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Cloudflare Error 1020: What is it and How to Avoid it?

If you have ever encountered the “Error 1020 Access Denied” message when trying to access a website, you’re not alone. This frustrating error is displayed when Cloudflare, a popular CDN and DDoS protection service, has blocked access to the site you were trying to reach.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about Cloudflare error 1020, including:

  • What is Cloudflare and how does it work?
  • What causes Error 1020 Access Denied?
  • How to fix and avoid Error 1020 when web scraping
  • Best practices for scraping Cloudflare sites without getting blocked

What is Cloudflare and How Does it Work?

Cloudflare is a content delivery network (CDN) and DDoS protection service used by millions of websites. It acts as a reverse proxy, sitting between visitors and the origin web server.

When you try to access a Cloudflare-protected site, your requests first pass through Cloudflare‘s global network of data centers before reaching the origin server. This provides several benefits:

  • Faster performance – Content is cached locally at the edge, closer to visitors
  • DDoS protection – Cloudflare absorbs and mitigates DDoS attacks
  • Web application firewall – Filters malicious bots and scrappers abusing sites
  • Enhanced security – Hides the origin IP address and adds SSL

This architecture also allows Cloudflare to analyze every request to websites under its protection. If your browsing behavior looks suspicious or potentially malicious, Cloudflare can challenge or block you – resulting in the dreaded Error 1020 message.

What Causes Cloudflare Error 1020 Access Denied?

There are several potential triggers that could cause Cloudflare to blacklist your IP and display the Error 1020 access denied message:

  • Web scraping – Scraping data too aggressively can appear like an attack.
  • DDoS attack – If your IP has been used in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in the past.
  • Spam or abuse complaints – Cloudflare may preemptively block IPs with a history of spam or abuse complaints.
  • VPN/Proxy – IPs associated with VPNs and proxies are higher risk.
  • Bot detection – Browser fingerprints that don‘t match normal human behavior.
  • Geographic location – High risk countries more prone to malicious traffic.

In most cases, Error 1020 is due to web scraping activity that violates Cloudflare‘s policies. They enforce a "no scraping" stance and have advanced bot detection capabilities. Even if you aren‘t intentionally doing anything malicious, scraping too aggressively can appear like an attack.

How to Fix and Avoid Error 1020 When Web Scraping

If you encounter the Error 1020 access denied message, don‘t panic. Here are some tips to resolve and prevent further blocking when web scraping Cloudflare sites:

1. Use Cloudflare‘s Visibilility Challenge

If Cloudflare suspects you might be a bot, it may present a Visibility Challenge (CAPTCHA) to confirm you are human. Solving the challenge prompts Cloudflare to allow access again.

However, most bots and scrapers won‘t be able to pass a CAPTCHA. So this only works if you are manually surfing the web, not running an automated scraping script.

2. Try Again Later From a Different IP

Cloudflare does not blacklist IPs permanently in most cases. Try rotating your IP or waiting 48-72 hours before accessing the site again. Rebooting your router can force your ISP to refresh your IP address. Using a proxy service or VPN will also assign you a new IP.

3. Use a Proxy Rotation Service

Specialized proxy rotation services like Brightdata, GeoSurf, or Storm Proxies provide thousands of IP addresses. Automatically rotating through these IPs is an effective way to evade IP based blocks.

Be wary of cheap residential proxy providers. Their poor performing IPs often have malicious histories that will be immediately blocked by Cloudflare. For web scraping, you need premium datacenter-grade IPs with high success rates.

4. Randomize User Agents and Interval Between Requests

Varying your user agents and time between requests makes scraping patterns less predictable. However, Cloudflare employs sophisticated browser fingerprinting and behavior analysis, so this isn‘t a complete fix. Proceed with caution when scraping aggressively.

5. Use Captcha Solving Services

Third party CAPTCHA solving services employ human teams that can pass CAPTCHA challenges to lift blocks. This allows you to scrape through blocks as they occur. Just pass the challenge to the service API and scrape from that IP while it remains unblocked.

However, this incurs additional costs and slows down scraping. It‘s better to avoid blocks altogether through proper proxy rotation.

6. Cloudflare Web Scraping API

For business purposes, Cloudflare offers a web scraping API that grants access through their security. But this is an enterprise solution with large minimum commitments, so not practical for most.

Best Practices for Scraping Cloudflare Sites Without Getting Blocked

Here are some best practices to help avoid triggering Cloudflare‘s defenses when scraping:

  • Use clean, dedicated IPs – Rotate virgin proxy IPs without malicious history to minimize blocks.
  • Limit requests – Scarpe at reasonable speeds of 1-2 requests per second per proxy. Avoid blasting requests.
  • Throttle delays – Program random delays between queries to stagger scraping and appear more human.
  • Mimic organic browsing – Access additional pages, scrape embedded media, and vary clicking patterns. Don‘t just hit one page and quit.
  • Distribute requests – Spread scraping across multiple proxies/IPs simultaneously to distribute load.
  • Automate CAPTCHA solving – Have a plan to quickly solve CAPTCHAs and remain unblocked.
  • Monitor IP reputation – Frequently check your IPs for new threat listings or malicious activity.

With the right tools, techniques, and cautious operation – you can successfully scrape Cloudflare websites at scale without getting flagged or blocked. Just remember to respect site policies, limit load, and scrape responsibly.


In summary, Cloudflare error 1020 results from triggering their advanced bot, spam, and DDoS defenses. The "access denied" blocks can be circumvented and avoided by:

  • Using premium rotating proxies and scrapping judiciously
  • Solving CAPTCHAs and varying user patterns
  • Employing Crawl delays and distributing requests across clean IPs

While Cloudflare aims to stop malicious bots, even well-intentioned scrapers can appear suspicious. By understanding their systems and scraping best practices, you can maintain access to harvest valuable public data. Just be sure to consult any site‘s policies first and scrape ethically.

With patience, persistence and the right proxy tools – you can scrape smoothly and avoid the dreaded Error 1020 blocking web scrapers entirely.

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