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As a full time blogger or a business website owner, your primary aim for your website should be speed, security and content. User interface, user engagement, the latest updates and others are important but not crucial. In this article I will share my personal experience with these aspects of website performance, particularly on the topic of finding the fastest CDN for WordPress.
This article shows you an in-depth CDN Pricing & Features comparison of Cloudflare CDN and its alternative CDN providers. In the end, I hope you will see a detailed CDN providers comparison and be able to find the fastest CDN for your WordPress website.
- StackPath / MaxCDN
- Rackspace CDN
- Amazon CloudFront
- Microsoft Azure CDN
- Google Cloud CDN
Which is the fastest CDN for WordPress?
- What is a CDN? How is it useful?
- How to choose the fastest CDN for your WordPress website?
- Cloudflare – most popular FREE CDN
- StackPath CDN or MaxCDN – erstwhile fastest CDN
- Sucuri CDN – CDN from the best in security
- Fastly – highly configurable CDN
- Rackspace CDN – experts in cloud tech
- CDN from top 3 cloud computing companies
- Akamai – the oldest, largest, megalith CDN
- Finally, which is the fastest and which one should you choose?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How is a CDN or content delivery network useful to me?
A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a highly-distributed network of servers which helps to dramatically reduce the physical distance between the host server and website surfer (the user). This in effect minimizes the delay in loading a website. To keep it simple, a CDN caches all your website’s pages at multiple locations in order to serve it from the location nearest to the website surfer. Actually, this is only partially true but for the sake of explanation to a 5-year-old, that’s just fine.
A Content Delivery Network is like Domino’s delivering pizza from the store closest to your delivery address. This ensures you receive pizza in less than 30 mins.Tweet
There are also several other reasons such as keeping your web server fit and free from failure and ensuring your website serves fresh and secure content and so on. For readers who have used the FREE version of Cloudflare, note that this applies to paid CDN cloudflare alternatives as well.
Your WordPress website speed can be a boon or a bane to your business. Your website is like a face to your online business. Imagine if a shop’s door is small, dense, tight or close-packed, will you be really interested in entering and buying anything from there? What if the shop next door has a really vibrant, huge, auto sliding door to welcome one and all? Won’t you rather immediately move your eyes and thereafter your feet to the other store?
A slow and simple website is like that claustrophobic door while a fast website with a beautiful front page is like the shop with that vibrant door.
In fact, as per research, visitors generally don’t wait more than 3 seconds before they click on some other link. If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, visitors will leave and possibly never come back.
53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load – Think With GoogleTweet
How to select a CDN for your WordPress website?
There are hundreds of global and regional CDN (Content Delivery Network) providers along with several other CDN Cloudflare alternatives for wordpress that come bundled with a theme or web-hosting. Picking the fastest CDN for wordpress out of a mix of global and regional CDN is a huge challenge for a new website creator.
Why so? If you look at the best cdn providers for wordpress, you will find that they all promise and deliver astounding performance, speedy loading times, top-notch security and best prevention from hackers and bot attacks.
MaxCDN, Cloudflare, Sucuri, Amazon CloudFront, Google Cloud CDN, Azure CDN, Akamai are all speedy, secure, and fault-tolerant. Deciding among the top cdn providers for wordpress is a really daunting task.Tweet
Is CDN bad for SEO? CDN providers’ challenges.
As mentioned in the section above, slower websites can affect your business really badly. Google or for that matter any popular search engine pays due attention to how fast your site loads. There can be a stark difference in rankings if your website loads just 0.5 seconds faster than competition. This can easily be a bump in your search engine rankings or if it’s a load delay of 0.5 seconds, it can penalize you fairly.
So putting your website on a CDN network will improve the speed aspect of your SEO. It is a lot beneficial to implement a CDN strategy, unless your web hosting provider has its data centers well spread in all continents. See my take on whether you really need a CDN or not.
A brief note on Price
Before we start finding the fastest CDN for your WordPress website with detailed CDN providers comparison, I thought of the following being worth a mention.
