Cloudflare TV

Cloudflare Elementary

Presented by Chaat Butsunturn, Shane Ossa
Originally aired on 

What's that, my dear Watson?

Join some of Cloudflare's youngest fans (and their parents) as they learn about the Internet.

Internet 101

Transcript (Beta)

This is Chaat and my co-host Shane is coming back in just a moment and welcome to Cloudflare Elementary.

We're both on the Cloudflare team obviously and we both have nine-year-old kids who we thought, wow, wouldn't it be a fun experiment to teach our kids about Cloudflare.

Let's see if they can, if we can teach them a little bit about what we do.

So that's the gist behind the idea of Cloudflare Elementary. So this is my son BB.

Say hi. Hi. How old are you BB? I'm nine. Nine? And did you, you're on summer break now, huh?

Yeah, summer break. When did you finish? Maybe three to four weeks ago.

Right, but it kind of feels like three to four months I bet.

Yeah. Because you've been out of school, school in the classroom since March and that's pretty much when since I've been working from home.

So what grade did you finish now?

I finished third grade. Third grade, okay. And going into fourth which would make you an elementary school and that's why we're calling Cloudflare Elementary.

So today's lesson plan is we're going to go over some three basic tenets of what Cloudflare is.

Yeah, what are they? DNS. DNS, that's right. Did you forget the second?

And also over CDN. CDN and DDoS. And DDoS, yeah. We'll see if we can get to that third one.

And Shane is on the, so I'm in the sales group, so I talk to people all the time about what Cloudflare is.

And Shane helps fix people with, he's on the customer support group and helps people with engineering questions and the like.

So I don't know where they are. I know they had some sound issues and they're going to be joining us in a minute.

But why don't I start with DNS?

This was going to be Shane's segment here, DNS, but let's see how I do. So DNS is the domain name system, right?

And it's basically like the phone book of the Internet.

So when you go onto a website, you know, everybody knows the website address, but that's not how computers talk.

How are you, Shane? You're on, you're in mute.

No, we still can't hear you guys. Hold on. We're working on a sound issue.

Okay. Let's see. I don't know if people can see my chat. If I say, hello, Shane.

Oh, Shane, we can see you. But we can't hear, oh, and I can hear you too.

I can hear you, Shane. Yeah. So I don't know if everyone else is able to hear or see us.

I'm not, I'm not sure. Shane, now I know you can't hear me, but we can hear you.

So we can hear.

Can you hear us now?

We can hear you now too. You can hear me. All right. Well, we only lost three minutes.

Actually, I got through some of the intros. No problem. Yeah.

This is live, right? Unfiltered. Well, I introduced my team over here. Cool.

Got BB and myself. I told him I was on the sales team and Shane. Hi, my name is Shane.

I'm on the customer support team at Cloudflare. I'm the technical training program manager, and this is my nine-year -old daughter.

My name is Aya. Hi, Aya. Good to see you again.

So you guys are both nine and you both finished third grade and you're both going into fourth, hopefully in a classroom, right?

Hopefully you're not sitting in your classroom right now.

And I had just reviewed our today's lesson plan and we're going to go over DNS, CDN, and DDoS, right?

Lots of acronyms.

Lots of acronyms. Yeah. So while you were away, I told Bedla what DNS is. Aya, do you know what DNS is?

What it stands for? No, domain name system. Domain name system.

That's right. So Shane's going to walk us through a little bit about domain name system.

That's right. Let me get us started. I'm going to do a little whiteboard here.

Let's see if this works out. Can you see the whiteboard? I see it.

Great. We see it too. Okay. So domain name system is a fun one because it really is like how all of the Internet works for most people.

When you want to go to a website, you're going to be using the domain name system, even though you don't know you're really using it.

It's kind of happening in the background. And the domain name system, I'll spell it out.

Domain name system. We call it for short. It's much easier to just call it DNS.

Those letters. DNS. Domain name system. And what the domain name system does, it converts a website name to IP addresses.

An IP address is like the address of your house, except for computers.

The way that computers like to communicate is via numbers, right?

They're like robots, and you can't just tell a computer to go to io .com.

You have to give it a number of where that website is located.

It's located on a computer, and the computers all have addresses, just like homes have addresses.

So it would convert a domain name, and a domain name is really a fancy way of saying a website name.

So let's say there was a website called

So that needs to be converted to an IP address.

