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Brad Smith

Hosting Reviewer

Website owners generally want to improve their website speed and performance. There are several ways to do it — you can optimize your images, use caching plugins, and choose a reliable hosting provider.

However, one of the best ways to improve your website’s performance and security at the same time is to use a content delivery network (CDN).

What is a CDN, and how it can help you speed up your website? And more importantly, what is the best CDN for your website?

Keep reading to learn:

  • What a CDN is and why you should use one?
  • The benefits of using a CDN
  • The nine best CDN providers

Defining a CDN and Why You Need One

Before we discuss the best CDN companies, let’s first define what it is. A CDN is a group of servers that are distributed all over the globe. These servers store a cached version of your website’s files, including:

  • Images
  • Stylesheets
  • Script files
  • HTML files
  • All other files that make up your website.

Once a user visits your website, those files are delivered to them from the server closest to their location. As a result, your website visitors can view your website’s content faster.

It’s worth mentioning that a CDN doesn’t eliminate the need for a web host as you still need a hosting company to store all your website’s files.

A CDN simply makes a temporary copy of the files and stores them at the network edge. This leads to improved performance that many hosting companies struggle with.

A faster loading website is one of the top reasons to use a CDN, but it’s not the only benefit. Here are a few other reasons you should consider using a content delivery service:

  • Better website uptime:  A properly configured CDN also helps prevent website crashes when your website receives a sudden surge in traffic. If one server is overloaded, the CDN will simply send the incoming traffic to other servers.
  • DDoS protection: If a hacker tries to perform a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on your website, the CDN will make sure that the attack doesn’t reach the server where your website is hosted. It will, instead, send the traffic to other servers.
  • SSL security: In some cases, your CDN provider will also provide you with a pre-configured secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate to ensure your visitor’s data is safe. It also makes your website appear more trustworthy.
  • SEO benefits:  Page speed is an important search engine optimization (SEO) ranking factor since July 2018, when Google rolled out its speed update.
  • Consistent user experience: Your website visitors will experience a faster loading time regardless of where they’re visiting your website from. In addition, some CDN providers have various optimizations in place for mobile devices to ensure a consistent user experience for mobile users.

9 Best CDN Providers for 2021

Here are the nine best CDN providers for 2021. Some of the CDN providers on this list offer a free trial, others provide CDN for video streaming, and some include an SSL certificate.

1. Fastly

Fastly

If you’re looking for the best CDN for WordPress, consider Fastly. Fastly is an advanced CDN provider aimed at developers who want to speed up their web and mobile applications and websites.

Fastly stands out on this list of best CDN providers thanks to its Dynamic Site Acceleration technology.

Its Dynamic Site Acceleration keeps the connection between cache nodes and the origin server from your web host open, which reduces latency. As a result, your web and mobile content is served quicker. This makes Fastly one of the fastest CDN providers.

Key Features:

  • Cache-control and instant cache purging so you can store and update highly dynamic content within 150 milliseconds.
  • Real-time logs so you can analyze your website’s activity and make faster decisions.
  • Origin Shield is a unique feature that creates a second caching layer to minimize the number of requests sent to your hosting server.
  • Supports caching of large files.

Advantages:

  • Highly programmable thanks to its robust API.
  • PCI-compliant so you can use it to cache sensitive PCI or HIPAA-related content.
  • Offers a free plan.
  • Full integration with WordPress.
  • Offers SSL.
  • Offers cloud security, TLS encryption, DDoS mitigation.

Disadvantages:

  • Not beginner-friendly.

Best CDN Provider For:

Website and application developers.

Price:

The Free plan allows you to test up to $50 of traffic. The first 10TB is priced at $0.12 for North America and Europe, $0.19 for Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and $0.28 for Brazil, South Africa, and India.

The next 10TB is priced at $0.08 for North America and Europe, $0.14 for Asia, South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and $0.24 for Brazil, South Africa, and India.

Requests are priced per 10,000 requests and break down as follows: $0.0075 for North America and Europe, $0.0090 for Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and South America, and $0.0160 for Brazil, South Africa, and India.

Customers are billed a minimum of $50/month for the combined total bandwidth usage and number of requests.