You should be aware that features of any kind of service depend on the plan you subscribe to. Generally in CDN business, the number and type of features that are provided depends on:
- how much data from your website you want to put on the CDN, and
- the total bandwidth consumed by your website traffic.
In this article, I will not only compare CDN providers but also will give you details on the most popular fastest CDN for your WordPress website. This article contains rich information on CDN price and features comparison. CDN providers comparison criteria include price, features, data center locations, performance, service and support.
Best FREE CDN providers
Few CDN companies like Cloudflare have a FREE plan which can help you get FREE CDN without any restrictions. Other free CDN cloudflare alternatives are mostly the free trial versions of paid CDN services.
CDN alternatives to Cloudflare like Google CDN, Microsoft Azure, Amazon CloudFront give you few hundreds of dollars and few months of trial to start.
The best CDN in terms of CDN pricing is Cloudflare CDN. It gives you access to 80% of all its CDN services and places your website on a high-performance content delivery network of servers. You will never go wrong when hosting your website on Cloudflare. Read more on my CloudFlare section below.
One by one now I will now take you through Cloudflare and its CDN alternatives. Later I will show you a detailed CDN pricing and features comparison between Top 10 CDN providers.
Know more about Content delivery networks and how to use CDN as SEO tools for wordpress. Click the video image below to start your 30-day FREE trial
Cloudflare4.5 out of 5 rating
Cloudflare in my view is the best amongst the best free CDN providers. It’s a feature-packed CDN with a free plan and one of the best paid plans.
Cloudflare is an American company with office across America, Europe and Asia. They serve 20 million HTTP requests per second on average and manage data from 200 cities in over 100 countries around the world. Their ultra-fast static and dynamic content delivery, increased agility, control over caching, and built-in top-of-the-line FREE and unmetered DDoS protection are the most appealing power-points to Cloudflare’s claim to fame.
It might not be the fastest CDN for wordpress but it is not far behind the other CDN providers in speed, performance and pricing – MaxCDN, Sucuri CDN, Stackpath CDN and Fastly CDN.
Setting up Cloudflare is pretty easy and can be done in minutes even by a beginner without any need to edit your code or install any software or hardware. Its is very well integrated with Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Joomla.
Simply sign up with Cloudflare for free and all you have to do is change DNS name servers of your domain and the service kicks in automatically; caching content and serving it to visitors from their nearest location.Tweet
Few of the included offerings are as mentioned below.
- Speedy delivery of your website content to a user anywhere in the world
- security from hackers or Bot attacks
- detecting and mitigating DDoS attacks
- web filtering to block spam algorithms and bad bots while allowing good bots like search engine crawlers
- limiting content spam
- basic website cache & minify service (cache analytics and better cache in paid plans)
- SSL between Cloudflare to end client, and many more.
- The smart image optimization (on paid plans) further improves speed by helping reduce file sizes by as much as 40%
Their support for global recommendations and standards like IPv6, HTTP/2 and QUIC, customizable page rules to manage traffic, and a REST API for developers. All this on its free plan with no restrictions on bandwidth (unlimited allowed) makes it stand out in the comparison of the fastest CDN for WordPress.
Please click below if you would like to read similar articles
Cloudflare’s free plan is the best Free CDN providers plan to evaluate whether a claiming-to-be fast CDN makes your WordPress website faster. It’s feature-packed and yet free. Cloudflare is the most appropriate CDN for a small website or a blogger just starting out.
Do you know FastComet has 13 data centers across the world. Choosing a data center to host your site that’s closer to your target geography and then adding Cloudflare services further enhances customer outreach. Try Fastcomet today to experience it yourself (45-day money back guarantee and a 1-month service contract possibility) by clicking at the discount banner below.
Read my review of Fastcomet along with other Fast WordPress shared hosting providers I personally experimented and researched.