An IP address is usually something like this, right? They're a bunch of numbers like that, that computers have.

So you would never be able to memorize that.

If you wanted to go to, a human would never be able to say, oh, hey, could I go to 123.12.14 .14?

You would never remember that. So to make it easy for you, we have a name called the domain name or a website name.

So Shane, that's kind of like saying if your website address is Chats House, right?

And the IP address would actually be like 123 Main Street. So you don't tell your cab driver, hey, I want to go to Chats House.

You would say, I need to go to 123 Main Street.

Is that kind of the similar thing that you're talking about here?

Yeah, exactly. Like if I were to write a letter to you, I couldn't just write, send this letter to IO and just write IO on it.

The post officer wouldn't know where to take it.

So I have to put your address. And so it's similar to that. So every website is sitting on a computer, which we call a server.

Every website is actually located on a server that has an IP address.

But in order for the people like the rest of us to easily remember the website you want to go to, we have DNS.

And where Cloudflare comes in is that Cloudflare will handle the DNS for the people that are using Cloudflare, for customers of Cloudflare.

So a customer that's using Cloudflare, if I go to their website,, my computer, I'm going to go to it on my computer.

I type into my web browser. Then it's going to convert that name, shanossa .com, into an IP address.

And Cloudflare does that.

And you as a Cloudflare customer would say, hey, I'm going to let Cloudflare be the service that will convert my domain name, my website name, to an IP address.

Hey Shane, so Bibi has a question. Yeah. Is it basically, so you're saying like the computer may be like a mailman, and your letter wants to go to say, go to maybe.

And you want to go there. You mail a letter, you have to put in a, you can't just say, you kind of, I don't get like where you say like, what do you put there?

Yeah, that's a great question. So DNS does all the hard work. So you don't have to remember any of the numbers, right?

All you have to remember is the name of the website you want to go to.

And DNS, it all kind of happens in the background.

So that's why most people haven't really heard of it, even though everyone uses the Internet every day.

Yeah, they're used. It's like a phone book.

I mean, I know, I don't know if phone books are a great analogy for the kids these days.

Have you ever seen a phone book, Ayo? I've heard of them, and I think I've seen them in a movie, but no, I've never seen an actual phone book.

A phone book is basically, it's a big fat paper book.

And inside it is like, like every city used to have them.

And in the city, you'd have like all the names of everyone that lived there and all the businesses, and it would have their address and phone number in it.

That's basically what DNS is. Yeah. Except it has all the website address, like ioswebsite .io or

And it would match it with your IP address, like 239.45.67 .899.

The last one's not really a number, but yeah.

Cloudflare knows all of those addresses. It knows all of the websites and what their real IP addresses are for our customers.

Devi? Do the people know it, or do the people's, do the workers from Cloudflare actually know the numbers or do their computers?

No, we don't. In fact, we don't look at them because it's private for our customers.

So our computers know it and it's encrypted. So it's in code.

All right. So that's DNS. What else do we need to know about DNS? I mean, that's the main thing I would say.

What's interesting is if, and this kind of is going to start on our next topic with CDN, but customers that are using Cloudflare, they're going to say that, okay, Cloudflare is handling our DNS.

So if someone goes, if someone wants to go to or, that Cloudflare is going to be the computer that answers and says, here's your, here's your website.

Because they've said Cloudflare can manage our DNS.

Doing that also allows Cloudflare and Cloud First customers to manage some other things for Cloudflare.

It allows our, it allows us to actually provide the website to someone that's going to your website so that, so let's say your website is actually sitting on the computer in your house and you have, you know, and it's going to be on a website in your house.

It's going to be on a computer in your house. And then you're going to be a Cloudflare customer.

And you're going to say, okay, if anyone wants to go to and they type into their browser, then their browser is going to ask Cloudflare and go, hey, where is this website?

And Cloudflare will actually say, we have it right here.

So that sort of takes us into the next topic, which is CDN.

Or do you feel like there's anything else we should mention about? I guess the only thing I would mention is like, if I drew a little picture here, and this is, if you imagine a website, if this is your email or your photo or whatever it is that you want to send to your buddy, right?

You put the domain name is like, if this was going to be, and then underneath it, you put your address, which is actually the IP address.

And that's how it zips along. How'd I do? That's good. That's good.

All right. Well, I drew another map. I drew another picture. Can you guess what that is?

