CDN’s are becoming all the rage nowadays ever since CloudFlare offered their free plan. But now, there are all kinds of micro-CDN’s popping up everywhere. Each with a different set of pricing and services. I won’t go over the differences…all I care about is speed, reliability (HIT frequency), coverage, and ease-of-use.

Here’s a list of CDN’s I’ve experienced and my thoughts on each:

  • Akamai – fast, but expensive.
  • Amazon (CloudFront) – annoying name with same initials as CloudFlare. Fast and works well! I use it for loading large files (videos) from S3 buckets.
  • BunnyCDN – cheap, fast and works! DNS is not as fast as CloudFlare, IMO. I have many clients on this. All are very responsive.
  • Beluga – I haven’t tried yet.
  • – never tried, but heard about awful/shady billing practices.
  • CloudFlare – many say they aren’t a true CDN but they perform with similar results…also free and super fast, fastest DNS times out there. I’ve heard many complaints from folks I respect but I can’t help but wonder if all their 500 errors might just be their server. (If CloudFlare’s DNS is reliable in your target areas, use them! Some areas of the world are not routed as quickly and it appears they sometimes send your data from faraway proxy.)
  • CDN77 – slow! Don’t even bother.
  • Fastly – great when it works.
  • KeyCDN – heard great reviews so far. I would try them if I was venturing out for a new service.
  • MaxCDN (StackPath) – largely considered fast, but expensive. I’ve had some instances were I felt it wasn’t particular fast at all.

Thoughts on choosing a CDN provider

Decide what matters to you:

  • budget (how much bandwidth you need)
  • what you want to cache (small static assets vs large assets vs dynamic pages)
  • coverage (POP locations in the world, and proximity to your visitors)
  • quality of service (speed/reliability)

If all you need is static assets (images/css/etc), CloudFlare free plan should be just fine. If you want to have the fastest page loads (caching pages as well as static assets), it’s best to have a CDN with lots of configurable page rules.

Those caching big items will prefer fast bandwidth. Those caching small items (images, css, js) will prefer fast DNS times.

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