Differences between Cloudflare and "regular" CDNs?

Hi there,

I am trying to understand something here and I’ve failed so far.

I’ve read many times, that Cloudflare didn’t work exactly as other regular CDN services.

To my understanding Cloudflare is a distributed caching reverse-proxy. How are other CDNs exactly different from Cloudflare?

Even the CEO of Cloudflare said in 2012 in this quora post that “Our system works somewhat like a content delivery network (CDN)”.

…“somewhat like a CDN”, well what is the actual technical difference then?

  1. Cloudflare is a pull CDN: First request goes to your server, then is cached at that specific data center for subsequent visitors in that region. Other CDNs often offer Push CDN, which you can preload their cache.
  2. Cloudflare is a somewhat transparent CDN: It doesn’t use a special CDN subdomain for cached files. It’s cached in transit from your regular URLs. Cacheable (static) files are cached using their original URL, while dynamic files pipe straight through the reverse proxy.

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