9 Best CDN Services List (2020)
Want your website to load faster? While you can adopt various solutions, CDN remains the most effective and vital solution when it comes to speed up a website. This article is aimed at offering you with some insightful facts about CDN services. Have a look at the CDN services list to understand which one will suit your better.
You keep seeing an acronym- CDN. Sometimes, in URLs or on the landing pages, but it never really clicked. So, what exactly is a CDN or Content Delivery Network? What exactly they do? In this article I am going to explain the concept of CDN and why we need it.
What is a CDN?
A highly distributed platform of servers to minimize delays in loading content of web pages by reducing the physical distance between the server and user is the Content Delivery Network. It helps in maintaining the same high-quality content to users around the world without any delay. They are designed to resolve the issue of ‘latency’ that is unwanted delays in the loading of the content on the screen. In other words, a bunch of servers is positioned in different geographical areas between the origin server and the user’s location with the primary purpose of faster delivery of the content, simultaneously reducing latency.
Without a CDN, every single user’s request will go directly to the origin server. As a result, the origin server will have to respond to every request, resulting in significant traffic and subsequent load. Hence, chances of traffic spikes and server failure are higher, if the load is persistent. However, by positioning a CDN to respond to the user’s requests between the user’s location and origin server, traffic can be offloaded from the origin server. It reduces the latency and increases the web experience. Here at TemplateToaster, we often talk about ways to optimize a website. Let’s dig deeper.
How CDN works?
The primary goal of CDN is to reduce the latency. To understand the concept, let’s take an example. Suppose, a US visitor wishes to view content that originates at a UK-based server. It means the content has to travel all the way through the Atlantic. No wonder the request will be responded to as poor because of the physical distance.
Each request from the user will map the end-user on an optimally-located CDN server for most CDNs. after that, the server will respond with the cached version (pre-fetched) of the requested content. However, if it fails to retrieve the requested file, it will proceed to look for the requested data on the other servers in the CDN platform and send the response to the end-user.
Also, when the content is unavailable or stale, CDN acts as a request proxy to the origin server and fetch the latest content for future requests. Although web content delivery is the primary use case of CDN, it’s not limited to that only. It can fetch and serve a wide array of content including video streaming, audio streaming, data files, software download files, OS updates, etc. As long as the data can be digitized, it can be delivered through CDN.
Why CDN is needed?
If you want to increase the speed of your website with lowered latency, CDN is your solution. They ensure faster, safer, and most efficient content delivery to users around the world. Moreover, it is not limited to website content delivery only. It can also deliver 4K and HD-quality video, download files for applications, audio files, and OS updates. Website visitor attention is growing shorter with each passing day, which makes it imperative to deliver the content as quickly as possible.
Identically, the internet is responsible for globalization. More businesses are going online, and the world is coming together on the internet to connect, share, and shop. Meanwhile, it is becoming challenging for content providers to deliver different types of content on different devices, across different locations, securely. However, it possesses some inherent capabilities of content delivery that can offer efficient solutions to the businesses to the aforementioned challenges.
CDNs have been serving for more than 20 years now and are acting as the unseen backbone for the internet. It is overcoming the challenges of media delivery in diverse fields including finance, healthcare, retail, and other businesses. If you’ve ever done anything online, you’ve benefited from a CDN without even knowing it. The Internet wasn’t designed to do all the wonderful things it is doing now. Therefore, to keep the experience smooth and flawless, CDN is much needed. After implementing this service, you can also check the speed of your site using Google Page Speed. Moreover, other than Google Page Speed, there are ample other website speed test tools available.
What are the benefits of CDN?
CDN is specifically built to keep the internet amazing. Today, a massive amount of data is handled on the internet on a regular basis. Then, there are also flash sales, live video streaming, large downloads, etc are held on the internet. It is all possible because CDN is supporting it. In specific terms, some of the major benefits CDN offers to a business are:
CDN offers high availability. It means the data will be accessible to the end-users even under stressful situations like intermittent spikes, excessive user traffic, or potential server outages. Under high-stress situations, even the most powerful origin servers give up. In the absence of CDN, the origin server would have to endure all the requests, resulting in a terrible web experience and potential business loss. This is the reason it adds immense value to the online infrastructure of an online business. Because the concept of multiple server locations distributes the load and offers a great web experience, which ultimately will affect your SEO ranking positively.
