Cloudflare Has A Better Privacy Alternative To Google Analytics

October 19, 2020

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Cloudflare has an interesting new alternative to the extremely widely used Google Analytics. Will another web data analytics service ever overtake Google's market-leading service?

In a big shot to the bow of Google, Cloudflare is launching a privacy-friendly rival to Google Analytics, which is the current standard used in many, many companies. The cybersecurity, Distributed Denial Of Service (DDOS) attack preventer, and content-distribution company Cloudflare has become a major part of the Internet's infrastructure in recent years and they could be becoming even more important with this move. Google Analytics is a software tool that's used by Web Managers across the globe to help them track the routes and behavior of the people visiting their sites. Questions such as how they find them, what they do there, the devices they're using, and so on and so forth is at their fingertips through Google Analytics in an easy to use web interface. While this is very popular, it allows Google to track basically the entire Internet and where people go for advertising purposes and the privacy aspects of this are always thought-provoking.

Cloudflare has somewhat of a reputation for caring about privacy. In 2014, Cloudflare offered free website encryption, rapidly increasing the number of secure "https" sites out there. In 2017, it started offering unmetered protection for customers facing huge "distrubted denial of service" attacks that would otherwise knock them offline, so small businesses wouldn't be left vulnerable and have the same protections as core Internet Infrastructure. And in 2018, Cloudflare launched a privacy-friendly Domain Name System service that now has over 100 million users.

It recently unveiled Cloudflare Web Analytics, a free-to-use toolkit that largely duplicates what Google Analytics offers, without the privacy issues. Cloudflare Web Analytics is available now to the company's paid customers, but any website owner will be able to use it for free at some point in the coming months. The move could prove particularly useful for businesses running online services in Europe, where privacy laws say individuals should be tracked online only after they have given their affirmative consent. If you've visited any British or European websites in recent years and seen the Cookie confirmation, you'll see how important it is for businesses to comply with these guidelines to protect themselves from the government's watchdogs. They're also testing a cloud services technology called Durable Objects. In short, this is a tool that allows developers of online services to make those services comply with the growing number of data-localization and protection laws that limit where users' data is supposed to be stored.

Cloudflare has had its share of growing pains and issues over the years. Some people believe that it lost its spirit of being unbiased infrastructure when it started engaging in Internet censorship and banning some objectionable users from its platforms in recent years. Nevertheless, this is a big boost forward for organizations concerned about Internet privacy and protecting their users as essentially every organization on the Internet needs to have some kind of analytics system to track their progress. More options and choices are always good for people. Competition makes the Internet better, so we'll see what happens.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and learned something new! Check out our Learning Center to learn more about online privacy and security or consider subscribing to our Online Privacy Service to remove your phone number, name, and address from Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo search results and hundreds of data broker sites.