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How to Contact Support
Presented by Jamie Ede
Originally aired on
June 11, 2020 @ 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM EDT
Review of Cloudflare's support contact channels and what information is needed smoother experience.
Hi, and welcome to this Cloudflare TV segment from Cloudflare TV on how to contact support.
So, this session is just going to be about how to effectively contact support, adding the right information, the avenues you can go by, etc.
It's hosted by me. My name is Jamie Ede. I am the technical trainer for the technical support team here at Cloudflare.
I was a technical support engineer for two plus years before changing roles to the technical trainer.
So, yeah, that's a little bit about me.
So, there are four main avenues you can get support from Cloudflare.
You can use the Cloudflare dashboard to contact support, and you can chat to a technical support engineer as well if you're on the business plan and above, or you can email in to support at Cloudflare.com.
And enterprise customers have access to the emergency phone support when it is part of their contract.
So, they're the four main ways.
Like, the best way is using the Cloudflare dashboard. And then if you just have quick questions, it would be the chatting to a technical support engineer, along with the email.
So, if you just want to use your email client to email into us, that is the email right there, and it will go through to us, and we will triage it accordingly.
So, I'm going to go over contacting via the dashboard. It is the most effective way to contact support.
And there are automated tests that run prior to the request sent to our support team to help you self-diagnose.
The flow shows any ongoing incidents at that time, along with links off to the community for you to search for the issue.
Because people have probably had similar issues prior to you, right?
And searching in the community where people have been helping each other out will have a really great impact for yourself and resolution time.
So, the dashboard is a really effective way. And I'm going to share exactly how the flow goes with that.
One moment. Let me just share my dashboard here with you.
And as you can see here, I'm logged into the Cloudflare dashboard. I'm at the overview page for csuptv.com, right?
So, from here, if we have a request to support our website isn't working how we think it should be, and we need help from the technical support engineers here at Cloudflare, the first place you would go to would be clicking on the support button up here.
And then clicking on help center.
And then from there, it brings up this page.
Once you've signed in. Okay.
I'm having issues with my dashboard login. Let me go back to the Cloudflare dashboard.
I did test this earlier and it was working. Okay.
I'll skip showing that part of the dashboard right now, because I'm having issues with my login, of course.
But from there, you will see many things, including the status page.
And if we have any ongoing incidents at that time, it will show you the impact of the incident, where we are right now with the investigation.
So, you know, before you send in your request to support, if there is an ongoing incident, it may be related to the incident.
So, if you have an ongoing incident, it may be related to the question you may have.
Right? So, that's one of the main reasons it's there.
When you go down that page a bit more, there is also links off to the community, so you can ask your questions there.
And yeah. Once you click through to create the ticket, there is a whole flow that starts to happen, where you select the zone, like the website you're writing in about, and we run some automated tests against that zone to see if there are any obvious issues, like some of the frequently asked, we have run automated tests into that system, to then give you quick and accurate answers based on the tests.
So, even at this stage, the issue you may be having may be answered via our automated tests against your website.
One thing I did forget to note, if you have any questions throughout about contacting support or anything I'm speaking about, please just email into livestudio at Cloudflare.tv, and I'll try and answer them.
So, the second way to get support from us would be to just plain email in. So, it's different than when you're on the dashboard, because when you're on the dashboard, you are logged in, right?
You are authenticated, and you are using the dashboard to ask for support.
So, you're already authenticated when the ticket comes into us.
So, with emailing in, you have to ensure that you email support at Cloudflare.com from the email address of the account owner.
So, when you create the email, if you're using your phone, maybe you have many email accounts on your phone, ensure the from email address you're selecting is the email that is associated with the Cloudflare account that you need assistance with.
Otherwise, you're going to get automated responses saying that you are not the account owner.
And yeah, the way to authenticate is to make sure you're emailing in from an account owner's email address.
Okay, so once you, if you're on the business plan or above, you have access to live chat, which gives you access to chat 24-7 to a technical support engineer, which is great, right?
So, it's a great platform if you have a question and you're struggling to find the answer through all the avenues you've tried, like checking in the Cloudflare support knowledge base, or the Cloudflare community, or even a search engine such as, you know, Google or Bing.
