Cloudflare added Memphis to its extensive list of data center locations a couple of months ago. Cloudflare provides a growing list of services, but its CDN and DNS features should provide a direct speed boost to internet access in Memphis.
Websites and web applications are typically served from a single server or cluster of servers located in a finite number of locations on the globe (often 1). When you visit a website, all of the data that your browser retrieves is loaded from a real server physically located somewhere. Since much of the data served to your browser from the site does not often change (think CSS styling, HTML structure of the pages), it makes sense to try to load a cached version of those resources from a server that is physically closer to your device.
Cloudflare provides this Content Delivery Network (CDN) service to at least 450k sites (a very conservative estimate). Now that Cloudflare has a Memphis data center, anytime you load a site (such as this one) cached by Cloudflare’s CDN, much of the data will be served to your device from a server right here in town.
188.8.131.52 DNS Resolver
Cloudflare launched a public DNS resolver this year. Anytime you type in a URL in your browser, a DNS request is made to your device’s configured DNS resolver to lookup the IP address of the server from which the resource should be retrieved. The classic analogy is that a DNS resolver is a “phonebook for the internet.”
Not only is Cloudflare’s 184.108.40.206 DNS resolver blazing fast and reliable, having a data center right here in Memphis should provide ultra-fast lookups.
Taking advantage of a public DNS resolver is not automatic, however. By default, your device probably uses the DNS resolver provided by your ISP (Comcast, AT&T). You can customize this to Cloudflare’s or any other public resolver in the settings of your device or network router.
Learn more at 220.127.116.11.
Good News for Memphis
I did not take the time to run any empirical tests on real-world improvements, but the opening of a data center here in Memphis should be great news for a city that historically lags (in my opinion) in technological advancement.