CDNs deleted, returning 404, but adjusting the CDN URL brings back the image

Thanks in advance for any help.

This is regarding a site I don’t own. I submitted an abuse report for copyright infringement and the site removed the content and the CDNs return with a 404 error, as expected. However, if I adjust the CDN URL at all, the image reappears.

I’m trying to understand what step is needed next. Is this something Cloudflare can assist with? Is this something the offending website needs to do? Is this something that will resolve itself after a set time. Thanks for any thoughts you may have!

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I’m not a Dev but I can see the same issue. I complained about an illegal photo, the Dev (deleted) the photo.

  1. The 404 error is only intermittent
  2. Adjusting the URL brings back the image

Then the admin went and ‘confirmed deletion’


  1. Adjusting the URL does NOT bring back the image
  2. BUT for some images, the 404 error on the original URL is still only intermittent

My THEORY is that in the first instance, the image was only deleted from an edge server, not the origin server, which ends up repopulating edge servers (hence the only temporary 404. The unique adjusted URLs must use the origin server so CANNOT hold the image once the origin server data is deleted. (in theory)

BUT when the admin deleted the image from the origin server, the cached images remain on some edge servers, which when called upon sometimes, depending on location and time, bring back the image.

My HOPE is that the Dev has some way of purging all edge servers OR that the edge servers purge themselves, if I am correct about the origin server data being deleted.

Hopefully someone can shed light on the situation

Yes I can see we are on the same boat.

You definitely need to contact the website offending and request them to delete the image from the origin server.

If I understand correctly, a CDN like Cloudflare has an origin data server which populates many servers around the globe called ‘edge servers’ with cache. (It’s cancerous)

The image has no chance of truly disappearing until you delete the image from the origin server. Even after that, it may still populate the edge servers for some time leading to time and location dependent intermittent 404’s.

Just be firm with the offending website to delete from source

Thank you for your reply. I have since reached back out to the site with this request based on the suggestions and notes you provided. I appreciate it!

That’s good.

Just to be clear, with the issue of adjusting the url. if the original url is /12345.jpg, then sometimes putting something like /xxxxx-12345.jpg brings back the same image. This is because the file has NOT been deleted from the origin server.

Once the file is deleted, it may still pop back up due to static edge server caches for up to one calendar month