- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Cloudflare booted The Daily Stormer off of its paid service on Wednesday, a move that could leave the neo-Nazi website vulnerable to large scale cyber attacks.
Cloudflare’s decision to stop providing service to the site – following days of controversy over the site’s racist and abusive content – won’t have an immediate effect. That’s because the site is currently inaccessible, due to companies like GoDaddy and Google cancelling their domain name registry services for it.
But in the event the site finds someone willing to host it, the loss of Cloudflare protection could leave it exposed to s0-called distributed denial of service attacks, a technique in which legions of computers barrage a site with requests in the hopes of overwhelming it.
In a post on Gab, a Twitter-like service favored by white nationalists, The Daily Stormer’s founder Andrew Anglin posted a screenshot of an alleged email from Cloudflare, saying that its paid plan “will end now” on August 16.
Cloudflare did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, but CEO Matthew Prince confirmed the news to another outlet.
“This was my decision, I don’t think it’s CloudFlare’s policy and I think it’s an extremely dangerous decision in a lot of ways,” Prince told The Verge. “I think that we as the internet need to have a conversation about where the right place for content restriction is…but there was no way we could have that conversation until we resolved this particular issue.”
The move appears to mark a reversal of Cloudflare’s earlier decision to continue offering services to the site, even as other companies cut ties with it. It’s unclear what prompted the change. On Monday the company told Business Insider it was “aware” that concerns had been raised about some of the sites it supports and that it considers the content on some of those sites to be “repugnant.”
As a content delivery network, Cloudflare provided a sort of buffer between visitors and the website, to protect the site from denial of service attacks. The company drew criticism earlier this week for continuing to support the neo-Nazi site even after other tech providers had stopped severed business ties with the site.
The neo-Nazi website struggled to stay online this week after both GoDaddy and Google decided not to cease providing it with domain name services.
GoDaddy announced on Sunday that it was dropping the website for violating its terms of service following a post denigrating Heather Heyer, an anti-racism activist who was killed during Saturday’s protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The neo-Nazi website moved to Google on Monday morning, but was quickly dropped by the search giant for violating its terms of service. The site briefly appeared to have a new home in Russia on Wednesday.