Bonus Read: Read how you can troubleshoot service unavailability errors when you don’t have CDN services.
When a user generates a request, it is crucial for businesses to deliver as quickly as possible because a mere delay of milliseconds can make your user abandon your website. CDN keeps the data cached and responds quickly to requests by eliminating the need for the request to go all the way to the origin server. Even if the requested data is not pre-cached, it still is able to traverse through its companion CDN servers to look for the appropriate response to the request using its programmed knowledge of interconnections between companion peers.
Therefore, it is helpful in overcoming the challenge of peering between multiple ISPs, time consumption due to DNS resolution, and data packet loss due to network outages. It makes CDN capable of fast content delivery, quality web experience delivery regardless of the user’s location and device configuration, fast webpage rendering, more engagement, and excellent performance of a website.
Bonus Read: Some alternates to boost up the speed of your website without CDN.
Best CDN Services list in 2020
8. Amazon Cloudfront
9. CacheFly CDN
CDN Services (Review)
1. StackPath – CDN service
StackPath entered the marketplace just 5 years back, in 2015 and is one of the fastest-growing entrants. It acquired some of the firm internet players like MaxCDN, Encrypt.me, Highwinds, Staminus, and Fireblade, to dominate the CDN industry. The effective acquisition covered established names in security, CDN, and VPN to bring existing customers across. Indubitably, their strategy worked and in 2018, it reached an annual revenue growth of $200 million. However, their business integration is still progressing by they seem to deliver fine services so far.
In terms of pricing, their most basic plan starts at $10 a month. They offer a flat pricing structure with a determined feature list. The three main plans they offer are: ‘Pro’, ‘Business’, and ‘Enterprise’ at ‘$20’, ‘$200’, and ‘$2000’ a month respectively.
How to set up Stackpath?
Unfortunately, StackPath still needs to work on user-friendliness. It just requires some work from the initial setup to general usage. They offer a functional but typical solution. For instance, with WAF set up part, settings have no tooltips or help. People with a technical background might be able to do it quite easily. However, mistakes can lead to unwanted blockage of some legitimate web traffic.
- Allows you to use on unlimited websites without constraints
- Offers additional security services
- Get a free private EdgeSSL certificate
- Up to 1TB bandwidth a month with the basic plan
- No free plan
- No compression feature available
When to use Stackpath
StackPath is known to offer great money value with its exceptional security solutions. With MaxCDN acquisition, it offers great integration opportunities, which certainly is tempting to users. When you have a website that requires exceptional security features to combat security threats, StackPath is the solution for you. Some of the notable clients of StackPath are Yoast.com, WPBeginner, WPEngine, WPLift, 9gag, The Next Web, BuySellAds, InstantShift.com, and the list goes on. We are also using their services.
- WAF: Web Application Firewall is competent enough to protect against severe web security threats.
- DDoS Protection: It protects from unwanted traffic with the objective of taking your site down. It offers security on both the network and application layer. Moreover, added security features allow you to view and manage bots, people, locations, and access granted by you to your assets and your control panel.
- Performance Enhancement: Website acceleration through CDN is the primary aim of StackPath. Moreover, StackPath can send 32 packets on a new connection after the first GER request, which is higher than any other CDN service, ensures a great performance.
- EdgeRules: Free and customizable EdgeRules to allow you instant control over SEO, asset delivery, mobile experience, security measures, etc.
- Compression: A lot of CDN services offer the capability of content compression, which can reduce the size of files by 10%, making them load faster. StackPath lacks this capability. However, 10% might not make any big difference but considering that StackPath derives a significant percentage of global web traffic, it can have a severe impact.
- Non-customizable log timezones: You can’t customize the logs as they are set UTC timezone by default.
