Imperva Incapsula and Cloudflare are two giant CDN providers. They both offer a free version respectively, which for sure attracts a lot of users. However, it can be confusing for the new users to pick one. Don’t worry, we are here to solve your confusion. Here is a detailed comparison of Imperva vs Cloudflare in terms of various actors. Pick the one that suits your requirements best!

What is Cloudflare?


Cloudflare is a popular cloud delivery network, serving a significant percentage of the internet, all around the world. Due to its free plan with standard features, most entry-level websites are using its services. Not only does it offer a wider content delivery network, but it also has some high-end security features to combat severe security threats. It enhances the performance of the website by caching the content of the website on its servers scattered all over the world. Therefore, whenever a user requests for content from a website, the nearest server will respond to the request, resulting in faster loading and better performing website.

‭‬‬‬‬‬What is Imperva? ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬


Imperva (formerly Inapsula) is a global CDN network, known for improving website’s performance while reducing the costs of bandwidth consumed by the website. It has numerous servers placed in the different geographical locations that perform intelligent caching, using cache control options, high-speed storage, and optimization tools. In 2014, Imperva FlexProtect acquired Imperva CDN. The integration was a success, which resulted in a combination of an efficient CDN and security solution. Imperva claims to improve the speed of your website by 50% and up to 70% reduction in the bandwidth consumption. In case you are not on a hosting plan that offers unlimited bandwidth, this can be the best solution for you. Imperva can make your site load faster, offer dynamic caching, and allows you to have control over caching.

When to choose Cloudflare?

cloudflare usage graph

Cloudflare offers a standard CDN with essential features for free, which makes it a suitable CDN services. Basic websites with standard content and average traffic can seek Cloudflare’s CDN services as its basic plan is unlimited and is available for free. However, it is not limited to serving basic websites only. Its business and enterprise plan offer some advanced features to enterprise-level websites. Therefore, when you need a CDN that can serve a diverse audience scattered across the world, Cloudflare can definitely live up to your expectations.

When to choose Imperva?

imperva usage graph

When you need a service that can make web hosting better, faster, and reliable for you, Imperva is the solution for. No, they are not a web hosting company, they just offer some services like load balancing, DDoS mitigation, website security, and a content delivery network that fulfills the purpose of reliable web hosting. Websites that need exceptional stability should choose Imperva as it’s integration with Imperva can offer some high-end security to the websites. Some of the well-known websites using Imperva are Zillow, Westwing, Wix, Moz, xoom, Siemens, etc. Here at Templatetoaster website builder you may read Sucuri vs Cloudflare, Fastly vs Cloudflare,  Stackpath vs Cloudflare, Cloudflare vs Cloudfront, Cloudflare vs Akamai.

Features of Cloudflare

Cloudflare offers a rich set of outstanding features. Some of its features are as given below:

  1. Global CDN covering a wider range: It offers a faster global CDN that accelerates the web and mobile experiences. More than 200 data centers distributed across 80 countries assure 100% uptime even in case of severe DDoS attacks.
  2. Load balancing for improved visitor experience: load balancing is provided to prevent poor visitor experiences caused due to unreliable or misconfigured servers.
  3. Content optimization: Cloudflare automatically removes unwanted content like unnecessary characters from HTML, JavaScript, CSS, etc to reduce the file size of source code on a website.
  4. High-end WAF service: Web Application Firewall is not only there to detect threats but it also block them. Moreover, their firewall rules can be updated automatically to keep you secure of potential web security threats.
  5. Rate Limiting: Control and block suspicious activity with rate limiting features. It lets you redefine thresholds or limits for requests sent by visitors, draft custom responses that are triggered when visitors click those thresholds and gain meaningful insights into traffic patterns.
  6. Security to DNS: DNSSEC protocol is used to secure your DNS by adding a security layer around it. This way it makes sure that the traffic is routed to the correct servers and not been intercepted by malicious users. In this way, it prevents phishing, data leakage, malware injections, etc.

Features of Imperva

Some of the important feature of Imperva CDN are:

  1. Dynamic file compression: Process of reducing the size of a file is known as compression. It sends a smaller file to the user from the server for faster delivery and optimized performance of the website.
  2. Progressive image rendering: Imperva offers progressive image rendering, which means for immediate loading, a low-quality image is loaded and the quality of the image improves as time progresses.
  3. Session reuse: Imperva offers the feature of session reuse, also known as keep-alive, which allows Imperva to maintain an open connection with your web server for short periods of time between sessions.
  4. Security: It identifies and blocks bots and allows genuine traffic only. It offers URL beautification to set up redirection that allows users to see a cleaner and simpler URL. Imperva offers HTTP/2 support and other security features including real-time traffic monitoring, DDoS attack protection, load management, web security, failover handling, etc. as a result, if there was any issue with your CDN, it is most likely solve it by itself, without letting your users realize anything wrong with it.

History of Cloudflare

History of Cloudflare is interesting as it’s creation was an accident. Matthew Prince was thinking how companies send spam emails to the users and he designed a system that can prevent scammers from harvesting off a website. So, Cloudflare was launched in 2009, as a security system. It was a reverse proxy, which somehow boosted the performance of the websites as well. That’s how this amazing CDN was created.