United States. That's right. I think it is going to be a little easier than the whiteboard.

Right. All right. So what is a, you know what CDN stands for?

I forget. IO, do you remember? No, I don't. Well, the letters stand for content delivery network.

Right. So delivery, everyone kind of knows what that is.

Things getting around. Network is the amalgam of everything. Content is what you're shuttling around.

In this case, let's say it's pictures or emails or websites or that kind of information.

Like if you go to a website, you're going to often see words and pictures.

Right. And those are the boring. I know he's tired from, from skate camp.

Right. So thanks for hopping into school. Well, if we, the advantage of a content delivery network is it makes things faster, makes the website faster.

So I'm going to show you how to do that. First, I'm going to draw. This is where we are here.

Right. That's, that's us. And let's say I want to check out a website in New York.

All right. Let's say there's a website called I love New York or something like that.

Right. Well, the distance between here and here is like 3000 miles.

Right. So let me ask you a question. What's the fastest thing in the universe?

Light. Light. Right. And what's faster than light? Basically nothing. Right.

So it's a, it's a constant. You can't go faster than light. Right. So the Internet travels, which is be safe to say it travels at the speed of light chain.

Pretty close.

Not quite, but at any rate, the point is if the speed of light is constant, that means like if my website is here and I'm going to go visit though, and I want to go check it out, I have to go from here all the way here and back.


And that might take a while. Now the idea with a content delivery network is it saves a copy of what you're looking at all over the place.

So let's say you had the IO and I, what's your favorite recipe?

What do you, what's your favorite food?

My favorite recipe, nothing to make. I love making chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip cookies.

Well, if I wanted to make your chocolate cookies and I needed your, your recipe, right.

I would go to IO's and let's say that your website is hosted in New York city, way over here.

I would have to go all the way from here to here and back.

And that's going to take, I don't know, a while. Maybe it takes like three seconds.

I actually don't know how long it would take, but what if there was one in like, this is supposed to be a chocolate chip cookie.

Right now, what if you saved a copy of your recipe right there? And I only had to go this far, much closer, much closer, right?

Well, what's that? He said Nevada.

And I was like, yeah, that's about, it probably is closer to Nevada. Well, Cloudflare has a bunch of them.

Look at all those dots. Now I'm just drawing dots on a paper, but that's basically the idea behind a CDN is that we have a bunch of these, these things are all data centers.

And in each of those data centers, we could save copies of the website.

So back to this. So basically like if you're in Texas, you've got one, like in tech, if you were to be in, like, if you lived in Texas, Austin, there'd be one right there.

If you lived in Florida, there'd be one right there.

If you lived in, let's say Kansas, there'd be one right there.

Yeah. Washington, Oregon would be one right there. Right.

Faster is better, right?

No one likes to sit around waiting for the recipe because then, you know, my milk's getting warm and I'm really eager to get his recipe for, for cookies because yours is taking so long to load.

Right. So that's the basic of CDN.

Right. What do you think? Makes sense? Makes sense. Yeah. Any, yeah. So what's kind of neat about our network is not only can each of those data centers save a copy of your, of your, of your website, but it can also act as a, a defense shield.

Right. So what's, I didn't remember what DDoS is, what it stands for. Well, let's see if I, No, no.

Denial of, denial of, wait, denial of, denial of, of distribute, denial, distribute of services.

Yeah. Right. Pretty much. So it's distributed denial. So denial of service means like, we're not going to serve you.

So if I want to get your cookie recipe, it's going to tell me, sorry, you can't get your cookie recipe.

Actually, it's not even going to tell me that.

I'm just going to not be able to get it.

Right. So now this gets into how, how does DNS and CDN and DDoS, what's the relationship between all of them?

Shane, you want to get into like where DNS fits in the picture?

Sure. So if you're a Cloudflare customer, am I sharing my screen?

Yeah, I'm seeing it. Let me get to the whiteboard again. Here we go. Oh, what happened here?

There we go. Your screen. So we talked about how the domain name system converts website names into IP addresses and how, if you're a Cloudflare customer, we'll do that for you.

And you actually say that Cloudflare is your official authoritative DNS provider.

And that's going to filter all of the traffic. All of the traffic and people that want to visit your website are going to go through Cloudflare.

Cloudflare is now your authoritative DNS provider.

And it's a CDN, right? Remember that's content distribution.

I can't spell.

