After looking at the paths that my site was taking on a Cloudflare free tier compared to a paid site, I found something interesting: My site (and all other sites on the free tier) were routing to a datacenter in Kansas City over IPv6, while paid sites went to Dallas over IPv6. Over IPv4, the results were even more varying. Free sites were going all the way to Ashburn, while paid sites went straight to Dallas. This was not the case a few months ago, when both free and paid sites all went to Dallas.

Example of a traceroute to cloudflare.com (paid site, of course):

  9    22 ms    21 ms    31 ms  66.109.5.121
 10    23 ms    19 ms    29 ms  ix-ae-52-0.tcore2.dt8-dallas.as6453.net [66.110.57.162]
 11    28 ms    15 ms    18 ms  if-ae-2-2.tcore1.dt8-dallas.as6453.net [66.110.56.5]
 12    19 ms    29 ms    19 ms  66.110.56.158
 13    26 ms    19 ms    18 ms  198.41.214.162

Trace complete.

Traceroute to thepigsmud.com (free site):

  9    20 ms    21 ms    29 ms  66.109.5.121
 10    28 ms    21 ms    17 ms  ix-ae-52-0.tcore2.dt8-dallas.as6453.net [66.110.57.162]
 11    48 ms    49 ms    49 ms  if-ae-2-2.tcore1.dt8-dallas.as6453.net [66.110.56.5]
 12    43 ms    50 ms    42 ms  if-ae-37-3.tcore1.aeq-ashburn.as6453.net [66.198.154.68]
 13    50 ms    52 ms    62 ms  if-ae-2-2.tcore2.aeq-ashburn.as6453.net [216.6.87.1]
 14    60 ms    47 ms    42 ms  216.6.87.221
 15    48 ms    59 ms    44 ms  104.27.149.205

Trace complete.

Now this is pretty strange, isn't it?

Going to /cdn-cgi/trace on free and paid sites confirmed my suspicion:

Free site on IPv6: colo=MCI

Free site on IPv4: colo=IAD

Paid site on IPv6: colo=DFW

Paid site on IPv4: colo=DFW

For some reason, routes using Cloudflare's free tier are going from Dallas to Ashburn, then to a Cloudflare IP, while paid tier sites are going directly to Dallas to a Cloudflare IP.

If you've experienced anything related to strange Cloudflare routing, please tell me in the comments - I'd be interested to see if it's only an isolated incident. Could this be because of Tata?