CDNs Compared: Cloudflare vs. MaxCDN

CDNs compared CloudFlare vs MaxCDN 1

Your main aim as a webmaster of a site must be to get maximum visitors or traffic and retain them. If your website loads at a very slow speed, then you can be assured that the visitor will not stay around for long.

If the visitor experiences a delay in page loading, they will close the website and begin to search for alternate options in their search engines.

Hence, we would like to emphasize that the website speed, as well as performance, is as important as the content.

If you’re looking at enhancing the performance and speed of your website, then you must consider getting a Content Delivery Network (CDN) implemented.

This will be the wisest way to go about it. A CDN service will make sure that your website files like JavaScript, CSS and images are distributed to your visitors by utilizing a vast network of servers.

In this way, the load times of your web page will decrease by utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) because it uses a nearest CDN server to the visitor.

So, the CDN provider makes sure that the caching of the content is done appropriately so that it can be quickly delivered with the help of their grid of servers to all locations across the world.

The main focus for all this is to make the website extremely quick to navigate. We always suggest that you must always choose a CDN provider that will meet all of your requirements; this is essential.

I’m sure by now you have done your bit of research about various web hosting providers. Many web hosts do offer CDN services, but there are very few that provide information on details of CDN providers.

That is why it is extremely important for you to research and learn the various features that you must look for in a CDN service provider.

So far in the market, we have two best CDN providers that are extremely popular, they are MaxCDN and Cloudflare. Both of them offer a positive effect on your website in terms of performance and speed.

But it also depends on your business and website type, and you could get one of these extremely suitable and matching your needs.

This write-up is written with the aim of offering a comparison that is in detail mentioning their prices, plans, advantages, disadvantages and features.

Background 

MaxCDN and Cloudflare are both based in America, and they were launched in 2009. MaxCDN has its headquarters in California, Los Angeles. They also have their offices in London and Singapore. At the same time, Cloudflare has its headquarters in California, San Francisco.

As of now, Cloudflare hosting company has offered a solution to over 2 million sites, and Max has provided their solution to over 6 million websites. Cloudflare improves the website’s speed and security.

On the other hand, MaxCDN aims at enhancing the quality and betterment of the speed of the website’s performance.

Cloudflare utilizes NGINX modified versions, which are vital technologies. MaxCDN, for its open-source software, provides active support.

They are also NGINX’s funding partners. In addition, they also support SPDY from Google and a host bootstrap CDN and jQuery on their network.

Let’s take a quick look at their vital services as well as features;

Set-up and Installation 

In order to set up MaxCDN, it will not require tweaking the DNS server settings. It isn’t as simple as setting up Cloudflare; however, this is the only reason why you can utilize it by CMS’ that include Joomla, Vbulletin and WordPress.

Currently, if you’re utilizing the cache plugin W3TC, then I must say that almost half of MaxCDN settings are completed from your end.

All you need to do is enable the MaxCDN account. This can be done by utilizing the icon that is available in the integrated plugin.

No matter what the platform of your site is, Cloudflare can be set up within minutes.

In order to do so, all you must do is make changes to the DNS nameserver, which is at a domain, central to the host.

This step is extremely simple, and you do not need to make any changes to the current code, and you also do not need to install any hardware or software.

You could also utilize a dedicated setup app within the cPanel if it is available. At any point in time, if you feel that you are not satisfied with the solutions from Cloudflare, it is extremely simple to shut it down as it was when setting it upat the beginning. 

Multiple Data Centres 

Cloudflare has about 31 data centres, and they are distributed across many continents, but they do not have a data centre in Antarctica.

They also have a particular website that is updated regularly, offering information about the performance of all their data centres.

All the web traffic will go via the network of the data centres of Cloudflare.

Now MaxCDN has data centres that are over 57; they are distributed as follows; Europe –  31, North America – 22, Asia – 3 and Australia – 1.

