CloudFlare unveils free IPv6 translation service

Startup CloudFlare is turning the economics of IPv6 transition on its head with a free cloud-based IPv6-to-IPv4 translation service that is available to website operators starting today.

Dubbed Automatic IPv6, the new service is made possible through the use of proxies at CloudFlare's 14 data centers worldwide. The proxies translate incoming IPv6 traffic into IPv4 before being sent to a website. The service also provides IPv4-to-IPv6 translation services for new websites -- particularly those in Asia -- that are being built using IPv6 only.

IPv6: What you need to do now

IPv6 is the long-anticipated upgrade to the Internet's main communications protocol, which is known as IPv4. Carriers, hosting companies and enterprises are migrating to IPv6 because the Internet is running out of IPv4 addresses. IPv6 is not backward compatible with IPv4, so website operators must deploy translation services or run both protocols if they want to be reachable by all Internet users in the future.

CloudFlare offers hosted CDN and security services, including deep packet inspection aimed at stopping malware, spam and denial of service attacks. The company supports more than 100,000 websites, including bloggers, news sites and enterprises such as the government of Turkey.

"The mission of CloudFlare is to make the Web faster and safer," said Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare. "We can stop [attacks] at the edge, before they get to a customer's data center. At the same time, we can auto detect resources on a Web page that are static, and cache those at the edge. On average, we double the payload speed at a website and reduce the loan on the Web server by about half."

Prince said CloudFlare handles more than 15 billion page views per month and supports more than 350 million unique Internet users. The company offers an advertiser-based service that is free as well as a service that is $20 per month and custom offerings for enterprise customers. Its business model is similar to OpenDNS, a free DNS service that also supports IPv6.

Now CloudFlare is bundling IPv6 translation capabilities with all of its caching and security services.

"There will be no additional cost for this feature," Prince said. "It's cheaper for us to run the traffic over the IPv6 network than the IPv4 network, so there isn't any additional, incremental cost for us."

One benefit for CloudFlare is that its network infrastructure is brand new and all of its routers and other network gear already support IPv6. So the company didn't need to undergo the daunting upgrade that rivals such as Akamai are making to support IPv6.

"We realized six months ago, we were in a position to help organizations that wanted to be on the IPv6 network but were not ready to make a substantial investment to upgrade their infrastructure," Prince said. "What we've been able to do is make deploying IPv6 for your Web presence as simple as one click. You keep your existing IPv4 infrastructure, you push one button on our site, and we will announce your IPv6 quad-A records. When a request comes from IPv6, we'll be able to handle it by our proxies ... translate it to IPv4 and hand it off to your IPv4 infrastructure."

Prince added that he doesn't think CloudFlare's IPv6 translation service is a "forever solution" but that it will buy companies time to upgrade the network infrastructure and data centers to support IPv6 over time.

CloudFlare says it has around 10,000 websites that are beta testing its Automatic IPv6 service.

Prince added, "Our goal is to fix the most daunting problems the Internet faces. We have a very different business model than our competitors."

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Networkingipv6LAN & WANCloudFlare

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?