So, if you really are struggling just to find the answer to your question, or it's super specific, maybe the chatting with someone would be the best avenue for you.
And once you have someone, if they need to do more technical debugging on your behalf, we would need to, we then turn the chat into a ticket internally, so then we can carry on the flow that way if there is further investigations needed, out of the realms of, you know, a chat with someone who is technical on the support side.
So, yeah, if you have any type of issues and you're unsure if it's ticket worthy and you just want to make sure, just, if in doubt, make a ticket, we'll always answer you, but chatting is a great avenue for you to get quick answers.
Just make sure you have all the information to hand, so we can give you an accurate answer as quickly as possible, okay?
So, that's one of the main things with chat, and remember, it's only available for people on the business plan and above.
Okay, one other way is emergency phone support, but this is only available to enterprise customers who have emergency phone support as part of their package, right?
So, the emergency phone line is for emergencies only, so such as being under attack, your site's unavailable globally, or within a region, or any type of issue that is causing your site to severe degration to your website or your users, etc., etc.
So, we will answer the phone and we will help you through the process of either creating a ticket so it's more deep investigation, but if there are any quick things we can suggest over the phone to get you back up and running as quickly as possible and point you in the right direction, because usually the issues tend to be origin-related, right?
So, it's usually maybe one of your load balances has fallen over, and yeah, we point you in the correct direction, and then you reach out to that data center, that hosting provider, or your server administrator to get that resolved.
So, yeah, phone support is great for our enterprise customers. We will always try our best to help you there and then, but in some cases, when it does need further investigations, we will create a ticket in the background whilst we're talking to you, so we can, you know, get the appropriate teams involved, have the paper trail to make sure all the evidence is down, so we can send you a more comprehensive reply once the phone call is finished with, like, a more detailed answer, etc.
So, it's a lot easier for you as well when you've come off the phone to then have an email come through to you with all the suggestions that were mentioned in the phone call, plus more, right?
Because there's no point us over the phone going into technical detail, because context may be missed, and if we have it in writing, along with step -by-steps and how we diagnosed, and the steps you should take to then resolve the issue overall, yeah, that's what we do.
Okay, so moving on to giving enough information.
One of the main things we need from you is enough information to help you, and I'm going to go over a few things that can help you create support tickets that have all the information from the get-go, so our technical support engineers can help you in the most effective and efficient way.
The first thing I want to cover is, can you fix yourself?
So, your question may have been asked many, many times to a technical support engineer, and we will happily help you if you write in, but you may be able to solve the issue yourself quicker, right?
If you do a bit of research and find out, for example, let's say your website is having 522 errors, for example, you could search up 522 on the support.Cloudflare.com, which holds our knowledge base, and there are articles on there on the reasons for that error code and the resolution steps, and for a 522, they are nearly always origin-related, so your web server, your firewalls, etc.
So, yeah, there is a lot of information on our support and our support articles to point you in the right direction, and if you ever get stuck, please feel free to write in, and we will assist you in working out exactly where the issue is to a point, right?
As Cloudflare, we support the Cloudflare side, and if we test and we see the issue is your origin, or this certain IP address origin, that's kind of as far as we can go.
We will not be assisting with the actual fix on the origin web server.
That's obviously out of the remit of Cloudflare support there, but the information we give you and the evidence will help you, you know, talk to your server administrator with a detailed overview of exactly where the issue is taking place, or if you need to contact your hosting provider themselves and exactly state what the issue is, you can send the technical diagnosis that we have provided to them, and it should help you resolve it much quicker as well.
So, with our evidence, that can help as well.
You can also check over at the community, as I've said before.
So, there is so many threads on the community about different types of errors and issues.
So, if you use the search function in our community, you may find the answer you're looking for, right?
So, and if all else fails after you're unable to find the answer to your question via the support.Cloudflare.com or the community, you can use a search engine, right?
We all use them. So, if you're unsure, after checking all the Cloudflare-related things, use a search engine like Bing or Google, and it could be fruitful when you're trying to find the answers to your questions.
