I recently bought a new domain and wanted to host a couple new static pages on it. I decided to do this using some new-to-me tools as a learning exercise. This post is about a couple things I learned along the way to hosting Michael On Random with Cloudflare CDN and Backblaze B2.

Currently, this blog, Coding in the Trenches, is hosted on AWS using a combination of AWS S3 and CloudFront CDN. Both being AWS services that are mature and well integrated, static site hosting is reasonably well documented and supported with out of the box defaults. I wanted to intentionally try something different for a new site, eventually landing on a combination of Backblaze B2 and Cluudflare CDN.

Some important reasons for why,

  • B2 provides egress to Cloudflare CDN free of charge
  • Cloudflare CDN is free For hobby / personal projects. For all intents and purposes, there is no uptime SLA but that’s okay for this particular personal site.
  • I wanted give myself a reason to play around with Cloudflare’s tools given their prevalence.

My starting point for how to make this integration work was Backblaze’s integration guide. If you want to implement, I recommend giving the guide a thorough read. Critical highlights that are worth copying here are,

  • Backblaze B2 uses shared domains for hosting different public bucket content. Buckets are segregated by URI path prefixes of the form /file/{bucket name}.
  • Backblaze B2 does not automatically route a request for a folder to an index file. For example, a request for /file/my-bucket/some-folder will return 404 if that exact name does not exist instead of returning the contents of /file/my-bucket/some-folder/index.html. This makes sense given that B2 is an object store, but means that static website hosting requires a workaround.
  • For both of the above, B2’s integration guide recommends using a Cloudflare CDN feature called ‘Page Rules’.

After creating my site in Cloudflare though, I found that while Page Rule documentation still exists, it’s a deprecated feature.. Instead, transform rules and redirects serve a similar purpose to direct traffic from Cloudflare’s edge to the Backblaze B2 bucket. In order to solve for the critical items above we need the following,

  • Two transform rules per B2 bucket that perform URL rewriting. The rules rewrite URI paths for directories and direct links to files separately and, importantly, transparently to clients.
  • Appropriate DNS settings for hosting a domain

With those two settings set, content should be loaded from the B2 buckets to Cloudflare and then served to end users. Since pictures help explain better than words, here are some screenshots from my own site’s transform rule configuration,

  • For directories:

A rewrite transform filter for paths ending in '/'
The matching rewrite rule for directories

  • For files and assets:

A rewrite transform filter for paths not ending in '/'
The matching rewrite rule for assets

I hope this helps folks in the future!