Tag Archives: Free

Introducing Project Fair Shot: Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Sites Can Keep Up With Demand

Post Syndicated from Matthew Prince original https://blog.cloudflare.com/project-fair-shot/

Introducing Project Fair Shot: Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Sites Can Keep Up With Demand

Introducing Project Fair Shot: Ensuring COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Sites Can Keep Up With Demand

Around the world government and medical organizations are struggling with one of the most difficult logistics challenges in history: equitably and efficiently distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. There are challenges around communicating who is eligible to be vaccinated, registering those who are eligible for appointments, ensuring they show up for their appointments, transporting the vaccine under the required handling conditions, ensuring that there are trained personnel to administer the vaccine, and then doing it all over again as most of the vaccines require two doses.

Cloudflare can’t help with most of that problem, but there is one key part that we realized we could help facilitate: ensuring that registration websites don’t crash under load when they first begin scheduling vaccine appointments. Project Fair Shot provides Cloudflare’s new Waiting Room service for free for any government, municipality, hospital, pharmacy, or other organization responsible for distributing COVID-19 vaccines. It is open to eligible organizations around the world and will remain free until at least July 1, 2021 or longer if there is still more demand for appointments for the vaccine than there is supply.

Crashing Registration Websites

The problem of vaccine scheduling registration websites crashing under load isn’t theoretical: it is happening over and over as organizations attempt to schedule the administration of the vaccine. This hit home at Cloudflare last weekend. The wife of one of our senior team members was trying to register her parents to receive the vaccine. They met all the criteria and the municipality where they lived was scheduled to open appointments at noon.

When the time came for the site to open, it immediately crashed. The cause wasn’t hackers or malicious activity. It was merely that so many people were trying to access the site at once. “Why doesn’t Cloudflare build a service that organizes a queue into an orderly fashion so these sites don’t get overwhelmed?” she asked her husband.

A Virtual Waiting Room

Turns out, we were already working on such a feature, but not for this use case. The problem of fairly distributing something where there is more demand than supply comes up with several of our clients. Whether selling tickets to a hot concert, the latest new sneaker, or access to popular national park hikes it is a difficult challenge to ensure that everyone eligible has a fair chance.

The solution is to open registration to acquire the scarce item ahead of the actual sale. Anyone who visits the site ahead of time can be put into a queue. The moment before the sale opens, the order of the queue can be randomly (and fairly) shuffled. People can then be let in in order of their new, random position in the queue — allowing only so many at any time as the backend of the site can handle.

At Cloudflare, we were building this functionality for our customers as a feature called Waiting Room. (You can learn more about the technical details of Waiting Room in this post by Brian Batraski who helped build it.) The technology is powerful because it can be used in front of any existing web registration site without needing any code changes or hardware installation. Simply deploy Cloudflare through a simple DNS change and then configure Waiting Room to ensure any transactional site, no matter how meagerly resourced, can keep up with demand.

Recognizing a Critical Need; Moving Up the Launch

We planned to release it in February. Then, when we saw vaccine sites crashing under load and frustration of people eligible for the vaccine building, we realized we needed to move the launch up and offer the service for free to organizations struggling to fairly distribute the vaccine. With that, Project Fair Shot was born.

Government, municipal, hospital, pharmacy, clinic, and any other organizations charged with scheduling appointments to distribute the vaccine can apply to participate in Project Fair Shot by visiting: projectfairshot.org

Giving Front Line Organizations the Technical Resources They Need

The service will be free for qualified organizations at least until July 1, 2021 or longer if there is still more demand for appointments for the vaccine than there is supply. We are not experts in medical cold storage and I get squeamish at the sight of needles, so we can’t help with many of the logistical challenges of distributing the vaccine. But, seeing how we could support this aspect, our team knew we needed to do all we could to help.

The superheroes of this crisis are the medical professionals who are taking care of the sick and the scientists who so quickly invented these miraculous vaccines. We’re proud of the supporting role Cloudflare has played helping ensure the Internet has continued to function well when the world needed it most. Project Fair Shot is one more way we are living up to our mission of helping build a better Internet.

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

Post Syndicated from Jon Levine original https://blog.cloudflare.com/privacy-first-web-analytics/

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

In September, we announced that we’re building a new, free Web Analytics product for the whole web. Today, I’m excited to announce that anyone can now sign up to use our new Web Analytics — even without changing your DNS settings. In other words, Cloudflare Web Analytics can now be deployed by adding an HTML snippet (in the same way many other popular web analytics tools are) making it easier than ever to use privacy-first tools to understand visitor behavior.

