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Cloudflare Unveils Observatory: Enhancing Web Monitoring Capabilities

Cloudflare has introduced Observatory, a performance monitoring approach that incorporates real-time user monitoring (RUM) data. This integration allows customers to understand their website’s performance from the perspective of visitors. RUM data is captured through Cloudflare’s Browser Insights feature, which utilizes JavaScript “beacons” embedded in web pages to collect data. It provides insights into users’ browsers or devices, recording metrics such as page load times, response times, and user interactions.

Described as “a single pane of glass,” Observatory captures customer experiences across different environments and network conditions, offering site owners a comprehensive view of performance and recommendations for improvement.

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Cloudflare’s CTO, John Graham-Cumming, explained, “Website performance always significantly impacts user experience, particularly at a time when customers are tightening their spending due to inflation and rising living costs. Observatory answers two critical questions: how fast is my website, and how can I make it faster? We want to demonstrate that users don’t need to be experts in web performance to provide their visitors with an exceptional user experience.”

Observatory incorporates Google Lighthouse, a tool for evaluating web performance, and allows regional testing, enabling customers to simulate website performance in different parts of the world. The available testing options vary depending on the customer’s Cloudflare plan, with Pro customers, for example, being able to set up five recurring tests from five different locations for their most important page.

Graham-Cumming emphasized that Observatory was developed based on customer feedback and addresses their pain points. The platform provides tools for easy performance measurement, informed decision-making, and effective communication of results to stakeholders.

Observatory’s recommendations leverage information gathered from Lighthouse, RUM testing, and regional testing to identify issues and suggest tailored Cloudflare product settings for implementing fixes. For instance, the platform may recommend image resizing for a specific page and guide customers towards the relevant Cloudflare product.

Customers can access these recommendations directly within the Cloudflare dashboard, with convenient links to audits.

While other platforms offer similar suggestions and testing for website optimization, Graham-Cumming argues that Observatory stands out for its streamlined approach compared to many solutions in the market.

He stated, “Most competitive platforms are overly complicated and have a steep learning curve, relying on outdated technologies or confusing user interfaces. We designed Observatory to simplify and enhance website speed for a global audience. We understand that only a few companies have dedicated teams for each aspect of the business, such as compression or webpage optimization. However, Observatory eliminates the learning curve and provides customers with a clear understanding of their website’s real-world performance.”

Observatory seamlessly integrates with Cloudflare’s web analytics and development tools, serving as a conduit to its premium products and services. This launch could provide the boost Cloudflare needs following its recent earnings report, which showed a revenue shortfall and prompted a downward revision of its