At the moment, they do not have data centres in Africa and South America, but there are planning to set up a centre in Brazil.

All these data centres utilize SSD servers that are fast-paced at 10 GB with connections in order to set up a fast mobile connection, and they have tied up with various Internet solution providers.

Support 

The support from MaxCDN is extremely comprehensive as they allow their users to connect with them through email, chat or phone.

Their customers can also contact them through the company’s social media page.

As soon as their customer raises a ticket, the ticket is responded to within 5 minutes. This is very good.

They also offer their users documentation that helps them to get started, and there are; beginners guides, tutorials, developer resources and FAQs.

When we look at Cloudflare, we notice that they do not offer comprehensive support in comparison to MaxCDN; however, they get the job done.

They provide a knowledge base that is extensive that helps the user with any issues, offers guidance on various topics like analytics, caching, billing and getting started.

It also allows the users to search for queries that they may have within the search bar, and suppose the user is unable to receive a satisfactory answer; they then raise a ticket.

Let’s take a quick look at what each of these Content Delivery Networks have to offer; 

Offerings – MaxCDN 

Optimization 

It has a group of servers that are extremely intelligent, enabling quick loading of web pages from the server that is closest to the website visitor. 

This is extremely useful in optimizing the speed of the website. It also empowers the website with immediate purge as well as improvising it.

This makes sure that the latest origin placements are visible immediately. In addition, they also support complete automation of the Content Delivery Network (CDN) via the total integration of GitHub and API.

For improved control and optimization, they utilize EdgeRules. This makes sure of complete control of the delivery of the content via servers of Edge in real-time.

All this is achieved without assistance from a support team. They have cached files of three types, and each of them is saved in a specific zone:

Push zones 

These files are more significant than seldom change like PDF files, Zip files and Ebooks. They are available in the zone until they are changed or deleted.

Pull zones 

This has files that are regular, for instance, JavaScript files, Image files and CSS files. These files are saved in the zones and get renewed regularly after a particular time frame.

Vod zones 

Audio and video streaming files are available in this zone. These files are delivered by utilizing the protocol – Real-Time Media Flow.

This stays in this place for as long as it is changed or either deleted.

Analytics Report 

MaxCDN provides their customers access to analytics and real-time reporting. Reports generated can be utilized to check file sizes, data centres, and the latest 50 files.

These files are called status codes, zone breakdowns, and more.

This reporting in real-time allows the customer access to various details about files that are being viewed; they are location and resources that are consuming the bandwidth.

Security 

They provide their customers with certain security features; however, the features aren’t as comprehensive in comparison to Cloudflare. 

The user can utilize a 2-step authentication method in order to protect their account.

They can also use whitelist IP addresses in order for keeping track of visitors that are permitted to access the account.

Extra security features are provided for apps like OAuth, Secure Token and HTTP Referrer. They also allow single click installation and activation of SSL certificate in order to boost security.

Offerings – Cloudflare 

Optimization 

Website owners that utilize Cloudflare experience their website page being cached as soon as the DNS settings are changed.

The speed, as well as the performance of the website, is optimized via various functions that include;

  • Caching at Local Storage

This method is utilized by local storage on modern browsers and mobile devices in order to cache objects intelligently. 

  • Header Optimization 

The instructions of the cacher header are automatically adjusted in order to receive accurate caching of the site resources via browsers. This reduces the need for the latest requests.

  • Javascript Bundling 

This method reduces the load of various network requests via bundling multiple JavaScript files altogether into one request.

  • Rocket Loader 

This is an auto site page optimization that is utilized in order to reduce the network connections. It also makes sure that there is no decrease in the rendering of the page by the resource from a third party.

Analytic Reporting 

They offer a report that is detailed with regard to the traffic of the website with their analytics page. The report is also made available on a site basis as well as a consolidated basis.

It is made available for all their free package websites as well as the paid ones.

The reports reflect data with regard to website traffic, threats, bots, crawlers and pageviews.