Well, when the leader in CDN at least for mass market websites is offering a CDN plan with so many benefits at $0 monthly, then who would object or restrain. After all the necessity of using a fast CDN for WordPress is due to the fact that firstly, there is huge competition in every field. Secondly, networks globally are not able to keep up with the demands of fast growing new generation of hungry internet users who want all information at almost the speed of light. Okay, okay! If not light then at least at the speed of a click.
Cloudflare’s most popular plan is the $0 plan. The next best plan, the Cloudflare Pro plan is priced at $20 per month, and adds the extra features of image optimization, detailed configuration and other certain benefits not available in the free plan.
Even if you think Cloudflare might not be the best CDN for your wordpress website, the FREE version can certainly qualify of being the fastest FREE CDN for WordPress
You may read my complete Cloudflare review and the five-step-guide on how to get started with Cloudflare, the best amongst the best Free CDN providers.
How to QUICKLY setup FREE Cloudflare CDN for WordPress website. Cloudflare features, cache, security. Cloudflare console tutorial. Configuration tabs explained
StackPath CDN or MaxCDN4.5 out of 5 rating
From a top 10 CDN providers comparison standpoint, MaxCDN is at the top of the ladder in terms of speed. The company is now taken over by StackPath, another user-friendly CDN for WordPress with advanced security features. It is fairly easy to set up StackPath CDN for your WordPress website. It has a web console to manage your settings and configuration. Stackpath CDN is also very well integrated with W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache — the popular WordPress caching plugins. It was once recorded as the fastest CDN for wordpress.
Like other CDNs for WordPress, StackPath CDN or MaxCDN has the following features: DDoS attack protection, Website Application Firewall, SSL, global network of high performance servers and so forth.
StackPath CDN has a very strong network of servers across the globe. However, it lacks certain locations outside the US and Europe. They also lack servers in few locations in Asia and Australia.
Stackpath CDN or MaxCDN Pricing
MaxCDN pricing plan start at $10 for up to 1TB of bandwidth per month. In its basic offering, it provides detailed Analytics & Reporting services with even a 5-minute refresh.
If you consider MaxCDN from a Pricing aspect, it will turn out to be most value for money erstwhile fastest CDN for WordPress. It would any day evenly match Cloudflare’s $20 PRO plan. I would consider this and Sucuri CDN as the best paid CDN alternatives to Cloudflare.
Try MaxCDN (now called Stackpath CDN) by clicking at the TRIAL offer image on the left.
Sucuri CDN5 out of 5 rating
We all know of Sucuri as one of the most popular WordPress add-in for Security. It provides protection from bot attacks, SDoS attacks, hackers, and malware. However, they also have Sucuri CDN service, one of the most secure and fastest CDN for WordPress. Website speed optimization using CDN or other methods is crucial for SEO and for tens of other reasons. Sucuri being one of the best WordPress security plugins (Wordfence is another good one) offers this fast & secure CDN for WordPress with dozens of features to help speed up your website.
Sucuri packs one of the best technologies required to improve the performance of your site. Like other stand-alone CDN providers, the following benefits along with their highly optimized default configuration help speed up your website by 70% on average.
- high performance servers – multi-layered, inter-connected, globally spread
- Global Anycast IP Network for fast response times
- HTTP/2, HTTP/3 Support
- HTTPS support, website application firewall, DNS Monitoring, several other security features
- smart caching options, multiple site Caching
They have server presence in almost all continents: North & South America, Europe, Australia & New Zealand, Asia-Pacific.
If you match Cloudflare and Sucuri on every point including the minimum monthly price ($9.9 Sucuri vs $20 Cloudflare) for a superb feature set, I would any day recommend it as the best paid CDN Cloudflare alternative for even a new website with low traffic.
Sucuri CDN Pricing
If you want to experience it yourself, I suggest you get the 30-day Sucuri CDN trial now.
Even though Sucuri CDN is a bit costlier (around $199 per website) than other swift CDNs for WordPress, you will find Unlimited bandwidth offered in every plan of Sucuri CDN service. Their support and similar features ensure reliable website uptime for your site.