Network. It's a distribution network. So now your website, actually a copy of your website is actually sitting on Cloudflare server.

So in many cases, the actual computer or server, server is a fancy way of saying computer, is actually a copy of it is on Cloudflare's network, and we can give it to you faster.

So the next topic we want to talk about is EDOS or DOS, denial of service, and how we can protect customers against that happening.

So I'm going to take a stab here at drawing.

You guys, I've got a translation thing in there. Let's just draw.

So yeah, basically, like when I'm looking up your recipe, what I'll find is I usually would go to your website address, right?

And I will find your IP. And that IP is where your website lives, right?

But when you get on the Cloudflare, what happens is, that's a pretty good map, by the way, Shane.

The way the CDN works is that each one of those data centers will broadcast the same IP.

So if I'm looking for your website, I'm not only going to find it in New York, but I'm going to find it in every one of those dots.

Each one of these dots is going to have the same Cloudflare IP that's associated with your website.

And so that's how we're able to find it.

That's right.

So if IO has a website, let's say IO's website is on a computer here.

She lives in, I don't know, where do you think this is, Bibi, in America, if that was a...

Probably Kansas. Yeah. Maybe, let's say St. Louis. St. Louis. That's pretty good.

Geography. We've got some geography buffs here. Well, it's all due to the quality of your map there.

And then, let's say we have Cloudflare data centers with copies of your website all around the country.

So that when someone wants to go to your website, they're just going to go to the Cloudflare data center and get a copy of it there.

And if someone wants to attack your website, instead of going directly to your website, they're going to go to our data center and we're going to be able to block the attack.

So let's talk about what an attack actually is, all right?

Right. So if someone wants to... Let's say I have a pizza parlor called Chad's Pizza.

And around the corner, around the same town, there's Shane's Pizza.

And I know that everybody likes Shane's Pizza because he's got that nice thin New York crust.

And so when people call him, I don't want them calling his pizza.

So I want them to call mine. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to get a whole bunch of robots that I can commandeer, called a botnet.

And I'm going to have them all call Shane's Pizza at the same time so that no one can get through.

And if people want pizza, I'm the only game in town that's answering their phone.

They called my pizza place, but the phone line was busy because of all of Chad's fake robot callers are clogging my phone line.

So then they look at the other pizza place and say, well, Chad's Pizza and they call his and his works.

That's right. Um, so I, I think, so then doesn't, so does Cloudflare like stop that somehow?

Yeah, so we can show when it's a fake caller.

But then how do they know if it's a fake caller or a normal caller?

We test it, we test it in a few ways. We, we do, it's called like a challenge.

So we give it a little challenge to see if it's a robot or not.

I don't know if maybe you've ever seen this when you've gone to a website, but one of the challenges we can do, and you can choose this when you're a customer, what kind of challenge to put up, but it's called a captcha.

And it'll say something like, click on all the pictures that contain a stop sign, and it'll show you like nine different pictures.

And some of them have stop signs and some of them don't.

And then you say, okay, that one has a stop sign. And it's actually testing to see if you're a human that wants to go to that website or not, or if you're a robot that's just trying to disrupt that website.

What about, I've also seen, I don't know, I've also seen, are you a robot?

I'm not a robot. Yeah, right.

You can just, some of them just say, click this button if you're not a robot.

Which it seems like some people could program a robot to do. So we made it a little harder, and some of them are actually like these very sophisticated pictures that you have to select different things.

So these robots, they could be anywhere in the world, right?

And they're all going to direct their traffic to, you know,

But if ioscookies .com is everywhere, yes. Oh, I have a question.

So can it be like any robots? Because I know that some people have fancy fridges or whatever.

That's a good question. So actually, there are a lot of devices now that are connected to the Internet.

Light bulbs, coffee machines, toasters.

And yes, it has been known that these types of machines can be hacked and become robots.

And those robots can all contribute to this problem. So we have one minute left.

And so I just want to show, if you see all those things, each one of these can also your DDoS attack, so that people can still get to your website.

That's kind of how we've got time for today.

Did you have fun? Yep, I learned a lot.

Next time, we're going to have you both teach us this and see if it's working.

We'll do a preview before, though. Thanks for joining Cloud For All next time.

Nice to see you. Nice to see you, Shane. That was fun. Enjoy the next Cloudflare TV segment, people who are watching.

Thanks for joining. Bye. Hope you learned about any new things.

Bye. Bye.