- IPV6 Support: Unfortunately, StackPath only supports IPV4. Perhaps it is not affecting seriously as only 18% of the internet traffic is IPV6. However, it can be a serious problem in the future.
2. Sucuri – Best CDN services
Sucuri has gained immense popularity recently due to its exceptional capability of protecting your website against hacker attacks, malware, and DDoS attacks. It allows you to use their plugin to track and scan your website for any security threat. They offer the best possible hardware and technologies to enhance performance. Moreover, they also offer multiple caching options for different types of websites.
Sucuri plans start at $199 a year for a single website. It offers you a basic malware scanner, advanced DDoS mitigation, WAF, customer support, 30-day refund guarantee, CDN services Virtual patching, and security hardening. Other packages are Pro and business, available for 4299 a year and $499 a year, respectively.
How to Set up Sucuri CDN services?
When it comes to set up, there’s actually no installation required of their firewall. It offers an intuitive dashboard with easy to comprehend options. You can enable or disable features using the dashboard. All you need to do is log into your account and scroll through the Sucuri dashboard to enable or disable features accordingly.
- Reliable site uptime
- Efficient DNS monitoring
- Unlimited bandwidth capacity
- Efficient customer support team
- Expensive as compared to other CDN services
- No free version or trial is available
When to use
When you want a CDN that can offer simpler and affordable services, then you should go for Sucuri. They have been serving the industry for several years now, and are experienced in cybersecurity. When you need impeccable security solutions and CDN services, then Sucuri is the best suitable company for you. Moreover, Sucuri is the best fit when you need a security solution and CDN services at affordable pricing.
- Intuitive Dashboard: Sucuri’s dashboard gives you a measure of how secure your site is. It will show you each and every activity happening on your site. It keeps scanning your files for malware or unknown files and keeps a list for all of them.
- Malware Scan: It runs scans on your site at fixed time intervals for any malicious activity. It also checks if your site ended up in the spam list of any of the search engines like Google, AVG, Norton, Phishtank, etc. You can manually set the time interval for every three, twelve, or 24-hours. Even if you don’t set any schedule, it will still scan twice a day.
- Security Hardening: It turns off the execution of PHP files inside your upload directory to break certain plugins. It keeps a check on the plugins and software versions you are using and notifies you when a new version is available to keep it secure. There are a lot more security hardening components Sucuri offers.
- Monitoring: Sucuri offers efficient monitoring like DNS monitoring, SSL certificate monitoring, and uptime monitoring. It can also scan for malware, SEO spam, hacking attempts, and blacklist status to keep a check on the health of your site from the inside out.
- WAF Protection: WAF (web application firewall) offered by sucuri is its main feature. Their high-quality WAF catches the bad traffic even before it reaches your site. It can combat DDoS attacks, maintain your normal website traffic levels, search engine rankings, uptime, and the integrity of your hosting account.
- CDN Integration is Needed: Although Sucuri mostly offers security solutions, CDN features are limited. Their location coverage is relatively less, therefore sometimes you may need to integrate with a third-party CDN service.
- Pricing: Sometimes, pricing can be expensive for a small or entry-level business. Furthermore, to get a custom SSL certificate, clients are required to upgrade to a professional or business plan which is way expensive then their basic plan.
Cloudflare is a reverse proxy combined with a content delivery network to offer extraordinary security and performance. It is easy to set up with an intuitive setup wizard. They also offer rich documentation that can help first time users with setting up and operating. With more than 200 data centres, it offers a great web experience all around the world. It basically is a reverse proxy that was originally designed to stop scammers from harvesting emails off a website. However, it also enhanced the performance, which was not intended. Therefore, people started using it as a CDN integrated with security features. Moreover, it also offers a free plan to its users with unlimited and unmetered bandwidth capacity.
The Cloudflare plans start at $0.00. Other than the Free plan, they also offer ‘Pro’ and ‘Business’ plans at ‘$20’ and ‘$200’, respectively. These three plans are available at flat pricing. However, there is also an ‘Enterprise’ plan available to offer advanced security and CDN services on the enterprise level. Pricing of this service follows a pay-as-you-go model and you need to request a quote.