So, the main points here of, can you fix it yourself, would be check the Cloudflare knowledge base, the Cloudflare community, and maybe try a search engine or two.
It may, someone may have already had the same issue as you, or had the same question as you in the past.
So, moving on to the actual giving support enough information. If any of you tuned into my top 10 FAQs a couple of days ago on Cloudflare TV, I went over this in about the same detail about what we need.
To be honest, one of our FAQs is, we need more information from you as well, right, to make sure we can give the most effective assistance and support.
So, we do get requests that do not have enough information for a technical support engineer to assist in the best way.
We don't second guess or try and guesstimate what the issue could be.
We will ask you for more information if it is unclear.
So, the key things to remember, and when you're submitting tickets, either via the ticket form on dash.Cloudflare.com, or via email, is to include detailed replication steps.
So, if it's something that we can replicate, then it's much easier for us to diagnose.
The replication steps should include what operating system you're using, the steps in the browser you're doing.
You open the URL, you click on this button, you go here, and this is missing. And including screenshots in the replication flow can be really helpful for a technical support engineer to see what you see and understand the underlying issue, right?
So, yeah. So, yeah, one of the things you always make sure to mention the domain or URL the issue is present on, right?
If it's a domain overall, just mentioning the domain is fine.
If it's happening on a specific endpoint, like your login page or your specific product page that's having a weird image issue, et cetera, then mention that URL by name, copy and paste the URL from your address bar into the ticket or the email and detail what we should be seeing and what we don't see, right?
That way, a technical support engineer can diagnose it by opening up in their browser or using command line tools to test that exact URL the issue is happening on.
If you don't provide this at the beginning of the ticket, then we will respond back asking for more information.
So, the more information we'll ask for will vary, but it usually stems down to these four bullet points, right?
So, we want the replication steps, the exact domain or URL you're having the issue on, providing RAIDs, which are the specific unique identifiers for each request over Cloudflare.
They can help us pinpoint errors. So, if it's an error, we should be able to find it based on the RAID ID if it's within a certain time period.
And a HAR file. So, a HAR file is our bread and butter when it comes to many types of issues customers have.
I'll show you what a HAR file is right now, because this file is super important for a lot of issues.
So, I'm now sharing this page of the support.Cloudflare.com, and let's say we want to create a HAR file.
What is a HAR file? It's a breakdown of every request that happened in a format that you can share with someone.
That's TLDR, really. So, if we open up developer tools, I'll just show you how to do that.
In your browser, if you go to the menu, go to more tools, and then go to developer tools there, or you could use the shortcut there, control shift I, and it opens up this.
It will usually open on the elements tab here, where it shows you, you know, the code of the website, and you can hover over it, etc.
So, what we want to do is go to the network tab.
It's blank right now, right? That's because we loaded the page first, and then we opened these tools.
So, now with cache disabled, if we then refresh this page, it's now running through, and we can see a lot of details here.
So, the first request up here would be the request to the html page, right? The document, as it's called.
Like, everything that is linked on this page to make the page look, act, and do what it should do, is linked off of the main request, usually.
So, this is the waterfall of, like, showing what was first, and it goes through.
You can see the timings, how big each request was, how long it took to load, and I've added a custom column here on my dev tools to show if something's a hit or miss.
And when I'm diagnosing things and, you know, investigating issues, having this header show in this waterfall format, like this, shows me at a glance if resources that should be cached aren't cached for one, or if the TTL is too low, time to live, like, so the cached assets are staying in cache for a second instead of a decent amount of time to be worth it.
We can notice that kind of thing by loading the website website once, reloading, to see what we get back again.
And, of course, on support .Cloudflare.com, we're getting good cache hit ratios, and we can see most of our resources are cache hit, etc., including the actual page itself.
So, the actual en -us is a cache hit, even though by default it wouldn't be a cached asset, and that really does speed up websites, because it's the dynamic request being cached.
That was a slight sidecar into diagnosing things, but, yeah, I digress.
This is the output you get when you reload a website with dev tools open, and you go to the network tab, you will see this.
If we want to export this as a HAR file, we can just right-click on this area here, and we go to save all as HAR with content.
