When you are in charge of a website, you must be aware of and prepare for potential threats or attacks. Have you ever visited a website and noticed this parameter ,”__cf_chl_jschl_tk__" , attached to your url? It is not the prettiest looking string is it? While it may be a long attachment to a URL, this does signal that your browser has passed an Olympic challenge.
So if you have ever asked yourself, “What is __cf_chl_jschl_tk__"?, take a few minutes to learn about this parameter when you read this concise article.
Since Cloudflare is a distributed reverse proxy, all web requests must pass through it in cleartext.
When “Under Attack Mode” is initiated, extra security checks are performed to stop Layer 7 DDoS attacks. This will block any suspicious traffic, check user browsers and initiate a challenge.
You will see “Checking your browser before accessing” on your screen for a few seconds. During this time, the proxy determines whether you will be allowed to continue on to the site or get blocked. When you see “ __cf_chl_jschl_tk__” , consider it a sign of relief since it means that your browser has passed the test and may continue on to the website.
However, website owners may not like an ugly URL, especially if they have taken the time to write clean redirects. At least they can rest assured that a site visitor will get a stamp of safety approval.
Think of a reverse proxy as a traffic cop for your web network. It acts as a gateway between site visitors and your origin server. After receiving a connection request, a reverse proxy connects the request to the origin server. Then the origin request gets forwarded. If certain challenges have been passed, you may see “ __cf_chl_jschl_tk__” attached at the end of the returned url.
A web challenge may involve an action a user has to do in order to prove you are human. Websites that are dealing with external DDOS threats use this as insurance against bots and further attacks. If you have ever had to use Captcha ( floating letters you must type into a box) or click on photos in response to a question, you have had to pass a web challenge. Clicking on five stop light photos might be annoying at first, but it is better for a website to be safe than sorry.
As mentioned earlier, ugly URLs can be the bane of a web owner's existence. Many site owners take the time to write clean redirects. However, if a website is under attack, certain procedures must be done to protect the website. If a user has passed a challenge from the reverse proxy, they will see “ __cf_chl_jschl_tk__" returned at the end of their URL. Luckily, if your site is no longer under attack, you can always turn off the Cloudflare Under Attack Mode. That way, users will no longer see the above parameter.