2. StackPath CDN

StackPath CDN

StackPath CDN’s infrastructure is built on the edge of the cloud and features more than 45 points-of-presence (PoP) locations worldwide. The main advantage of StackPath CDN is the ease of use, which makes it one of the best CDN solutions for beginners.

StackPath CDN offers both CDN and security services. You can choose individual services or go for the full edge package, which includes CDN, managed DNS, and a firewall.

Key Features:

  • Free SSL coverage, which includes all cached content and a free private SSL certificate upon signup.
  • Complete DDoS protection that’s effective against Layer 3, 4, and 7 DDoS attacks.
  • Real-time analytics lets you see visitors and analyze attacks so you can improve your website’s security policies.
  • Instant purge empowers you to immediately remove stored content for a page you’ve updated.
  • Intelligent caching lets you keep the content at the edge for as long as possible while remaining fresh.
  • EdgeRules™ allows you to customize how your content is delivered. You can create 301 redirects, add and remove content expiry headers, and protect your content on the edge with URL signing.
  • 24/7 support is available on all plans and includes live chat, phone, and ticket support.

Advantages:

  • Easy to use and set up.
  • You don’t have to change your nameservers.
  • Transparent month-to-month billing.
  • Security services are available.
  • WordPress integration through W3 Total Cache plugin.

Disadvantages:

  • Doesn’t offer a free plan but does have a 30-day free trial.

Best CDN Provider For:

StackPath is best for beginners.

Price:

The CDN-Only plan includes 1TB of bandwidth and starts at $10/mo.

Edge Delivery 20 starts at $20/month and includes CDN with 1TB of bandwidth, web application firewall (WAF) with 5M/month Requests & 5 Rules, DNS with 2M/month DNS Requests, and monitoring for 1 service.

Edge Delivery 200 starts at $200/month and includes CDN with 10TB of bandwidth, WAF with 10M/month Requests & 10 Rules, DNS with 5M/month DNS Requests, and monitoring for 5 services.

Edge Delivery 2000 starts at $200/month and includes CDN with 100TB of bandwidth, WAF with 50M/month Requests & 20 Rules, DNS with 10M/month DNS Requests, and monitoring for 10 services.

StackPath also comes with a 30-day free trial.

3. Akamai CDN

Akamai CDN

Akamai is a popular CDN solution that serves more than 30% of internet traffic. What sets Akamai CDN apart as the best CDN provider is that you can use it to improve your website and application’s performance, and it can launch a video streaming service and optimize your network for content delivery.

Key Features:

  • Akamai caches and compresses both dynamic and static content.
  • Route optimization to ensure the visitor is getting the content from the closest accessible server.
  • Data pre-fetch to offer accelerated download speeds during high-traffic periods.
  • Custom SSL is available, as well as DDoS protection.
  • PCI compliance allows you to store and cache content governed by regulatory frameworks, such as HIPAA, BITS, and PCI standards.

Advantages:

  • Offers CDN for video streaming services.
  • 24/7 email and phone support.
  • Offers a web application firewall as an extra layer of security.
  • Highly customizable content delivery rules.

Disadvantages:

  • No information on WordPress integration.
  • Custom SSL and Origin Shield come at an extra cost.

Best CDN Provider For: 

Video streamers.

Price:

Prices for their plans aren’t listed publicly. You have to contact the company and request a quote. However, free 30-day trials are available.

4. Rackspace CDN

Rackspace CDN

Rackspace CDN caters to large websites, e-commerce stores, and web applications. It uses the Akamai network with more than 200 edge locations all over the world. This network delivers your website’s content to your visitors faster and improves the overall load balancing.

Key Features:

  • You can cache images, video, and audio files.
  • Supports caching and delivery of dynamic and static files.
  • You can set custom delivery rules which give you great control over your website’s performance.

Advantages:

  • Powerful cloud infrastructure with more than 200 locations globally.
  • Pricing is based on bandwidth usage, so you’re not overpaying.
  • Free SSL.

Disadvantages:

  • Configuring Rackspace with WordPress is not as straight-forward process as some other CDN providers on this list.

Best CDN Provider For:

Anyone who wants to customize their delivery rules.