Fastly5 out of 5 rating
Look no further than Fastly if you want a highly configurable CDN. The fastest growing newbie in the CDN industry provides far more developer options than possibly any other CDN.
- Fastly has a vast network of high speed SSD based servers hosted in well-connected locations around the world
- Fastly CDN preserves more content in cache for longer periods resulting in fewer back-and-forth trips from the your hosting service.
- Instant Purge and batch purging lets you cache or delete dynamic content with an average purge time of 150 milliseconds. Best for news and instant updates like weather forecasts
- The service Granular visibility into website with Real-time logs allows you to make prompt data-driven business decisions.
Another good point especially for developers is that Fastly has programmable CDN services providing different styles of video caching and hundreds of low-level controls e.g. manipulate HTTP headers.
Where fastly is lacking is the setup. Setting up is a bit tricky though – there are certain configurations needed to be made before your website is completely onboarded.
The pricing is tiered or slab-based depending on bandwidth and user locations. Following is the Fastly pricing screenshot from website taken on Nov-2020.
There is a minimum charge of $50 per month. Moreover, they currently offer first $50 worth of traffic for free.
Due to all the aforementioned features at an affordable price for high traffic websites, I truly believe it’s a great Cloudflare CDN alternative.
Do you know Bluehost has 6 data centers in prominent locations across the world. It might not be the fastest WordPress web hosting but by choosing a data center to host your site that’s closer to your target geography and then adding Fastly services further enhances its speed. Try Bluehost (30-day money back guarantee) with Fastly (use the cheapest plan) today to experience it yourself by clicking at the discount banner below.
Rackspace CDN4 out of 5 rating
Rackspace is a well-known CDN that helps accelerate delivery of your website. It has 200 edge locations around the world and primarily rides on Akamai’s network.
Its requires more technical resources and patience to set up Rackspace CDN than other CDN providers on our list. However, it very well integrates with WordPress and can be easily used with the best WordPress plugins.
Rackspace CDN however lacks on few core items: it doesn’t provide DDoS attacks protection, is devoid of SSL, and has limited CDN analytics and reporting options.
Rackspace CDN Pricing
It follows a tiered Pricing model based on location and bandwidth with requests to Edge billed separately again based on location and usage. The cheapest plan is around $100 for 10 TB bandwidth at EMEA and US website users
Do you know WP-rocket is one of the fastest speed WordPress optimization plugins. It can help benefit even a slow website by adding caching, preloading, lazy loading, minifying CSS/JS features. You will see tremendous increase in Website loading speeds, just like I did (see my blog post where I explain how to took my site from zero to hero using 5 WordPress speed optimization plugins).
Try WP-rocket today (14-day money back guarantee) by clicking at the discount banner below.
World’s top 3 cloud computing companies – CDN providers comparison
Now let’s briefly do a CDN providers comparison of the CDN services from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform
The primary benefits of availing of CDN service from any of the top three cloud computing and the wealth of advanced features they offer are as follows:
- seamless integration with all other services of the cloud provider e.g Google Cloud GCP, Amazon Web services, MS Azure.
- SSL, advanced security capabilities, field level encryption and HTTPS support
- HTTP/2 and HTTP/3 QUIC support
- protection against network and application layer bot and hacker attacks e.g. DDoS attacks,
- advanced Caching, multi-tiered caching architecture, GZIP compression
However, there are also certain downsides for CDNs with cloud computing companies. The CDN service from these providers:
- is not very user-friendly to configure compared to Cloudfare or other stand-alone CDNs
- pricing is slightly confusing to work out
- set up is a bit complicated – not completed in a few clicks, unlike Cloudfare or other stand-alone CDNs
Amazon CloudFront CDN4 out of 5 rating
A powerful yet reasonably priced CDN with several advanced features, except the common ones mentioned above. Few Amazon-specific features are as follows:
- seamless integration with AWS Shield, AWS Web Application Firewall and Route 53
- in-depth analytics and reporting capabilities with even minute details e.g. visitors’ device type, operating system etc.