History of Imperva

Gur Shatz and Marc Gaffan founded Incapsula in 2009. The company originated from Imperva, an American-based cybersecurity firm that owned 85% of Incapsula. However, Incapula spun out of imperva in 2009 and lost around $1.7 million 2013. Therefore, in Feb 2014, Imperva bought Incapsula again and made it a product line within the parent (Imperva) company. Now Imperva Incapsula is offering integrated CDN and security services.

Imperva vs Cloudflare: The complete comparison (2020)

Imperva vs Cloudflare differences

Features Cloudflare Imperva
No. of PoPs >200 >28
Purge All Yes Yes
Instant Purge Yes Yes
Control Panel Yes Yes
Origin Push No No
Origin Pull Yes Yes
Origin Shield Paid Plans Only Yes
GZIP Compression Yes Yes
Custom Rules Yes Yes
HTTP/2 Protocol Yes Yes
SPDY Protocol Yes No
Raw Access Logs Paid plans only No
Real-time Statistics Paid plans only Yes
Online signup Yes Yes
API Purge, Stats, and Configuration Management Purge, Stats, and Configuration Management
Custom CNAMEs Paid plans only Yes
Shared SSL Certificates Yes Yes
Custom SSL Certificates Paid plans only Paid plans only
Support Email (paid plans only)
  • Email 8 AM-5 PM (Pro and Business)
  • Phone and Email 24×7 (enterprise)
CDN Balancing tech No No

Advantages of Cloudflare

Advantages of Cloudflare CDN are:

  1. Basic plan offered by Cloudflae is available for free and is easy to set up.
  2. Cloudflare hides your IP address which makes it difficult for the attacker to capture your origin server and attack it.
  3. It monitors your website for bot and blocks the crawling bots. It allows only genuine human traffic on your website. As it blocks unnecessary traffic, it also improves the speed of your website.
  4. Cloudflare is known to offer high end security against severe DDoS attacks. It has a history of absorbing a severe DDoS attack with 400GB at its peak.
  5. With its free plan, it offers a free SSL certificate.
  6. Cloudflare will serve the cached files to your users even when your site is down, resulting in 100% uptime guarantee.

Advantages of Imperva

Some of the advantages of Imperva CDN are:

  1. It claims to improve the speed of your website by 50% and reduce the bandwidth consumption by 70%.
  2. It incorporates latest technologies like machine learning, which allows the network to learn and improve itself. Conversely, it offers dynamic caching that changes over time.
  3. It allows you to have control over the modes of caching like disable caching, static caching only, static and dynamic caching, and dynamic caching only.
  4. Resource optimization, using technologies like dynamic file compression, image compression, progressive image rendering, etc, for performance boost and to improve users’ experiences.
  5. Imperva offers various high-end features like TCP connection pre-pooling, session reuse, code minification, etc to boost the speed of your website.

Disadvantages of Cloudflare

Disadvantages of Cloudflare CDN are:

  1. In the worst case scenario, if Cloudflare ever goes down, your website will also drop down as Cloudflare acts as a middleman.
  2. Cloudflare is only worth if you have a diverse user base from different geographical locations.
  3. There is a possibility that Cloudflare can also block some genuine traffic as well.
  4. Custom SSL certificates are available with paid plans only.
  5. Cloudflare needs to improve its technical support as it can take hours or even days to respond.
  6. Cloudflare doesn’t offer any customer support to the free plan users. You need to get a paid plan to seek customer support.
  7. Manual security, which means you have to click on the ‘I am under attack’ button to enable DDoS protections.

Disadvantages of Imperva

Some of the disadvantages of Imperva are:

  1. No security features are offered with the free plan.
  2. Limited numbers of the data centers around the world as compared to Cloudflare.
  3. No purging option offered to the free plan users which you get with Cloudflare’s free plan.

Cloudflare Pricing

Cloudflare offers a free version, which offers unmetered bandwidth and can be used as long as a user wants to. It also offers three paid plans: Pro, Business, and Enterprise plans for $20, $200, and custom-prized, respectively. The cost for all three plans are as given Following:

cloudflare pricing

Imperva pricing:

Similar to Cloudflare, Imperva also offers a free unlimited version but with less features. And, just like Cloudflare, Imperva also offers Pro, Business, and Enterprise plans. Pro is available for $59 for a month and business is available for $299 a month. However, to know enterprise-level plan pricing, users need to get a quote from their sales team.

Imperva vs Cloudflare: Which is Better?

Although Imperva also offers a free version, it still lacks some of the key features. Imperva’s free version provides unmetered bandwidth and website optimization features. It doesn’t put any major restrictions, which may force clients to upgrade. However, there are some issues like it doesn’t offer any SSL support or purging option to send cache of individual URLs on demand, which users will get with Cloudflare’s free version. Also, Cloudflare doesn’t offer any customer support to free-plan users, however, they do have a wide and responsive community forum, which means they might won’t even need customer support.

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