Web Hosting Tips

CDNs compared: CloudFlare vs MaxCDN

By December 28, 2016 No Comments

If you are running a website, CDNs are an essential part of decreasing load times and the amount of lagging a user experiences while they are on your site. As has been proved by study after study, your conversion rates and user experience will plummet with every second of load time they experience, and even 4 seconds is enough to cause most users to abandon your website and never come back.

From this, it’s clear how important it is to have a CDN that does its job well, as so much of your website’s success is riding on your website’s loading speed. Aside from having a very good Australian web hosting provider, the necessity of having a high-quality CDN increases even further if you expect to receive a lot of worldwide traffic. To make the process of choosing your CDN easier, here is everything you need to know about two popular CDN options: CloudFare and MaxCDN.

Data Centers

The amount of data centres your CDN has will have a large impact on their efficacy. CloudFlare has 31 data centres across 6 continents with particularly high concentration in Europe and North America. CloudFare also has a website that is dedicated to monitoring the performance of these data centres, making it easy for website owners to check their status. MaxCDN, on the other hand, has more data centres than Cloudfare with a whopping 57. However, they have none in Africa or South America as of now, meaning that CloudFare offers more global coverage.

Website Optimisation

In addition to its CDN related services, CloudFare also boasts features to help you optimise your website through other means. These methods include gzipping pages, JavaScript bundling, asynchronous resource loading, cache header optimisation, minification, and browser caching. In addition to services aimed at increasing the performance of websites, it also has features to help protect websites against things like DDoS attacks, SQL injections, persistent and malicious bots, comment spam, and more.

While MaxCDN does not have the features mentioned above, it does allow much more control over its CDN services. With MaxCDN, you can store files either at netdna-cdn.com, or any custom domain that you would like. Cached files are stored in 3 categories and each is stored in a unique zone (pull zones, push zones, vod zones). Through MaxCDN, your account is protected by a two-step authentication process. You can also whitelist the IP addresses of those you would like to be able to access your account.

Pricing

CloudFare and MaxCDN have pricing structures that work very differently. CloudFare offers four types of plans (free, pro, business, and enterprise), while MaxCDN prices users based on the amount of bandwidth their website uses.

Many people are immediately attracted to the free plan CloudFare offers, as it helps to secure your website, provides decent analytical data about your website’s traffic, gives SSL support, and allows unlimited bandwidth of cached files for no charge. However, the plan still has limitations. It doesn’t support all browsers, and stats regarding site traffic are only updated after 24 hours. The pro plan, however, only runs $20/month for your first website with an additional $5 each added website, and comes with many more upgraded features. And, of course, with the business and enterprise plan come even more upgrades.

Max CDN, however, sets its prices depending on the bandwidth your website uses monthly. You can check the bandwidth you’re using right now with your hosting company to find the plan you need to purchase. If you end up purchasing a plan that is too big, however, MaxCDN generously rolls over leftover bandwidth to the following month. The cheapest plan MaxCDN offers is $9/month for 100GB of bandwidth over two website zones. Users are charged $0.08 per GB over that amount. The most popular plan is for 1TB at $79/month.