- programmable CDN computing capabilities at the edge, especially for computationally intensive operations such as dynamic origin load-balancing, custom bot-management, thereby allowing custom applications to run closer to website surfers for improved responsiveness.
- integration with AWS services such as Amazon S3, Amazon EC2, Elastic Load Balancing
Amazon CloudFront CDN detects network conditions and intelligently routes your website user’s requests to the nearest and fastest AWS edge location to serve up cached or dynamic content.
Amazon CloudFront CDN services co-reside at edge networking locations and are globally scaled and connected via the AWS network backbone – a massively scaled and globally distributed network with 225+ servers (points of presence or PoPs)
When we talk about CDN pricing and features comparison, the Performance of Amazon CloudFront is above average. However, the power and configurability that Amazon offers is beyond comparison.
Tech support is not free. Amazon promotes self-dependence using their extensive knowledge-base. If you need assistance, it will effectively cost you extra.
Amazon follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model with no upfront fees or required long-term contracts. Pricing is generally at the lower side for small business websites and bloggers but calculating the price requires prowess at excel or at least basic calculus 🙂 … just kidding. It is complicated but not that much. Actually all 3 top cloud computing providers have similar pricing structure.
Prices depend on bandwidth and region served, but Amazon provides a FREE tier. AWS Free Tier includes 50GB data transfer out, 2,000,000 HTTP and HTTPS Requests with Amazon CloudFront.
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Microsoft Azure CDN4.5 out of 5 rating
In the CDN providers comparison battle, Microsoft wins on the point that it has a customizable and familiar interface and integration with Microsoft services. Just like the other two cloud computing providers, it has plethora of features along with global coverage and massive scalability thereby serving your website contact from the POP nearest to the requestor.
Apart from having most of the features that the other 2 cloud computing providers also provide, some of additional special features of Azure CDN are as following:
- Its really fast! According to CDNPerf, Azure CDN falls under top 5 fastest content delivery network worldwide.
- Full integration with Azure services and other Microsoft technologies and services
- Advanced security capabilities, field level encryption and HTTPS support
- Advanced Caching, multi-tiered caching architecture, GZIP compression resulting in ultra-low latency performance and high availability.
- In-depth analytics and reporting capabilities with real-time and granular analytics. how customers are receiving and caching assets
Instead of just using Microsoft’s own edge servers, Azure CDN integrates with services from Akamai and Verizon primarily for load balancing across content delivery networks.
Pricing is as complicated as that of Amazon and Google cloud. The minimum starts at $81 per 1 TB of bandwidth for content served to Americas. You can however get started with $200 of free credits and 12 months of free services.
Know more about Azure Content delivery networks and how to use CDN as SEO tools for wordpress. Click the video image below to start your 30-day FREE trial
Google Cloud CDN5 out of 5 rating
Google Cloud CDN is another powerful and appealing offering from the omnipresent Google cloud. It provides an inexpensive but really high quality, high performance, high throughput, and low latency CDN service using Google’s core technologies, infrastructure and global network. Undoubtedly in the CDNPerf’s global CDN providers comparison, it stands as the fastest CDN for WordPress or websites based on other technologies.
Google CDN is also on the top of the list of the best free CDN providers at least for the first year, when it’s free 🙂
This I consider makes Google CDN the best FREE alternative to Cloudflare CDN for a new blogger or new website owner with low traffic.
Some unmatched features of Google Cloud CDN are as follows:
- #1 ranked fastest CDN as per CDNPerf global rankings.
- Google Cloud operates on one of the best connected and fastest networks by trasnmitting data over actual fiber under land and sea.
- Direct network connections with the vast majority of user-facing networks allow Cloud CDN to choose the optimal cache regardless of the location of the origin.
- Google’s proprietary fiber optic backbone carries network traffic uninterrupted by extra hops.
- Global Anycast IP distributes inbound requests giving more resilience to volumetric attacks.
- SSL, encryption in-transit, HTTPS support, and other expansive security features
- QUIC, HTTP/2, and suport for advanced congestion control protocols .