Once we press that button, it will show up like this, and then we can just press save.
Once that's saved, it's then done.
That is now saved on my computer as a .HAR extension file, which I can then share with Cloudflare support or anyone, my server administrator, to show them where the issues are with regards to caching, performance, etc.
So, yeah, it's a really great asset to send to us. For example, let's imagine support.Cloudflare.com was behaving really oddly.
Maybe this search box didn't have any style, and there was no curved edges, for example, or this placeholder text wasn't there.
That can cause issues with Rocket Loader.
But yeah, there could be many things that HAR file is useful for, and that is definitely one.
So, I'm going to go back to sharing my slides for a moment.
So, giving support enough information, it's easy to open a support ticket via the dashboard or send it in an email.
Ensure you have all the information we need to help you.
If, like, just read through your emails or your message and think, will support know what I'm talking about?
And if the answer is yes, send it away. Send it.
That'd be great. We would love to help you. We are here to help you. If you're unsure that maybe they wouldn't understand exactly where the issue is happening, try and include more information, like the replication steps.
Screenshots are great. We love screenshots.
We love HAR files even more. And if it's like a networking issue, MTR-style things are helpful.
And if it's a really finicky error that's hard to pinpoint, PCAP files are encouraged.
So, sending us these things, we can analyze them, and we will help you identify the causes if you're having trouble finding what the issues are.
So, yeah, that's all I've got on this, really.
Contact support is as easy as that.
You can open a ticket via the dashboard. You can email in. You can raise a chat to chat with our technical support engineers 24-7, or you can phone in if you have a really urgent case and your enterprise.
So, yeah, thank you for watching.
The real privilege of working at Mozilla is that we're a mission-driven organization, and what that means is that before we do things, we ask, what's good for the users, as opposed to what's going to make the most money?
Mozilla's values are similar to Cloudflare's.
They care about enabling the web for everybody in a way that is secure, in a way that is private, and in a way that is trustworthy.
We've been collaborating on improving the protocols that help secure connections between browsers and websites.
Mozilla and Cloudflare have collaborated on a wide range of technologies.
The first place we really collaborated was the new TLS 1.3 protocol, and then we followed it up with QUIC and DNS server HTTPS, and most recently, the new Firefox private network.
DNS is core to the way that everything on the Internet works.
It's a very old protocol, and it's also in plain text, meaning that it's not encrypted.
And this is something that a lot of people don't realize.
You can be using SSL and connecting securely to websites, but your DNS traffic may still be unencrypted.
When Mozilla was looking for a partner for providing encrypted DNS, Cloudflare was a natural fit.
The idea was that Cloudflare would run the server piece of it, and Mozilla would run the client piece of it, and the consequence would be that we'd protect DNS traffic for anybody who used Firefox.
Cloudflare was a great partner with this because they were really willing early on to implement the protocol, stand up a trusted recursive resolver, and create this experience for users.
They were strong supporters of it. One of the great things about working with Cloudflare is their engineers are crazy fast.
So the time between we decide to do something and we write down the barest protocol sketch, and they have it running in their infrastructure, is a matter of days to weeks, not a matter of months to years.
There's a difference between standing up a service that one person can use, or 10 people can use, and a service that everybody on the Internet can use.
When we talk about bringing new protocols to the web, we're talking about bringing it not to millions, not to tens of millions.
We're talking about hundreds of millions to billions of people.
Cloudflare has been an amazing partner in the privacy front.
They've been willing to be extremely transparent about the data that they are collecting and why they're using it, and they've also been willing to throw those logs away.
Really, users are getting two classes of benefits out of our partnership with Cloudflare.
The first is direct benefits.
That is, we're offering services to the user that make them more secure, and we're offering them via Cloudflare.
So that's like an immediate benefit these users are getting.
The indirect benefit these users are getting is that we're developing the next generation of security and privacy technology, and Cloudflare is helping us do it.
And that will ultimately benefit every user, both Firefox users and every user of the Internet.
We're really excited to work with an organization like Mozilla that is aligned with the user's interests, and in taking the Internet and moving it in a direction that is more private, more secure, and is aligned with what we think the Internet should be.