Cloudflare Docs
Visit Support on GitHub
Set theme to dark (⇧+D)

Delivering Videos with Cloudflare

​​ Using Cloudflare’s Services

Cloudflare launched in 2010 believing everyone deserves a secure, fast, reliable web presence. We did not think you should have to pay more when you came under cyber attack, so we offered free and fixed-rate pricing for websites. That worked because most websites don’t consume much bandwidth, and so we could provide our services in an affordable way to everyone.From the beginning, we prohibited streaming video content using our bandwidth. While you could embed a video from another provider, we limited your ability to use our services to deliver video bits from our network to your visitors. This is because every second of a typical video requires as much bandwidth as loading a full web page.

Over time we recognized that some of our customers wanted to stream video using our network. To accommodate them, we developed our Stream product. Stream delivers great performance at an affordable rate charged based on how much load you place on our network.

Unfortunately, while most people respect these limitations and understand they exist to ensure high quality of service for all Cloudflare customers, some users attempt to misconfigure our service to stream video in violation of our Terms of Service. We want to make sure our service is great for everyone, including public service initiatives we run like Project Galileo, The Athenian Project, and Project Fair Shot. A handful of people misusing our service limits our ability to run these initiatives.

The following are some recommendations for using Cloudflare’s services based on what may have brought you to this page.

​​ I’m a website operator and my content was redirected for Terms of Service violations

If you are on a Free, Pro, or Business Plan and serving videos or a disproportionate amount of non-HTML content — such as software binaries or large volumes of images — in violation of Section 2.8 of the Self-Serve Subscription Agreement, Cloudflare may redirect your content to replacement videos and images. When this happens, you will receive an email notification with information about the zone violating the TOS. Please don’t try to evade the redirect; this may limit your ability to use Cloudflare at all in the future.

​​ Options for web admins to remove redirects 

  • Serve redirected content from a grey-clouded sub-domain

    • Section 2.8 of Cloudflare’s Self-Serve Terms of Service (TOS) prohibits users from serving a disproportionate amount of non-html content, such as images and video, without a paid plan that includes those services. Restrictions set forth in Section 2.8 of the TOS do not apply to content served from grey-clouded (non-proxied) sub-domains. 
  • Serve redirected content from a paid service as outlined below

​​ Delivering videos with Cloudflare using paid products

Cloudflare permits the delivery of video content with specific paid services. If you are interested in serving video content, there are two recommended options. 

​​ Option 1: Cloudflare Stream 

Stream is a video-on-demand platform for building video applications. Stream encodes, stores, and delivers optimized video formatted for different devices and network connections. 

To get started with Stream, visit Stream from your Dashboard or sign up. Your Stream videos are not attached to a domain in your Cloudflare account, and you don’t need a domain on Cloudflare to use Stream.

​​ Option 2: Stream Delivery (Enterprise only)

Stream Delivery offers caching and delivery of video content through Cloudflare data centers around the globe. This CDN feature is only available on the Cloudflare Enterprise Plan. Please contact sales if you’d like to explore this option.

​​ I’m a website visitor, and the site I’m trying to access displays a message referencing Cloudflare Terms of Service instead of the content I expect

This scenario can occur if the operator of the website is in violation of Section 2.8 of the Self-Serve Subscription Agreement (TOS), and has not purchased an appropriate paid product to deliver the content you’re trying to access.

We’ve provided the website operator with information regarding the violation and how they can appropriately use Cloudflare services to deliver the content you are requesting. Unfortunately, until the website operator takes remedial action (like purchasing products authorized to deliver video content with Cloudflare’s network), we cannot remove these restrictions.

Things you can do in the meantime:

  1. Tell the website operator to respect the rules that allow us to provide low cost services in the first place.
  2. Learn more about the things Cloudflare does to help build a better Internet, like Project Galileo, The Athenian Project, and Project Fair Shot.

Install to get a more private, secure Internet experience.

​​ I’m a website operator and I am concerned about violating the Terms of Service

Free, Pro, and Business Plans serving videos or a disproportionate amount of non-HTML content can be in violation of Section 2.8 of the Self-Serve Subscription Agreement (TOS). To serve video or a large amount of non-HTML content, we recommend using one of the paid options outlined above. 

​​ Getting information on the content you are delivering

If you need more information about the content your zone is serving (e.g. content type), you can use the following tools: 

  • Cache Analytics users: Open the Caching tab on the Dashboard to filter by content type and identify the type of traffic you are transferring. 
  • Users without Cache Analytics: Open the Analytics tab on the Dashboard and select the Performance section for information about the content you are serving.

Cache Analytics - Identify type of traffic being transferred

​​ Still have questions? Contact support

If you have additional questions about redirection (e.g. if you believe your content was redirected in error and have supporting evidence), file a support ticket and include the following information: 

  • Name of your domain
  • Description of the problem
  • Description of the content you’re serving through Cloudflare’s network