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Cloudflare Waiting Room cookie

A waiting room only uses the __cfwaitingroom cookie when a visitor requests access to a host and path combination with an enabled and associated waiting room. When the waiting room is suspended, traffic goes to the origin and the __cfwaitingroom cookie is not created. The __cfwaitingroom cookie is encrypted and cookies copied to another device will not work.

  • While a visitor stays in a waiting room, the __cfwaitingroom cookie is set to expire in 24 hours.
  • When the visitor accesses the application, the __cfwaitingroom cookie expires after an interval (specified by session_duration).

The __cfwaitingroom cookie is used to:

  • Track a user's position in the waiting room queue and serve them in the correct order.
  • Monitor each visitor's duration in the application to provide an accurate entry time to visitors queueing in the waiting room.
  • To allow re-entry for a period of time (specified by session_duration) without going back in the waiting room.

Estimated wait time (FIFO queueing method)

When a visitor first enters the host and path combination for your waiting room, they receive the __cfwaitingroom cookie. That cookie contains a unique group ID, which corresponds to the minute your visitor entered the waiting room. Using this value, we can see how many visitors are in front of a specific group.

Each cookie also contains a value for acceptedAt, which corresponds to the minute your visitor entered your application. This value lets us know how many visitors per minute are leaving the waiting room to enter your application.

visitorsAhead ÷ activeUsersToWebApplication = estimatedWaitTime

We combine these pieces of information to calculate estimated wait time for each group of visitors.

For more details about the technical implementation of Cloudflare Waiting Room, see the blog post.