CDNs Compared: Cloudflare vs. MaxCDN

CDNs compared CloudFlare vs MaxCDN 1

If you are reading this article, it means you cannot decide which CDN services to pick. You must be aware of how popular and widely used both of these networks are. They help you get closer to your clients/customers in a better way.

When you own a business and have a website, the main focus is always given to its performance. Cloudflare and MaxCDN both provide excellent CDN services, but it’s often challenging to know which one would match your needs.

People think that both of the platforms are similar, but that isn’t the case. There are quite a few differences in the way they work and provide to their user’s requirements.

In this article, we’ll see a great comparison between Cloudflare and MaxCDN providers that could help you select the appropriate one for your website.

First and foremost, let’s get started with the basics:-

What is CDN?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network. As the website owner, you would want your website to perform higher than the other websites.

Everyone wants quick and instant responses in this fast-moving world, and the same applies to the website.

Customers or visitors won’t wait for long if your page has a slow or delayed response, leading to a loss of customers.

CDN service help in solving that issue. They improve the speed and the performance of the website.

It makes sure that the distributed network of servers is utilized to the fullest to lead to quick site files delivery such as text, images, videos, etc.

Through this, your webpage gets loaded within seconds, thereby not losing any customers.

So, you see how essential a CDN service is for your company and your website. It doesn’t simply cache your content and give instant delivery, but it raises your chances of getting more viewers and customers to your website.

Content Delivery Networks can also handle much more traffic than usual. Thus, there are nearly zero percent chances of your site crashing due to a sudden traffic spike.

CDN service is most useful for websites having their customers all over the world.

In modern times, the slow ones get kicked out or get left behind in the race and therefore, you need to keep up the tempo. It is essential, therefore, to choose an appropriate Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider.

There are many on the internet, but the ones widely used and popular are Cloudflare & MaxCDN providers. Based on what your website is all about, one of these could be better for you than the other.

This article will help you look into the pros, cons, characteristics, etc., of the providers in a greater depth so that you can settle for the right one for yourself.

Data Centers: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

Data Centers are the first and the most needed aspect of a CDN provider. MaxCDN and Cloudflare CDN providers have 57 and 31 data centers, respectively. Talking about MaxCDN, they use fast SSD servers having a 10 GB connection.

They even have excellent connections with quite a few internet service provides worldwide.

This helps in increasing the mobile connection speed. In terms of the distribution of the data centers, they are pretty disproportionate.

The areas covered are Europe – 31, North America – 22, Asia – 3 and Australia – 1. They are also planning on setting one in Brazil.

Cloudflare has lesser data centers than MaxCDN, but it covers most continents in a well-distributed manner. It has a unique website that provides up-to-date performance for every data center.

Another great feature of Cloudflare is that all your network traffic goes through the whole network of the data centers, thereby benefitting your website.

Analytics: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

Cloudflare has an excellent analytics page that shows you a complete report about the traffic.

You also get information regarding crawlers, countries with the threat origin, and search engines that might have crawled onto your site.

The Analytics page provides you with a report for all websites with free or paid plans or website-to-website.

Either way, you get a detailed view of everything and can plan further steps accordingly.

MaxCDN does not have its Analytics page as such, but it does have a reports section. It showcases all the distributed files on your CDN with their sizes, zone breakdowns, status codes and much more.

Through this data, you could get a quick yet detailed view of how much bandwidth is getting used, which files get the views and from where, etc.

Optimization: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

Apart from providing the mentioned CDN-type services, Cloudflare also provides other ways to optimize the website. A few of the functions are as follows.

  • Gzipping Pages: Cloudflare gzips certain types of content, which helps speed up the page’s loading time. This compression is quite helpful to the site owner.
  • Rocket Loader: The Rocket Loader optimizes the website page automatically and minimizes network connections. It lessens the chances of having a slow-down of the site.
  • Local Storage Caching: It uses the local space available on your mobile or new browsers to cache objects.
  • JavaScript Bundling: Here, multiple JavaScripts and CSS files are combined to prevent overheard each time you set a new HTTP request. It helps avoid the burden of many network requests.
  • Minification: Cloudflare has an Auto Minify feature that helps in removing all unwanted characters from JavaScript, CSS files and HTML, thereby optimizing your page with ultimate ease. You can find the Auto Minify feature in the Speed section on the dashboard.
  • Image Optimization: This feature helps seamless image delivery through image resizing, mirage and polish, thereby providing quick webpage loading.