Why does the web need another analytics service?

Popular analytics vendors have business models driven by ad revenue. Using them implies a bargain: they track visitor behavior and create buyer profiles to retarget your visitors with ads; in exchange, you get free analytics.

At Cloudflare, our mission is to help build a better Internet, and part of that is to deliver essential web analytics to everyone with a website, without compromising user privacy. For free. We’ve never been interested in tracking users or selling advertising. We don’t want to know what you do on the Internet — it’s not our business.

Our customers have long relied on Cloudflare’s Analytics because we’re accurate, fast, and privacy-first. In September we released a big upgrade to analytics for our existing customers that made them even more flexible.

However, we know that there are many folks who can’t use our analytics, simply because they’re not able to onboard to use the rest of Cloudflare for Infrastructure — specifically, they’re not able to change their DNS servers. Today, we’re bringing the power of our analytics to the whole web. By adding a simple HTML snippet to your website, you can start measuring your web traffic — similar to other popular analytics vendors.

What can I do with Cloudflare Web Analytics?

We’ve worked hard to make our analytics as powerful and flexible as possible — while still being fast and easy to use.

When measuring analytics about your website, the most common questions are “how much traffic did I get?” and “how many people visited?” We answer this by measuring page views (the total number of times a page view was loaded) and visits (the number of times someone landed on a page view from another website).

With Cloudflare Web Analytics, it’s easy to switch between measuring page views or visits. Within each view, you can see top pages, countries, device types and referrers.

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

My favorite thing is the ability to add global filters, and to quickly drill into the most important data with actions like “zoom” and “group by”. Say you publish a new blog post, and you want to see the top sites that send you traffic right after you email your subscribers about it. It’s easy to zoom into the time period when you hit the email, and group by to see the top pages. Then you can add a filter to just that page — and then finally view top referrers for that page. It’s magic!

Best of all, our analytics is free. We don’t have limits based on the amount of traffic you can send it. Thanks to our ABR technology, we can serve accurate analytics for websites that get anywhere from one to one billion requests per day.

How does the new Web Analytics work?

Traditionally, Cloudflare Analytics works by measuring traffic at our edge. This has some great benefits; namely, it catches all traffic, even from clients that block JavaScript or don’t load HTML. At the edge, we can also block bots, add protection from our WAF, and measure the performance of your origin server.

The new Web Analytics works like most other measurement tools: by tracking visitors on the client. We’ve long had client-side measuring tools with Browser Insights, but these were only available to orange-cloud users (i.e. Cloudflare customers).

Today, for the first time, anyone can get access to our client-side analytics — even if you don’t use the rest of Cloudflare. Just add our JavaScript snippet to any website, and we can start collecting metrics.

How do I sign up?

We’ve worked hard making our onboarding as simple as possible.

First, enter the name of your website. It’s important to use the domain name that your analytics will be served on — we use this to filter out any unwanted “spam” analytics reports.

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

(At this time, you can only add analytics from one website to each Cloudflare account. In the coming weeks we’ll add support for multiple analytics properties per account.)

Next, you’ll see a script tag that you can copy onto your website. We recommend adding this just before the closing </body> tag on the pages you want to measure.

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

And that’s it! After you release your website and start getting visits, you’ll be able to see them in analytics.

What does privacy-first mean?

Being privacy-first means we don’t track individual users for the purposes of serving analytics. We don’t use any client-side state (like cookies or localStorage) for analytics purposes. Cloudflare also doesn’t track users over time via their IP address, User Agent string, or any other immutable attributes for the purposes of displaying analytics — we consider “fingerprinting” even more intrusive than cookies, because users have no way to opt out.

The concept of a “visit” is key to this approach. Rather than count unique IP addresses, which would require storing state about what each visitor does, we can simply count the number of page views that come from a different site. This provides a perfectly usable metric that doesn’t compromise on privacy.

Cloudflare’s privacy-first Web Analytics is now available for everyone

What’s next

This is just the start for our privacy-first Analytics. We’re excited to integrate more closely with the rest of Cloudflare, and give customers even more detailed stats about performance and security (not just traffic.) We’re also hoping to make our analytics even more powerful as a standalone product by building support for alerts, real-time time updates, and more.

Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback, and happy measuring!