly in countries with high amounts of Internet traffic originating from non-fixed connections, like mobile phones — but in aggregate, the more consistently low latency, the better. From this chart, you can clearly see that not only was there a reduction in latency, but also that there were fewer frustrating variations in user latency. We all get annoyed when a page loads quickly one second and slowly the next, and the lower jitter that comes with being closer to the server helps to eliminate it.

As a reminder, while these measurements are in thousandths of a second, they add up quickly. Popular sites often require hundreds of individual requests for assets, some of which are initiated serially, so the difference between 25 milliseconds and 5 milliseconds can mean the difference between single and multi-second page load times.

To sum things up, users in the cities or greater areas of these cities should expect an improved Internet experience when using everything from our free, private 1.1.1.1 DNS resolver to the tens of millions of Internet properties that trust Cloudflare with their traffic. We have dozens more cities in the works at any given time, including now. Watch this space for more!

Join Our Team

Like our network, Cloudflare continues to rapidly grow. If working at a rapidly expanding, globally diverse company interests you, we’re hiring for scores of positions, including in the Infrastructure group. Or, if you work at a global ISP and would like to improve your users’ experience and be part of building a better Internet, get in touch with our Edge Partners Program at [email protected] we’ll look into sending some servers your way!