How to set up Cloudflare?
Setup is quite simple, all you need to do is go on their official website and sign up by typing your email and password. You will see a wizard there, fill in the required information like a website domain and it will automatically fetch the other required information. In case it is not able to fetch the information automatically, you can also manually input the information. In conclusion, the set up of Cloudflare is pretty intuitive and the guides provided are easy to understand. Here at Templatetoaster website builder, you may read Sucuri vs Cloudflare, Fastly vs Cloudflare, Imperva vs Cloudflare, Stackpath vs Cloudflare, Cloudflare vs Cloudfront, Cloudflare vs Akamai.
- Extraordinary site speed
- Robust free offering best suited for individual sites and blogging
- Easy to install and operate
- Easy site migration between different hosting services
- Wide location coverage with over 200 data centres
- Argo smart routing
- DNSSEC, WAF, SSL/TLS, and DNS for extraordinary security
- No customer support for the free version
- DNS configuration is complex
- Report dashboard lacks robustness
When to use
The flexible features and plans of Cloudflare makes it viable for any kind of website, regardless of its size and industry type. If you are a first time user and want to explore CDN services, you should go for Cloudflare. It offers an unlimited free plan with unmetered bandwidth capacity. If you are a well-established enterprise, you can still go for Cloudflare as they customize plans according to your requirements. Some of the notable customers of Cloudflare are Embed.ly, FounderLY, StackOverflow, CodeGuard, APNIC.net, Montecito Bank and the list goes on.
- Unmetered and unlimited free version: Cloudflare CDN plans start at $0.00, i.e. for free. Users can keep using it as long as they want to or feel it is useful to them without any commitment or initial payment.
- Reduced bandwidth costs: The main reason any website needs to seek CDN services is bandwidth consumption. Cloudflare can help reduce the amount of data an origin server must provide through caching and optimization.
- Extraordinary protection against DDoS: Cloudflare has proven its capacity to absorb severe DDoS attacks on sites in the past. It offers extraordinary security against data breaches, DDoS attacks, malicious bots, and other web security threats.
- Increased site availability: With several servers serving the requests of your website, it is practically impossible for your website to experience downtime. Cloudflare ensures 100% uptime.
- Positive impact on the site’s SEO ranking: Speed is a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. It means if you are offering a high-speed website, it’ll help you rank higher on the search engine.
- Security options in the free version: The free version lacks security options. Cloudflare is popular for its exceptional security measure but you can have access to the security features only if you pay for it.
- Stats and analytics: Cloudflare offers limited stats and analytics options, that too, are available with paid plans only.
Founded in 1998, Akamai is the largest CDN service across the world. They offer a wide and comprehensive coverage with the highest number of PoPs presence. It sure has some internet giants as customers, which is responsible for bringing about 15-30% of all web traffic. It still comes with some caveats in terms of pricing or features, regardless of their dense PoPs presence. Akamai is known for its exceptionally vast CDN services which are present literally everywhere. They have more than 216,000 servers in over 120 countries and with more than 1,500 networks around the world. Akamai is also known for reselling some of its CDN services to other services, for instance, Microsoft Azure.
Akamai creates a custom plan for every customer. Therefore, you are not going to find a pricing list on their site. To know their pricing structure and other information, you need to contact their sales team.
When it comes to set up, there is a bump. Akamai is aimed at enterprise users who typically are able to employ their own team of developers. First-time users are going to find it complex to set up and UI can definitely be updated to make it more accessible to users with a non-technical background. Therefore, it is safe to say that it is not for beginners.
- Thousands of edge servers ensure faster content delivery.
