Our site experiences large slowdowns and looks like SSL/Connect timeouts of 12s or more?

Hello - we are pulling our hair out trying to understand why our site frequently experiences delays of 12s to 30s several times a day. At first we had customers notifying us of this issue, but then we noticed that NewRelic data was confirming this slowdown via browser analytics (so its not limited to a single user ISP), and equally our backend server statistics show no issues with our backend server.

Initially we approached our hosting service (Rackspace), and they could find no issues on their end and also confirmed there was no backend high cpu/resource constraints - but they pointed out that our DNS/SSL/CDN is Cloudflare (this system is one we have inherited).

In the meantime we have enabled some ping tracing in NewRelic, and a few days worth of data has confirmed that Cloudflare? frequently has extreme response times (from 2-30s) every day for our UK based domain - and pings from the UK, Ireland, Germany (as well as SA and USA) are all affected - whereas the same application in Australia fronted by the same Cloudflare account (but different domain and server provider) seems unaffected.

I am still not ruling out Rackspace, but am after some community help to understand how best to diagnose this as lower level networking as at the extremes our our knowledge.

We see things like this most days: _/|/_. (sorry can only post one image as a new user grrrr)

which last about 20 mins, normally around 11-3:30pm (but no real pattern, and site usage earlier in the day is often greater than times when it seems to kick off).

Drilling in to one of the statistics for london seems to show SSL issues (according to New Relic):

Whereas a normal request looks fine (interestingly the DNS lookup on failed requests is also suprisingly low compared to normal requests):
[image would look the same, but show several space colour bards in responses - but interestingly the DNS response 35ms)

Interestingly you can see the buildup of these slow requests as they get progressively worse:
[image would be here showing ping results building up in time]

So my question is whether this looks like something Cloudflare could be doing if something is configured incorrectly? And how can I diagnose this from the Cloudflare dashboard - which seems to show normal stuff from what I can see, but as mentioned real world feedback disagrees with this, and tools like NewRelic all seem to point to somewhere between the Browser request and the Backend server (but not the backend server which responsed in < 300ms to the eventual request that gets through).

Sorry for such a long post, but hopefully it might ring some bells for someone, and perhaps be instructive to a wider audience when someone hopefully says - oh silly - its X.


Here’s one on the other image showing the issue:

  • Go to this tool (Disclaimer: External link)

  • Type your site URL /robots.txt

  • Does it still take a long ‘connection’ time?

  • Try checking once also after changing Orange Cloud to Gray, wait for 5 mins and do a second test to confirm if that issue is related to CF or not.

  • You may also check tracert report to see if there is any connectivity issues. If you see any such, please check with Cloudflare support team. They can better assist in this regard.

Hey - thanks for some useful tips - the Tool you referenced is giving normal results at the moment (and it looks the equivalent to what NewRelic gives us with their PingMonitors) - however when it kicks off again, i will run it and see the results (which I am expecting to be like what we are getting when we hit issues, but will confirm when it happens as you never know).

The same for tracert (or traceroute on linux) - although lots of hops going on when I run it now. Will have to study that a bit more.

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I’ve realised that actually ping doesn’t work against the site in question, and traceroute never completes either?

Presumably this then means I need Cloudflare support then right?

Yes, it sounds like connectivity issues to me. Please consult support [at] cloudflare [dot] com from your account e-mail.


For reporting it, when you say “from your account email” - is that something in the cloudflare dashboard or from an email registered with the account?

Yes, the Cloudflare Login Email which can be seen here as well.


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