With data centers at 90+ locations and edge locations at 130+ around the world, Google Cloud CDN is one of the best in class to serve images, online game, and other digital distributions, Cloud CDN caches content in locations all over the world
Once you sign up, you will get $300 worth of free credits and 12 months of free services.
Akamai4.5 out of 5 rating
Akamai has around 275,000 servers in 135+ countries. Serving 30% of all Internet traffic and with the broadest service portfolio in the industry, Aura Managed CDN is a a highly scalable content delivery network by Akamai with infrastructure managed by Akamai itself.
Akamai is possibly the oldest, fastest, most extensive and most highly distributed CDN network of servers (PoP) in the entire world. It is rightly called “the most powerful CDN built for professionals”.Tweet
Set up is not a piece of cake though. However, this doesn’t mean it’s troublesome. Anyone can do it after going through the extensive documentation and hand-holding guides.
Akamai offers certain benefits not found with other CDN providers. Few of the common and exclusive benefits are listed below.
- Top five worldwide according to CDNPerf CDN Providers comparison
- Advanced web performance optimization capabilities that improve mobile, web and CDN performance.
- High-quality and fast video delivery solutions to handle the explosion in online video
- Security solutions that protect websites, web applications, and infrastructure
- Highly distributed architecture that puts 85% of the world’s Internet users within a single “network hop” of an Akamai server.
Akamai is actually the most expensive one as well. Pricing is a bit tricky. There is no specified pricing mentioned on the official website. They work on request for quote system – you need to contact them directly for the quote. However, their prices generally start from $350 for 1 TB.
For the top 10 CDN providers comparison exercise, I therefore consider Akamai as not an appropriate one for a small blog or website.
However, if you really care about speed and global availability of your website, then Akamai is the best unmatched fastest CDN for WordPress and other websites.
Finally, which is the fastest and which one should you choose?
If I had to decide one Fastest CDN for my WordPress website, I would select from the following based on my budget and website traffic.
All the 3 fast CDNs mentioned above have very good reviews, past track records and awesome features for their price.
As the final suggestion list, I would recommend:
- For small websites or bloggers testing the waters, stay with FREE version of CloudFlare. The free plan gives you a great opportunity to evaluate whether an extra expenditure of a CDN is needed for your website or not**. A CDN along with performance optimizations plugins will any day help improve your website speed with little effort. If you realise you really need a CDN, you can take up any of the paid plans as per your requirement.
- For heavy WordPress sites or ones with lots of traffic. you are better off with either of the leaders – MaxCDN (StackPath CDN) or Sucuri.
** if your readers / visitors / buyers are located in a single country or geographical zone like France or western Europe, I would recommend you need not spend money on a CDN and rather buy a better & faster WordPress hosting service with a datacenter in your geographical zone.
Why have I left out Google, Amazon & Microsoft Azure even when they come with offers like $300 sign-up credits? The simple answer is “not everyone is a programmer or developer”. If you need to set up Cloudflare, you require 8th grade English knowledge, a laptop with at least 3G speed internet and a total time duration of 60 seconds. YES! only 60 seconds. Here’s how you can set up Cloudflare on your website in 60 seconds:
OK, my bad! its 60 seconds in each step 🙂
However, if you want to set up your website for Amazon, Google or Azure CDN, you need to study for at least a 3-month skills certificate in Cloud computing configuration & setup.
So, if you have finally decided which one to choose, here are some awe-inspiring images which you may click and visit the CDN cloud heaven.
Thank you for reading this article. I have written several other such Technology related articles in other sections on this website.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How much does a CDN cost?
The cheapest or FREE CDN that still qualifies to be one of the fastest CDNs as per CDNPerf list is Cloudflare CDN.
Yes, its totally FREE for a small website or blog. It gives you loads of features and still has high level of security and performance.
Fastly, Sucuri and Stackpath CDN (erstwhile MaxCDN) are other such CDNs with pricing ranging between $9.99-$199 for really high traffic websites.