If you use a UK web host but serve lots of customers from Asia or the US, a CDN will ensure those users don’t miss out. Speed is incredibly important, not just for your website visitors, but also for your website’s SEO.
Although CDNs can be pricey, they are definitely worth investing in. Whether you’re an individual with a small blog or a large corporation, there are plenty of CDN providers out there that will suit your needs.
CloudFlare is one of the most popular American-based CDN providers on the market to date. Their CDN service offers a user-friendly experience, alongside expert features and tools. Setting up CloudFlare is super simple, all you need to do is update your nameservers and CloudFlare automatically kicks in.
There are several pricing plans to choose from, as well as a free plan. Though the free plan is slightly limited in its capabilities, it’s a great place to start so you can establish how useful a CDN would be for your website.
CloudFlare features include web filtering, limiting content spam, mitigating DDoS attacks, image file size reduction, and lots more. CloudFlare’s REST API is suitable for developers who know what they’re doing, offering complete control for those that require it.
• Brilliant speed and performance
• Wide choice of pricing plans to suit a range of budgets
• Expert features included
• Included for free with some web hosts
• Free plan is very limited
KeyCDN is a budget CDN that’s ideal for beginners or first-time users. Getting started with KeyCDN is incredibly simple, offering 25GB upon sign up. KeyCDN’s dashboard allows you to create your first zone with a few simple clicks, along with integration with popular apps like WordPress.
For more experienced users, KeyCDN’s Origin Shield allows you to determine the source for updates server as opposed to an origin. This further reduces the server load. KeyCDN is packed full of features that you can experiment with, but should you just want to press play and go, you can do this too.
Prices start from just £0.03 per GB, which is incredibly good value for money. The minimum usage is around £3.20 per month and users will get a free SSL certificate on top. Whilst you’re not going to experience cutting-edge performance like some high-end CDNs, the value for money is hard to argue with.
• IPv6 support since 2018
• Integrates with WordPress
• Ideal for beginners
• Free SSL certificate
• Performance doesn’t match other CDNs
Fastly CDN is used by some big companies like Spotify and Reddit, which can only be a good thing. Fastly’s name represents exactly how its CDN performs, with fast performance levels, especially for UK servers.
If you’ve got a bit of experience with CDNs, you’ll probably enjoy Fastly’s superior configurations. You can specify HTTP headers, decide how content is served, and specific different types of video caching.
Fastly is only really recommended for people with some basic knowhow, as novices may feel a little overwhelmed. Prices start from £0.12 per GB, which is over double the price of KeyCDN, but still very good value for money, considering the features on offer.
• Incredible features
• Extremely configurable
• Great for individuals with basic knowhow
• Fast speeds
• Difficult to set up (especially for novices)
Australian-based MetaCDN combines Amazon Cloudfront and Verizon’s EdgeCast to create a super-speed CDN service. MetaCDN can connect to over 120 locations across three networks, offering more choice and better performance for your website visitors.
In performance tests, Fastly came up trumps for the UK whereas MetaCDN was quicker in North America. However, UK users can still benefit from MetaCDN’s awesome service and features.
The major downfall for MetaCDN is it’s limited configuration options. Whilst this is somewhat of a bonus for beginners, users with more knowledge may not appreciate the restrictions. This user-friendly CDN comes with a free trial, then pricing starts from £15.25 per month with plenty of features and a guaranteed uptime of 100%.
• 100% uptime guarantee
• Lots of server locations (over 120+)
• Great for beginners
• Fast speeds (especially for North America)
• UK users would benefit more from Fastly’s speeds
• Limited configuration options
Amazon CloudFront is Amazon Web Services (AWS) CDN. There’s plenty of customisation options for more experienced users, as well as automatic GZip compression for even faster speeds.
As you might imagine from an Amazon service, CloudFront offers in-depth analytics, alert set up systems, and a free tier. CloudFront’s free tier gives you 50GB of data per month across the space of a year, but after this, their on-demand service is paid for depending on your actual usage.
I’d recommend CloudFront for those who have a basic understanding of CDNs and how to set them up, as it can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the basics. Tech support isn’t free, so you’ll either have to pay extra for it or figure it out for yourself.
• Lots of advanced features
• Plenty of configuration options
• Ideal for more experienced users
• Free plan for 1 year
• Tech support costs extra
• Complicated for beginners
Microsoft Azure CDN integrates multiple cloud tools to form a solution to build and manage applications. The CDN doesn’t actually use Microsoft’s servers, instead it uses Akamai, Verizon, and Premium Verizon.
Although Microsoft Azure CDN isn’t the cheapest CDN by far, it’s fairly reasonable, especially if you want to integrate with other Microsoft tools. Needless to say, I did find their plans a little confusing so if you’re new to this world, it might be worth looking at CloudFlare instead which is much simpler.