Price:

All pricing plans are based on the geographic region. A free trial is available as a $100 credit valid for 60 days.

The first 10TB costs $0.10 for North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), $0.16 for Australia, Japan, and Asia Pacific region, $.019 for India, and $0.27 for South America.

The next 40TB costs $0.09 for North America and EMEA, $0.15 for Australia, Japan, and Asia Pacific region, $.015 for India, and $0.22 for South America.

The next 150TB costs $0.07 for North America and EMEA, $0.13 for Australia, Japan, and Asia Pacific region, $0.12 for India, and $0.19 for South America.

5PB+ costs $0.02 for North America and EMEA, $0.09 for Australia, $0.06 for Japan and the Asia Pacific region, $0.09 for India, and $0.13 for South America.

5. Google Cloud CDNGoogle Cloud CDN

Google Cloud CDN offers more than 90 edge server locations worldwide. One of Google Cloud CDN’s biggest benefits is that it comes with a free SSL certificate for your website.

Key Features:

  • Supports both static content and dynamic content, as well as large files, so it’s suitable for video, audio, and image-heavy websites.
  • Full support for HTTP/2 and HTTP/1 protocol, which ensures your website will load as fast as your visitor’s browser can handle.
  • Integrates seamlessly with the Google Cloud platform.
  • CDN can be enabled on a per origin server basis.

Advantages:

  • One of the cheapest CDN providers with pay-as-you-go pricing.
  • Offers free trial.

Disadvantages:

  • Getting support can be difficult as you have to pay for it.
  • Only works with websites hosted by Google Cloud Storage or Google Compute Engine.

Best CDN Provider For:

Anyone on a budget.

Price:

Free $300 trial credit valid for 90 days. Pricing is based on bandwidth usage and HTTP/HTTPS requests. Pricing ranges from $0.02-$0.20 per GB (depending on the destination).

6. Sucuri

Sucuri CDN

Sucuri is a well-known WordPress plugin that offers various security features to keep your website safe. Sucuri also offers CDN services for your WordPress website. It offers multiple WordPress caching options that can help you speed up your website by up to 70%.

Key Features:

  • The CDN runs on a globally distributed Anycast network.
  • DDoS mitigation through its web application firewall that blocks Layer 3, 4, and 7 DDoS attacks.
  • Multiple data centers around the world are optimized for faster loading times.
  • Multiple caching options and configuration rules are available.

Advantages:

  • CDN is available on every plan
  • Easy WordPress integration
  • Support for HTTP/2 protocol
  • 24/7/365 support

Disadvantages:

  • No free plan.
  • The lowest number of edge servers compared to other CDN providers.

Best CDN Provider For:

Anyone who wants to significantly increase their website’s speed.

Price:

The Basic plan is $199/year/site. It includes malware scan frequency of 12 hours, malware removal, brand reputation, and blocklist monitoring, virtual hardening, advanced DDoS mitigation, CDN, ticket customer support, and PCI compliance.

The Pro plan is $299.99/year/site and includes everything from the Basic plan and the ability to use an existing SSL certificate and 6-hour scan time-frequency.

The Business plan is $499.99/year/site and includes everything from the Pro plan but the scan time-frequency increases to every 30 minutes. This plan also includes a six hours malware removal SLA.

7. Imperva

Imperva

Imperva offers CDN and security services that both protect and deliver your website content faster. This is the best CDN provider for enterprise-level websites with high volume traffic. It offers 44 edge server locations around the globe.

Key Features:

  • Offers web application firewall, load balancing, and bot detection.
  • Uses machine learning to cache dynamic pages.
  • You can write custom content delivery rules.
  • Support for HTTP/2 protocol and IPv6 connectivity.

Advantages:

  • Highly customizable
  • DDoS protection and mitigation
  • 99.999% uptime
  • 24/7/365 support

Disadvantages:

  • You have to point your nameservers to Imperva. If Imperva’s infrastructure runs into issues, your website could become unavailable.
  • No information on WordPress integration.

Best CDN Provider For:

Enterprise-level websites.

Price:

Free demo and free trials are available. Pricing plans aren’t listed on the website, so you’ll have to request a quote from the company.