- Remarkable customer support
- Remarkable uptime
- Dramatic enhancement can be experienced in the website’s performance
- Non-intuitive configuration UI
- Expensive services
- In some scenarios, activations take time
When to use
Akamai is popular for its exceptional quality service. Their 216,000 servers in over 120 countries and with more than 1,500 networks around the world, form one of the largest CDN services. Therefore, if you have a big website and a large budget to spare for CDN service and you have a need for extraordinary features for diverse traffic from all over the world, then you should go for Akamai. Some of the notable brands seeking Akamai’s CDN services are Facebook, IBM, Adobe, NBA, New York Post, etc.
- Excellent customer support: Akamai’s customer support is 24/7 available to its clients. They use multiple communication channels like Phone, email, end-user FAQs, etc to serve their customers and potential customers as well. Their customer assistance is quite appreciable.
- Route/connection optimization: Akamai is designed to search for the closest available server with the site’s content on it, automatically. It makes the fetching procedure more reliable and faster.
- DSA (Dynamic Site Accelerator): The built-in DSA will result in a 5X faster boost up of the website for higher performance.
- SLA (Service Level Agreement): Quality service is the main reason behind Akamai’s massive growth. SLAs are there to ensure their consistent quality service.
- Caching/Pre-fetching: Items are constantly being fetched on to the server to offer the fastest possible download speed. And it also offers the feature of pre-fetching, which stores the files in high demand to share it across many data centres to ensure faster download speeds.
- Expensive: Akamai doesn’t display its pricing publicly on its official website. However, it is said to be on the expensive side.
- Complex set up: It offers some of the exceptional features to the enterprise-level companies which are complex to set up. Basically, it lacks user-friendliness.
Fastly is a San Francisco based versatile CDN service. It was founded in 2011 and offers the proxy model, similar to Cloudflare. It has a rather quality placement of PoPs across the world. In simple words, they have fewer data centres but cover a large number of regions with their strategic placement of the servers. What separates Fastly from other CDN services is its capability of configurable support for video caching. It can deliver various HTTP based media streaming protocols including HLS, HDS, HSS, MPEG-DASH, etc. They claim to offer real-time analytics and caching services which makes it a dynamic CDN service.
Fastly charges you a minimum of $50 a month for their services. You get some limited bandwidth within that fixed amount, once you cross that limit, you are charged on a pay-per-use basis. It makes their pricing both flat and pay-per-use. The good thing is you will be charged based on service consumption, however, if you have an entry-level website and not even utilizing their basic plan, you still have to pay $50 every month.
At the quickest, you are required to fill in your service name, add server address, and domain name, and you are done. Several more steps on your hosting account and it is all set. However, there are some features that need some complex steps to start working. Considering that they offer some detailed guides which, to be honest, can be overwhelming for beginners. But, fiddling around will get you running, just be careful while implementing the actual service.
- Above-average speed
- Excellent purging capabilities
- Real-time caching
- Hugely configurable
- Minimum fees of $50 a month
- Robust features make it complex to install.
When to use
Fastly is mostly favoured by websites with dynamic content delivery requirements. Considering the advanced features it offers like instant purging and real-time caching, it is suitable for advanced content and moderate traffic from all over the world. If you offer dynamic content to your users on a regular basis, Fastly is the right solution for you. Some of the most notable brands seeking Fastly CDN services are Imgur, Wired, Dollar Shave Club, Buzzfeed, GitHub, etc.
- Fast storefront delivery: If you have an eCommerce website then Fastly will be best suitable for you as it can deliver personalized content like shopping cart content, recently viewed products, logic messages, etc faster than any other CDN service.
- Instant purging: Fastly is capable of offering instant and automatic purge that can invalidate objects, resulting in accurate information distribution across the multi-channel platform.
- Traffic spikes protection: it uses the reverse proxy model that is capable of absorbing high traffic requests and guaranteeing 100% uptime, even if your origin server is down.
- Easy to install: Fastly offers a free and open-source plugin that can be installed easily, in less than a few minutes.
- Easy to use: It offers easy to use features. For instance, purge requests can be triggered via an API call, without even having to log in.
Missing Features of CDN services
- Flexible pricing: It is partially based on pay-as-you-go, which means you have to pay $50 a month, even if you are not using $50 worth of service.
