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Le Monde is one of the French newspapers of record and the most trusted newspaper in France. It was also one of the first French papers to establish an online edition. In 2023, lemonde.fr served 20 million pages a day, reaching an audience of more than 500,000 subscribers. With a combination of free and paywalled content, lemonde.fr attracts around 186 million visits per month.

Industry: Streaming Media, Digital Publishing
Location: EMEA
Customer since: 2022

Favorite features
Fastly CDN
Bot Management
Next-Gen WAF

Le Monde blocks attacks, improves TTFB with Fastly

The Challenge

Year after year, more readers choose to get their news online—over the last 10 years, 520,000 subscribers consistently opt to read web editions rather than printed versions of their preferred newspapers. For Le Monde, one of the leading newspapers in France, the embrace of digital publishing created opportunities to bring in new readers, but it also created new challenges. The competitive, fast-paced news landscape requires Le Monde to maintain an excellent user experience no matter the circumstances. Readers don’t care about cyberattacks, origin outages, and traffic spikes—they care about the news, and they want it on their own timeframe.

The Solution

Le Monde turned to Fastly to get the security, flexibility, and performance necessary to deliver content instantly. The company implemented multiple Fastly solutions for game-changing results.

Fastly’s Next-Gen WAF and Bot Management provide ongoing protection

Reporting on global conflicts attracts cyberattacks: the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Gaza crisis meant that Le Monde saw a big jump in cyberattacks in 2023. With the 2024 Olympics coming up in Paris, it expects to see even more. “Investing a lot in cybersecurity is hard for a news company, so Fastly WAF and SOC are almost replacing a security team for us,” said Paul Laleu, Deputy CTO of Le Monde.

The ease of implementation with Fastly’s Next-Gen WAF proved critical “We were under attack when we put it into production,” said Paul, CTO of Le Monde, “so we had to find a response very fast. Fastly helped us do that.” The Next-Gen WAF was deployed in production in a matter of days. Paul named the prepackaged rules as a favorite feature that enabled them to configure the WAF quickly.

Like many publishers and organisations across other industries, Le Monde suffers from large volumes of automated traffic making it hard to distinguish between good and bad actors. Fastly's new Bot Management solution provides granular visibility and rule setting capability to let the good traffic in and keep the bad traffic out, which will help them protect their content and reduce infrastructure costs.

Fastly Compute and VCL enable custom configurations

Le Monde prefers to send most traffic through the origin, but when the origin is down it counts on cache for seamless delivery to users. Fastly's VCL (Varnish Configuration Language) allowed Le Monde to develop a custom solution to serve cache only when needed. “The ability to write your own VCL is one of the best Fastly features,” said Paul. Le Monde also relies on Fastly Compute to run custom code and add new capabilities at the edge, like decoding and authentication. “Fastly is enhancing what you can actually do with a CDN,” Paul said.

Fastly performance accelerates time-to-first-byte

Time-to-first-byte (TTFB) is a bottom-line metric for online news, either driving user satisfaction or driving users away. And TTFB is the only available metric in real-world usage data that can be directly attributed to the CDN. Fortunately, TTFB is one of the places Fastly really shines compared to competitors.” It’s quite impressive how Fastly has been able to change our time-to-first-byte,” Paul said. “It’s less than 100 milliseconds—better than google.com.”

Key takeaway

Fastly met Le Monde's needs as a robust cybersecurity partner, a highly configurable CDN, and a TTFB accelerator. In the competitive digital news market, the security, flexibility, and high performance it gets from Fastly helps Le Monde remain a leader in the race for readers.

“Fastly's new Bot Management solution provides granular visibility and rule setting capability to let the good traffic in and keep the bad traffic out, which will help us protect our content and reduce infrastructure costs.”

Paul Laleu
CTO of Le Monde

“One of the main reasons we chose Fastly was performance, and it succeeded.”

Paul Laleu
CTO of Le Monde

“We are looking to do a lot more with Fastly’s Next-Gen WAF in the future. It’s our main choice for our security provider.”

Paul Laleu
CTO of Le Monde

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