8. Microsoft Azure CDN

Microsoft Azure CDN

Microsoft Azure CDN is another affordable CDN solution on this list of best CDN providers. It offers flexible pay-as-you-go pricing, and it works seamlessly with other Azure services. Pricing is based on provider, geographic region, and the number of HTTP requests.

Key Features:

  • You can use it to cache both static and dynamic content.
  • Advanced analytics are available so you can see visitor traffic in real-time.
  • HTTPS can be enabled at no extra cost or certificate management.
  • The wide range of developer tools and API makes this one of the best CDN providers for developers.

Advantages:

  • Can be integrated with WordPress with WP Super Cache plugin
  • Integrates with other services such as Verizon and Akamai
  • Affordable pricing
  • Simple setup

Disadvantages:

  • A limited number of custom rules on paid plans (5), additional rules cost extra.

Best CDN Provider For:

Developers and anyone on a budget (runner-up).

Pricing:

Pricing for the first 10TB of bandwidth ranges from $0.081/GB to 0.158/GB.

The next 40TB ranges from $0.075/GB to 0.121/GB. After that, the next 100TB ranges from $0.056/GB to 0.102/GB. Then the next 350TB ranges from $0.037/GB to 0.093/GB.

500TB ranges from $0.028/GB to 0.088/GB and custom pricing for Zone 5. And lastly, 4000TB ranges from $0.023/GB to 0.084/GB and custom pricing for Zone 5.

Also, a free trial is available.

9. Cloudflare 

Cloudflare

Cloudflare CDN is one of the most popular and best CDN providers serving more than 26 million internet properties. It has 154 data centers globally.

In addition to offering CDN services, Cloudflare is also a reverse proxy, which means it acts as a middleman between your visitor’s browser and your hosting server. In essence, Cloudflare will direct your website traffic for you, which offers added security benefits for your website.

Key Features:

  • CDN performance supports both IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, as well as HTTP2 protocol.
  • Optimization for video streaming services via Cloudflare Stream. This service lets you upload videos via API and will automatically convert the videos into modern formats that work on all devices.
  • Comprehensive DDoS protection that works in conjunction with its web application firewall, bot management services, and other Layer 3 and Layer 4 security services.
  • Automatic image optimization is available for all premium plans.
  • Mobile optimization is included for all premium plans, and it includes Cloudflare Accelerate Mobile Links. Accelerate Mobile Links are powered by AMP and load up to three times faster than regular mobile pages without AMP.
  • Offers Cloudflare SSL certificate. Pricing for SSL starts at $5/month and also works with your existing SSL certificate.

Advantages:

  • Easy to use
  • Offers a free plan
  • Largest global network

Disadvantages:

  • You have to point your nameservers to Cloudflare, which can lead to your website being unavailable if Cloudflare experiences issues.
  • Sometimes, legitimate users can be mistaken for bots if you don’t configure your security rules properly.

Best CDN Provider For:

Anyone who wants an easy-to-use CDN with comprehensive features.

Price:

A free plan is available, which offers DDoS attack mitigation and CDN.

The Pro plan is $20/month and offers everything from the free plan, as well as DDoS alerts, enhanced security with WAF, lossless image optimization, mobile optimization, and cache analytics.

The Business plan is $200/month. It offers everything that’s included in the Pro plan, as well as 24/7/365 chat support, 100% uptime SLA, CNAME set-up compatibility, the ability to use your own SSL certificate, and PCI-compliance.

The Enterprise plan offers everything from the Business plan, along with role-based account access, 24/7/365 chat, and phone support, designated onboarding and customer success manager, prioritized IP ranges, and uptime SLA reimbursement. There is no pricing listed for this plan, so you’ll have to ask for a quote.

Final Thoughts: 9 Best CDN Providers for Improving Website Speed and Security

There is no shortage of CDN providers for your website. While all will help you speed up your website, some of the best CDN providers offer unique features that make them stand out among the rest.

Ultimately, the best CDN available will be the one that appropriately meets what you and your website need.

With a high-quality CDN provider on deck, make good decisions about other aspects of your website’s development, including website speed, security, and hosting.