- Difficult set up: Undoubtedly they offer a great set up experience however, first-time users may find it a little complex. But that’s because there are just so many robust features.
CDN Services in the chart (2020)
|CDN services||Min. Pricing||Setup||Unique Feature||Missing Features||Notable Customers|
|Akamai||Not available||Complex||Widest location coverage||Expensive||
|Sucuri||$199 a year||Easy||Impeccable security solution||CDN integration required||
|Fastly||$50||Average||Real-time Caching||Less location coverage||
|Cloudflare||$0.00||Easy||Exceptional Security||Customer support for the free plan||
Bonus CDN services
KeyCDN is another CDN service available in the market that offers feature-loaded CDN at affordable prices. They are known for using 100% SSD-optimized servers for low latency while all their PoPs are placed in premium SSAE 16- compliant data centres including Softlayer, Equinix, Digital Realty, and Coresite. Moreover, they offer an intuitive dashboard for ease of use. Other additional features are HTTP/2 for faster content distribution, GZip compression for faster data accessibility, real-time reporting, exclusive DDoS protection, etc.
- Easy integration with the site
- Pay-per-use pricing model
- 24/7 exclusive customer support
- No free plan offered
- Comparatively limited security features
Price: $0.04 per GB (pay-as-you-go model).
With RAID-10 SSD, Rackspace offers solid uptime and advanced security features. This advanced backup technology and unique protocol allow them to automatically move and adjust in case of a potential threat. It results in 99.99% uptime, i.e., absolutely zero downtime while increasing security and reliability. This dedicated cloud CDN service is also capable of offering exceptional performance-boosting to eCommerce websites, web applications, and other sites. It has more than 200 data centres around the world that cover a wide geographical area. The only disadvantage is that it can be a bit complex to operate as compared to other CDN services.
- Exceptional infrastructure
- Around 200 data centres around the world
- Flexible pricing model
- Lacks security measures against DDoS attacks
- Expensive CDN services
Price of CDN service: $0.16 per GB (pay-as-you-go model).
8. Amazon CloudFront
With Amazon CloudFront, you get integrated Amazon Web services, content delivery, APIs, and Applications- with higher web speed and lower latency. With around 77 edge locations and 11 edge cache locations in around 21 countries, it offers high availability and scalability that helps in maintaining high-cache hit ratios. It allows you to host any website by using your own domain name and SSL certificate without any additional costs. As a result, you get a completely secure environment for web hosting. Moreover, it offers a great video streaming experience, dynamic content and personalized content support, and geo-restrictions to restrict your content within a country.
Pros of Amazon CloudFront CDN services
- Exceptional support for dynamic content
- Instant delivery
- AWS integration
- Complex set up due to robust features
- Limited edge locations
Price: Pay-as-you-go model but pricing varies by location.
CacheFly is known to offer rich-media content delivery 10X faster than single-hosting delivery. It was first launched in 2002 and has been in the market for 18 years now. Surely, it is one of its own kind TCP-based CDN aims to deliver rich-media content faster and more reliably as compared to traditional delivery methods. It serves over 2,000 clients in around 80 countries and has a proven record with a decade’s worth of experience. CacheFly is preferred due to the reliability, scalability, and unbeatable performance it offers.
Pros of CacheFly CDN services
- Highly intuitive dashboard to manage everything
- Impeccable customer support
- Unbeatable security measure
- Way too expensive for SMBs
- Limited edge locations
Price: Starts at $295 a month
Which CDN services are best for you?
As a matter of fact, we are using StackPath and Sucuri as I am writing this article. Considering that StackPath has a very positive track record. It can offer great CDN services to the sites already attracting a nice chunk of traffic every day. The configuration possibilities of the network are really great and quite affordable. Having said that, Sucuri is preferred for its impeccable security solutions. Once you add Sucuri to your site, you never have to worry about any security threat to your site. However, this article states some of the most popular CDN services along with their crucial factors including features, pros, cons, pricing, setup, etc. We hope this article will provide you with the needed information and make you able to hire a suitable CDN service.
Related reading of Cdn services:
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