Cloudflare launched ten years ago to keep web-facing properties safe from attack and fast for visitors. Cloudflare customers owned Internet properties that they placed on our network. Visitors to those sites and applications enjoyed a faster experience, but that speed was not consistent for accessing Internet properties outside the Cloudflare network. Over the last few years, we began building products that could help deliver a faster and safer Internet to everyone, not just visitors to sites on our network. We started with the first step to visiting any website, a DNS query, and released the world’s fastest public DNS resolver, 126.96.36.199. Any Internet user could improve the speed to connect to any website simply by changing their resolver.
While making the Internet faster for users, we also focused on making it more private. We built 188.8.131.52 to accelerate the last mile of connections, from user to our edge or other destinations on the Internet. Unlike other providers, we did not build it to sell ads. Last year we went one step further to make the entire connection from a device both faster and safer when we launched Cloudflare WARP. With the push of a button, users could connect their mobile device to the entire Internet using a WireGuard tunnel through a Cloudflare data center near to them. Traffic to sites behind Cloudflare became even faster and a user’s experience with the rest of the Internet became more secure and private.
We brought that experience to desktops in beta earlier this year, and are excited to announce the general availability of Cloudflare WARP for desktop users today. The entire Internet can now be more secure and private regardless of how you connect.
WARP made the Internet faster and more private for individual users everywhere. But as businesses embraced remote work models at scale, security teams struggled to extend the security controls they had enabled in the office to their remote workers. Today, we’re bringing everything our users have come to expect from WARP to security teams. The release also enables new functionality in our Cloudflare Gateway product. Customers can use the Cloudflare WARP application to connect corporate desktops to Cloudflare Gateway for advanced web filtering. The Gateway features rely on the same performance and security benefits of the underlying WARP technology, now with security filtering available to the connection.
The result is a simple way for enterprises to protect their users wherever they are without requiring the backhaul of network traffic to a centralized security boundary. Instead, organizations can configure the WARP client application to securely and privately send remote users’ traffic through a Cloudflare data center near them. Gateway administrators apply policies to outbound Internet traffic proxied through the client, allowing organizations to protect users from threats on the Internet, and stop corporate data from leaving their organization.
WARP was built on the philosophy that even people who don’t know what “VPN” stands for should be able to still easily get the protection a VPN offers. For those of us unfortunately very familiar with traditional corporate VPNs, something better was needed. Enter our own WireGuard implementation called BoringTun. The WARP application uses BoringTun to encrypt all the traffic from your device and send it directly to Cloudflare’s edge, ensuring that no one in between is snooping on what you’re doing. If the site you are visiting is already a Cloudflare customer, the content is immediately sent down to your device. With WARP+ we use Argo Smart Routing to to devise the shortest path through our global network of data centers to reach whomever you are talking to.
Combined with the power of 184.108.40.206 (the world’s fastest public DNS resolver), WARP keeps your traffic secure, private and fast. Since nearly everything you do on the Internet starts with a DNS request, choosing the fastest DNS server across all your devices will accelerate almost everything you do online. Speed isn’t everything though, and while the connection between your application and a website may be encrypted, DNS lookups for that website were not. This allowed anyone, even your Internet Service Provider, to potentially snoop (and sell) on where you are going on the Internet.
Cloudflare will never snoop or sell your personal data. And if you use DNS-over-HTTPS or DNS-over-TLS to our 220.127.116.11 resolver, your DNS request will be sent over a secure channel. This means that if you use the 18.104.22.168 resolver then in addition to our privacy guarantees an eavesdropper can’t see your DNS requests. Don’t take our word for it though, earlier this year we published the results of a third-party privacy examination, something we’ll keep doing and wish others would do as well. For Gateway customers, we are committed to privacy and trust and will never sell your personal data to third parties. While your administrator will have the ability to audit your organization’s traffic, create rules around how long data is retained, or create specific policies about where they can go, Cloudflare will never sell your personal data or use your personal data to retarget you with advertisements. Privacy and control of your organization’s data is in your hands.
Traditionally, companies have used VPN solutions to gate access to corporate resources and keep devices secure with their filtering rules. These connections quickly became a point of failure (and intrusion vector) as organizations needed to manage and scale up VPN servers as traffic through their on premise servers grew. End users didn’t like it either. VPN servers were usually overwhelmed at peak times, the client was bulky and they were rarely made with performance in mind. And once a bad actor got in, they had access to everything. In January 2020, we launched Cloudflare for Teams as a replacement to this model. Cloudflare for Teams is built around two core products. Cloudflare Access is a Zero Trust solution allowing organizations to connect internal (and now, SaaS) applications to Cloudflare’s edge and build security rules to enforce safe access to them. No longer were VPNs a single entry point to your organization; users could work from anywhere and still get access. Cloudflare Gateway’s first features focused on protecting users from threats on the Internet with a DNS resolver and policy engine built for enterprises.
We are excited to finally share these applications with our customers. We’d especially like to thank our Cloudflare MVP’s, the 100,000+ beta users on desktop, and the millions of existing users on mobile who have helped grow WARP into what it is today.