MaxCDN has multiple network servers that provide speedy loading of your site page by locating a server closest to the visitor viewing your page.

It also has a complete integration of GitHub and API, which supports all the automation of its CDN. MaxCDN also uses EdgeRules to provide better optimization.

Through this, the Content Delivery gets fully controlled through the edge servers. MaxCDN has 3 kinds of cached files, each of which gets stored in a different zone.

  • The Pull Zones: This zone contains all the regular files such as image files, text files, CSS files, etc., which get renewed after a certain period.
  • The Push Zones: The big files that barely need any changes are stored here, such as your PDF files or zip files.
  • The Vod Zones: With the help of Real-Time Media Flow Protocol (RTMFP), all your streaming files and videos get stored here. They remain unchanged unless you delete or make any changes to them.

WordPress Integration: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

WordPress integration is super easy and quick in Cloudflare as it integrates independently. There are just a few basic steps that you have to do.

After you sign in to Cloudflare, ensure that you assign new DNS servers to your Domain name.

Rest all will be taken care of by Cloudflare itself. On the other hand, when it comes to MaxCDN, things are a little complicated.

If you want to use the MaxCDN on any WordPress site, you will require a cache plugin.

You could use WP Super Cache, WP Rocket or W3 Total Cache. The number of configuration options you get depends on the plugin you choose. Some offer more, whereas some offer less.

Integrating WordPress with the MaxCDN is quite a difficult task as compared to Cloudflare. Also, the high-end WordPress hosts could be pretty pricey most times.

Security: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

Cloudflare has excellent services in terms of the security of your website. It protects it from DDoS attacks, SQL injections, etc. It also uses the Website Application Firewall for other online threats.

A few years back, Cloudflare had dealt with a gigantic DDoS Attack. They not only protected the website from it but also proved how capable they were.

If you wish to see how Cloudflare works when it comes to protection, you could have a look at its handy diagram.

It is available on Cloudflare’s official page. You have to fulfill a particular requirement to be able to access this benefit. Ensure that your Domain Name Servers are changed to Cloudflare’s.

By doing this small step, you make sure that all the traffic coming on your site goes through Cloudflare’s entire network before reaching it.

For instance, when an attacker gets hold of your IP address, he could harm your server directly, but you prevent this from happening when you change your DNS.

After having done that, you have to add all the hosting configuration data. These are basic steps that any hosting company whose DNS you use will provide you.

One best part about Cloudflare is that it starts with caching pages automatically once you have opened a ticket with it.

But, it’ll be better if you opened a ticket with the hosting company you were with and ask them to restore the original IP info to server logs.

Almost all the hosting companies have had experiences with Cloudflare; therefore, this simple task won’t be an issue for them. This step is considered necessary as Cloudflare is a reverse proxy.

The security settings available are adjustable, thereby letting you set it in a way you like. You could enable features such as caching level, image optimization, hotlink prevention, etc.

MaxCDN has some good security features, but they aren’t as comprehensive as that of Cloudflare. Here, you can use a two-step authentication process that helps in protecting your site.

There is also a feature that allows you to keep track of the people allowed to access the account by white-listing their IP addresses.

Although these security measures are good enough, they can’t protect your site from other threats such as DDoS attacks or Comment Spam.

So, in terms of protection and security features, Cloudflare is preferable to MaxCDN.

Support: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

Cloudflare provides good enough support in terms of queries and other issues. You could also use the search bar to get help with some fundamental problems that you might face.

You could raise a submit ticket if you do not get clear answers to your questions or issues. MaxCDN, on the other hand, is much more comprehensive with its support system compared to Cloudflare.

You can connect with them via phone, email or chat. It even has its own social media pages, which makes connecting way more convenient than before. Also, the MaxCDN documentations are a great source of information.

They have FAQs, tutorials, and many other features that help you know the basics. When you raise a ticket with MaxCDN, a response to it is mainly received within the first five minutes.

So, if you’re looking for quick and instant help when things go wrong, then MaxCDN should undoubtedly be your pick. Not that Cloudflare is any average, but in terms of support, I must say MaxCDN wins.