They also enclose details such as the country from where these search engines and threats have originated and crawled to the website.

Security 

Cloudflare provides protection to the website mainly against comment spam, SQL injections, malicious bots, DDoS attacks etc., and for the online threat security, they utilize WAF – Website Application Firewall.

For the setup of Cloudflare, there are certain changes made to the DNS settings, making the server act like a proxy between the user and the website server.

At all times, it makes sure to keep a secured layer of protection.

Cloudflare offers an extremely comprehensive set of features in terms of security to handle enabling DDoS attacks, and they were successful in managing the most significant episode in the history of the Internet that happened in 2004.

Hence it is incredibly evident that they can handle any attack of any scale with much ease.

Pricing and Plans 

Cloudflare and MaxCDN offer various packages to their customers; let’s take a look at them;

Cloudflare provides plans that include; Enterprise plan, Business plan, Pro plan and Free plan. They also offer their customers an option to upgrade and downgrade as and when required.

The users are not charged for the usage of bandwidth for these plans. So, the site owner does not have to worry about the traffic increasing and having an effect on the usage of the bandwidth. For your site services utilized, you will be given a consolidated invoice.

In comparison to Cloudflare, you will notice that MaxCDN has a variety with regard to the types of packages.

For instance, they offer three types of packages that are mentioned below;

  1. Starter plan 
  2. High volume package 
  3. Enterprise custom package  

With the Starter package, they offer four kinds of plans with various configurations that are as follows;

PlansBandwidth/ MonthWebsitesPrice Per Month
1100 GB2$9
2500 GB3$39
31 TB5$79
45 TB7$299

With the High Volume package, they provide their customers with four plans that have various configurations as mentioned below;

PlansBandwidth/ MonthWebsitesPrice Per Month
110 TB10$499
250 TB25$2,560
3150 TB50$6,144
4350 TB100$12,544

Enterprise Custom packages offer their customers a team of experts to assist them with designing their plans and helping them with their requirements. 

Let’s move on to the next segment, where we will discuss the various pros and cons of utilizing both these Content Delivery Network (CDN) solutions.

Advantages 

MaxCDNCloudflare
They provide their customers with 24/7 support and multiple support options that include phone, email and chat. They provide their customers’ protection against SQL injections and DDoS attacks.
They cache every page of the website. This cached page is displayed during downtimes. They offer certain features to their customers at no additional charges. 
They offer their users a report that helps them to know more about files that are downloaded along with the source. They do not have limits or restrictions on utilizing bandwidth for the website. 
Restful API is responsible for interactions with third-party platforms and apps. Web traffic needs to go via the Cloudflare network, making it very difficult for attackers to make an attack on the server directly.
They do not utilize the feature – CAPTCHA.They are incredibly straightforward to implement and set up. They offer their users a detailed set of instructions, so the user does not have to do any research.
They offer their customers a refund of their money within a period of 30 days. This is sufficient to test their features. If the user has a caching plugin W3TC that is functional integration, then the entire process becomes even easier.

Final Verdict 

Cloudflare and MaxCDN provide their customers with optimal performance and high speed for their websites. But personally, we are move fond of MaxCDN; it has comprehensive support choices as well as enhanced caching ability. You can also check our article on Do you Need to Know HTML/CSS to Use WordPress?

If you own an enterprise website or even expect massive traffic for your website, then we suggest MaxCDN as it optimizes the performance and makes it of utmost importance.

If you are looking for improved security features, then I must say that Cloudflare is an excellent alternative to MaxCDN because of its extensive security features.

If you require extra protection or maybe you don’t wish to frustrate legit users with all the extra measures of security, for instance, CAPTCHA, we would then suggest you go in for MaxCDN.

That’s all for today, folks. We do hope that this article has been informative and helped you with whatever queries or doubts you may have had.

We hope to see you soon with our next article. Until then, take care and stay safe.

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