Microsoft Azure CDN’s dashboard is packed full of features, with high-performance levels and one of the fastest CDN networks across the world. If you’re a developer, I honestly think this will be right up your street.
• Plenty of locations
• Generous features
• Great performance and speeds
• Complicated pricing
• Not very user-friendly
CDN77 is a well-known name in the CDN world. It has over 30 data centers globally and provides an easy-to-use service that is welcomed by beginners. However, there are limited options for more experienced users which may put some people off.
CDN77’s pricing starts with a 6TB traffic plan at £151.74 per month. Any overages are charged at £0.03 per GB which is very reasonable. The service also comes with a 14-day free trial, so if you’re not sure this CDN will be right for you, it’s worth giving it a go.
In terms of speed and performance, CDN77 isn’t the best we’ve tested, but you do get a free SSL certificate which makes it good value for money.
• Simple pricing
• Free SSL certificate
• Suitable for beginners
• Advanced settings are limited
• Performance isn’t the best
BunnyCDN is a reasonably small CDN provider with plenty of time to invest in their customers. I like this CDN because there’s much more of a personal feel about the way they interact with their customers and the services they offer.
They have an extremely intuitive user interface which makes BunnyCDN a great choice for beginners, with no need for any coding knowledge whatsoever. They are also rated highly amongst their users which is always a positive in my eyes.
BunnyCDN have a low $1 monthly minimum usage with prices starting from just £0.01 per GB on their Standard (42 PoPs) plan and £0.003 per GB for the first 500TB on their Volume (7 PoPs) plan. They focus highly on speed and security and are optimized for WordPress.
• No buffering on video streaming
• Great user reviews
• Suitable for beginners
• Speed isn’t improved that much
• Not as well known as some providers
Instead of trying to be like everyone else, CacheFly’s multi-CDN approach means they can cater to a wider audience, offering affordable pricing and high-end features. However, although their pricing is good value for money, it’s not recommended for low budgets to start off with.
Their Core plan starts from £450.65 per month and offers 35TB transfer, 15+ US/EU PoPs, 100% uptime, basic support, and 98% global cache hit ratio. CacheFly powers the likes of Microsoft, Rakuten, and Bank of America to name a few.
CacheFly is for serious CDN users, offering low latency video streaming, multi-CDN to mitigate performance glitches, easy implementation and enterprise-level support. CacheFly isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it’s definitely worth the investment if you have the budget for it.
• High-end features included multi-CDN
• Ideal for more advanced users
• Great value for money
• Not suitable for small websites
• Isn’t very low-budget friendly
BelugaCDN is easy and simple to set up and integrates well with WordPress. Its intuitive interface offers real-time traffic statistics making it a good CDN provider for beginners and advanced users.
Prices start from £15.16 per month for 2.5TB worth of data along with a free 30-day trial. BelugaCDN boasts great security features including built-in DDoS and website protection, IPv6 support, and free SSL. You can also blacklist IPs, enable hotlink protection, and geo-blocking is available.
The BelugaCDN network supports 28 global PoPs as well as unlimited websites. If you want to enable high-end video streaming and media optimization, BelugaCDN can help you no end.
• Good security features
• Intuitive interface and real-time tracking
• Free SSL
• Origin shield costs extra
• Not as many advanced features as other CDNs
Most CDNs offer a wide range of security features but in my opinion, one of the most important features to look out for is DDoS protection.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack happens when a server gets flooded with traffic. It causes bandwidth and resources to be maxed out, usually causing a web server to crash and thus your website won’t be available online.
IPv6 is the latest version of the internet protocol. 4.3 billion TCP/IP addresses were created with IPv4, so IPv6 was introduced.
Most people have switched from IPv4 to IPv6 to enable the long-term health of the internet. It offers a larger pool of IP addresses and allows every device to have its own public IP address. IPv6 support is something which any good CDN provider should offer.
CDNs are useful regardless of what type of website you’re hosting. Whether you’ve got a blog, small business, or enterprise, CDN services can accelerate almost any website to offer content faster to your users.
CDNs don’t have to be expensive, in fact, some web hosts offer CDN services for free, so it’s worth checking out the best CDN for your budget.
CDNs have many benefits. Speed is one of the biggest advantages your website can receive from having a CDN. CDNs can reduce bounce rates and improve conversions by offering up your website’s content faster. This not only speeds up your site but offers a better user experience and can improve your SEO.
As well as speed and performance, CDNs are a great uptime backup, meaning if your website gets a sudden surge in traffic, your CDN will re-route the traffic and reduce the load on your hosting resources.
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