Pricing: Cloudflare Provider vs. MaxCDN Provider

In any comparison, apart from the features and benefits, pricing is an essential aspect. At times the Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider that you might find awesome may not fit your budget, or the one that fits might not fit your requirements.

To get done with that issue, here are mentioned the prices and plans available for Cloudflare and MaxCDN. One distinguishing aspect here is that Cloudflare prices aren’t that high for using its CDN, whereas MaxCDN charges you based on the amount of bandwidth used by your website.

Let’s begin with Cloudflare. Cloudflare has four different plan types that they offer:-

  1. Free Plan – This plan is top-rated amongst many people as it provides you will most of the benefits for free. You get broad security protection, higher website performance, great stats about your site visitors, etc. But then again, many things do not get covered in this plan. For example, specific browsers aren’t supported; the stats provided only have a 24hr updating period.
  2. Pro Plan – The Pro Plan begins at $20 per month and $5 for every succeeding website. It consists of SSL, real-time statistics, mobile optimizations and much more. You also get to use the Web Application Firewall to secure your website in a better way.
  3. Business Plan – It starts at $200 per month for every website you own. Various companies and brands mostly use it. You get all the features of the pro plan and much more. Other features such as support for the Railgun and Advanced denial of service attack mitigation are also available.
  4. Enterprise Plan- This plan starts at $5,000 monthly. It is meant explicitly for huge enterprises and other widespread businesses. It consists of everything that Cloudflare has to offer. You get 24/7 phone support, a dedicated account manager, 2500% SLA, etc.

Changing from one plan to the other is very simple with Cloudflare. The moment you switch to the new plan, you are provided with its features instantly. Even if you wish to downgrade your plan, it’s easily doable.

As mentioned earlier, MaxCDN plans are based on the bandwidth usage of each website. You can check with your hosting company to get a round figure of how much bandwidth your site uses to decide which plan to choose.

Also, if you end buying a plan with more bandwidth than your site requires, it’s not an issue. The extra bandwidth gets rolled over to the next month. In this way, you get to use the entire bandwidth for which you pay.

MaxCDN has two groups of plans, i.e., the starter plans and high volume plans.

Starter Plans

Plan 1 – This is the cheapest plan that MaxCDN provides. It starts at $9 for 100GB bandwidth monthly and two websites.

If you do use extra bandwidth than your plan, you get charged $0.08 for every GB.

Plan 2 – This plan begins at $39, offering a bandwidth of 500GB per month and three websites. And, you get charged $0.07 for every extra GB used.

Plan 3 – It is considered MaxCDN’s most popular plan. You get 1TB bandwidth and five websites for $79. Many companies widely use this plan. For every extra GB used, they charge $0.06.

Plan 4 – This plan is quite expensive, but it provides 5TB bandwidth for seven websites. Also comparing with the benefits you get, it is worth $299. The price for every extra GB used is just 5.5¢.

Also, note that if you wish to save about 20% on all these plans, try paying yearly and not monthly.

High Volume Plans

The first high-volume plan starts at $499 for 10TB bandwidth and 10 websites monthly. The next three plans provide you with 50TB for 25 websites, 150TB for 50 websites and 350TB for 100 websites at $2,560, $6,144 and $12,544 respectively.

All these plans charge a low rate for every extra GB that you use. One important feature you should bear in mind is that your host’s bandwidth gets drastically reduced with MaxCDN.

Final Word: Which is the Better Option?

As you can see from the direct comparisons above, Cloudflare and MaxCDN providers have more to offer than you know.

They provide high speed and also help in enhancing the performance of your website. You can also check our article on Do you Need to Know HTML/CSS to use WordPress?

Cloudflare gives you high security against SQL injection, DDoS attacks and much more. It also has a free plan which MaxCDN doesn’t possess. You get limitless bandwidth usage as well.

MaxCDN, on the other hand, has an excellent support system, great caching options and much more.

It also doesn’t have a CAPTCHA feature which usually bothers the Cloudflare users a lot.

There is also a 30-day money-back period that lets you check all the features of this Content Delivery Network (CDN) and decide whether it matches your requirements.

I’d suggest MaxCDN over Cloudflare, but honestly, both CDN providers have their share of pros and cons, and it’s on you to decide which suits you and your workload the best.

I hope the comparison helps you settle for the one which would be most suitable for you. Nothing more, nothing less! All the very best.

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