IPFS is still a developing protocol. Sometimes the content referenced by an IPFS address may be unavailable or slow to load for reasons outside of Cloudflare’s control. The best place to get up-to-date information about issues facing IPFS is the IPFS Discussion Forum. With that said, here are some issues we’ve anticipated you may face when using Cloudflare’s gateway and some explanations for why they’re happening.
Fetching files from IPFS can be slow. Cloudflare uses our network of 150+ data centers to speed up content delivery by caching files that have previously been requested through our gateway. However, if you request a file through our gateway that we haven’t cached, our IPFS node must request that file from the general IPFS network. This requires a lot more legwork than just retrieving a file from our cache. When Cloudflare’s IPFS node has to request a file from the IPFS network, it must first query the Distributed Hash Table to determine which nodes are storing that file before it can make a connection to one of them (which might be on the other side of the world) to retrieve the file. Don’t give up if a file doesn’t load immediately through Cloudflare’s gateway - the IPFS network may just be taking a long time to find it.
Sometimes content you request through our gateway will never load. Usually this happens because all the nodes that were storing the content have gone offline (or are not reachable by our gateway). Content will only stay on the IPFS network only as long as there’s at least one node that is serving it. If all of the nodes that were serving a given piece of content go offline, the content will be inaccessible until one of them comes back online.