Do you need the best CDN service that’s going to make a real difference to the speed of your website? We’ve made a lot of progress over the past decade in terms of technology, but no matter how fast we make the internet, we still struggle to close the gap between the visitors to our websites, and the server itself.
This means that if you live in the states and you’re trying to access a website in the states, it’s going to be a lot quicker for you than something living in the UK. A CDN is a content delivery network that can help store the content of your website on different servers globally.
This means that they can use this stored content for when people want to access your website around the world, instead of having to do all the way to the home domain. This is a great way to speed up your website’s loading time – but not all CDN server providers are equal.
Just like every other industry out there, we think that there are some companies worth your time, and some that you should avoid completely. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what we think are the best CDN services in the business.
This may be the boring part of the article, but it’s also essential. The more you know about CDN services and what to look for, the easier it’s going to be to spot the ones worth your time.
Let’s check out a few things you need to know about CDN services:
- Points of Presence: points of presence, or an edge server, is in reference to the number of locations that a single CDN has around the world. As you can imagine, the more points of presence that they have, the better their coverage. However, there is such a thing as too many points of presence, where your server is rendered useless. As an example, if you don’t have that many site visitors located in Russia, does it really matter if you have a point of presence there?
- Push vs. Pull Zones: this basically means how the CDN gets the files from your server onto their service. We won’t go into it too much, but all you need to know is that a pull CDN is usually the best, because it allows for an automatic pull of your files onto its service. Push, on the other hand, requires you to manually ‘push’ the files.
- Reverse Proxy: this is the middle man between your server and the browser. It directs traffic for you and can offer things like security and performance benefits. The better the reserve proxy is that the CDN uses, the more streamlined the entire process is going to be.
Best CDN Services (2020)
Now, let’s review our list of the best CDN services.
Not only is Cloudflare free, but it comes packed full of awesome features. You will be excited to know that it is actually one of the biggest CDN services you can get, and as a result, has a massive global network.
With more than 10 million sites on their list, it’s safe to say that Cloudflare can help you with any location around the world. Setting things up with Cloudflare is pretty easy – all you have to do on your end is change the nameservers of your sites so that they point to Cloudflare. Cloudflare will then do the rest, caching your content and sharing it with their massive network.
Of course, Cloudflare comes with a reserve proxy, which offers additional security benefits. As we mentioned at the beginning, this CDN service is free, and while it does have paid plan options, the vast majority of you will find that their free service is more than enough.
Cloudflare’s free plan is ideal for most, but if you want to, you can get started for just $20 a month.
Stackpath used to be MaxCDN, so that you may have already heard of them. Stackpath can offer things like security service features with their CDN. However, we personally think that they’re a bit more flexible than Cloudflare, allowing customers to choose from a variety of different features.
For this review, we’ll just talk about the CDN service that they offer. They have 45 points of presence around the world, and because they are a pull CDN, they are super simple and easy to set up and don’t require you to do anything extra on your end.
Additionally, you don’t need to change your nameservers to just Stackpath, so if their server is down, you can still use your website. However, if you do want a managed DNS, this is also an option, so it all comes down to your personal preferences.
Stackpath starts at just $10 a month.
The majority of people who have used Sucuri would say that it’s more of a security service than a CDN. This is because they have some awesome website security features, which will set you up against viruses and hackers.
However, as you may have guessed, they also offer a pretty good CDN service, too. While their network of points of presence isn’t as expansive as some of the other options out there, they do have them in some of the most relevant locations.
Because we know that the majority of your visitors are probably already located in these regions, we can’t see there being a problem. You also gain access to many of their bonus features, too, including things like a web application firewall.
They will also automatically back your site up, too, so you’re covered from A-Z. If you like the idea of teaming up with a company that knows quite a bit about website security as well as CDN services, then we suggest checking out Sucuri.
You can get started with Sucuri from just $199 a year, but if you want complete support of https and SSL, you’re looking at $299 a year.
One of the things that stands out to us the most about Key CDN is that they’re affordable. They’re also easy to use, too, so if you’re not too technical and get confused by servers like this, they could be a great option.
Key CDN is popular among users who have WordPress because they come with compatible plugins. They also have a pretty good global presence, and they’re adding new locations all the time. They offer both pull and push options, and when it comes to the pull function, it’s pretty easy to set up, so that you don’t have to do too much of the work on your end.
They also offer various security features, like SSL support. While they don’t offer a free plan, they do offer a free trial that will last you for a month. Their pricing is pay as you go, which means that you don’t have to commit to any length of time.
Their prices start at $0.04 a GB, but as you use more, their prices go down.
Incapsula may remind you of another company on this list – Cloudflare. They have many similar functions, including a reverse proxy, and they have a pretty good list of edge servers around the world, so you’re guaranteed to have a good reach.
Again, like Cloudflare, you’ll need to align your nameservers to Incapsula, which, as you know, has its pros and cons. The obvious advantage here is that they can direct traffic for you, saving you time and effort on your end.
They also offer a free plan too, which includes things like CDN functionality.
Incapsula offers its free plan, and their paid plans start from just $59 a month.
While the last CDN service is a bit more limited than its counterparts, it is simple – and free. This is because it can only work as a successful CDN for images on your WordPress site. However, in saying this, they make sure that their file sizes are smaller, making them one of the highest quality servers around.
Again, they’re also free, and as a plugin, they can work well with any WordPress site. All you have to do is check a box to activate it, so it’s also incredibly easy to use, too.
Again, this CDN service is completely free – they don’t have any paid plans.
Warning: Your Personal Details Are Visible
This is your personal data that ANYONE can view.
The only way to protect yourself fully is with a VPN. A proxy can provide some protection, but a VPN is a more complete solution and will ensure your privacy.
While some CDNs will automatically connect to the content on your WordPress site and direct traffic, not all of them will. The ones that won’t are the ones that don’t require you to change your nameserver.
These ones will pull your files from your site, but WordPress will still send files from your server on its own accord, which means that you’re actually not really getting anything out of using a CDN.
To fix this issue, you’ll need to sign up for a free plugin called CDN enable. This can help you rewrite URLs to use with CDN URLs. The best part is, you can use it with any CDN.
Definitely. If you want to use Cloudflare, but you also want to benefit from external security protocols, you can combine the two – but it gets a little bit technical.
The first thing that you have to know is that you can only use Cloudflare for DNS, and while DNS with Cloudflare is going to be faster than your own server’s DNS, you will need to pause it on your own website.
However, if you want to use the security functionality and the DNS, you’ll need to make a page rule so that your website doesn’t cache.
With this type of technical tweaking, you can still use Cloudflare to direct and filter traffic to your website, without it being cached.
As you can see, there are plenty of options when trying to find the best CDN service for your website’s needs. Remember, there are pros and cons to all of them, so at the end of the day, it all comes down to what your personal preferences are. If you’re someone who values security, then choose a CDN service that offers this functionality too.
However, if you just need CDN and are okay with the company changing your nameserver, then something like Cloudflare could be your best option.