Best CDN Providers: Azure vs AWS vs Rackspace vs Incapsula vs Cloudflare vs Akamai vs Cloudfront

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Is your site slowing down? Are you losing traffic because your content is taking too long to load? Then you need a CDN.

Article Overview

What Is a CDN?

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network.

They help by decreasing the load speed of your website to each and every visitor. It makes the wait time shorter by loading the static content quicker to your website like images and videos.

Why CDNs?

A CDN will not only speed up your websites (helping your search rankings), it also provides security (block malicious bots and users), thereby saving bandwidth and reducing your hosting costs.

How Does a CDN Work?

CDN providers use multiple servers around the world to get sites to visitors in a more efficient manner. If you are geographically closer to a server you are requesting content from, the site will load faster and you will have faster page views, so you won’t grow tired of waiting and leave.

Are you feel a little overwhelmed? Check out this video to learn the benefits of a CDN, how it works and why it is important to consider.

We also reference quite a bit of terminology so check out our reference section at the end for definitions and help understanding the jargon.

Benefits of A CDN

There are three major benefits of a having a CDN layer between your website and your visitors:

  1. Speed – If a site takes more than 3 seconds to load, 57% of online consumers will leave that site. 80% of those consumers will never return to that site. So, the top CDN providers can make your site faster, resulting in more traffic! Google loves fast websites because if the site is faster, customers will stay on the website longer and visit more often, resulting in higher traffic. This means a higher ranking, which means more consumers will see your site listed higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). In turn, this translates to even higher traffic…as you can see it’s an endless, wonderful circle.
  2. Security – CDN’s can provide a security layer that will prevent malicious bots and hackers from getting to your server. On a shared server this is particularly significant as one site owner’s lack of a CDN could impact other websites.
  3. Cost Savings – CDN’s can host large media files, thereby reducing the load on your server. This parallel loading of files not only reduces bandwidth (offering a performance benefit), but it can significantly reduce your hosting bill as well since you’ll be charged for using less resources.

CDN Infographic

Here’s an infographic we created that better visualizes what CDN’s are and how they work.

CDN Infographic

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

Who Are the Best CDN Providers?

Below we’ve reviewed the best CDN providers in the marketplace today and given you our recommendations. Hopefully this will help you find a good fit for your growing website traffic needs.

MaxCDN Review

#1

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MaxCDN has a great reputation and integrates well with many content management systems (CMS’s – think WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc.). MaxCDN offers all the features you want in your CDN provider and it works great for large as well as small traffic sites.

They have one of the best reputations in the business and offer all of the main features in the lower level pricing. We use MaxCDN, among others, to power We Rock Your Web.

Pros

Cons

  • Great reputation
  • Integrates well with most CMS’s including WordPress and the W3TC plugin (a caching plugin that makes your pages load more quickly)
  • CDN specific company (ie. CDN’s are their core competency)
  • Easy to use
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 support (we’ve found the chat to be very responsive)
  • Offers SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • Free test account
  • 100% money back guarantee within the first 30 days
  • Used by Kodak, Garmin, and the Washington Times
  • None found

MaxCDN Price

  • Under 50TB: – $0.06/GB
  • 51 – 150TB – $0.04/GB
  • 151- 350TB – $0.035/GB
  • 351 – 1023TB – $0.03/GB
  • 1PB-2PB – $0.02/GB
  • 3PB-5PB – $0.02/GB-$0.008/GB
  • Over 5PB – contact for pricing

Note: CDN pricing is for North America and Europe and based on monthly usage

Rackspace Cloud Files Review

#2

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Rackspace is becoming a one-stop-shop with all of its products. A CDN is just one on the long list. Rackspace offers comparable services to other CDNs and at a reasonable price.

The only downsides we found is that they don’t offer a free trial and they’re a bit expensive. However, they integrate fairly well with CMS’s such as WordPress, and support is excellent. If you’re already a Rackspace customer it will be even easier.

Pros

Cons

  • Good CMS integration, although not as seamless as MaxCDN
  • Integrates well with other Rackspace solutions (hosting, DNS, etc.)
  • Integrates with WordPress
  • Easy to use control panel
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • Outstanding customer service and support record, available 24/7 (including phone support, a rarity in this industry)
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • Domino’s Pizza and FujiFilm are customers
  • No free trial
  • More expensive than MaxCDN

Rackspace Cloud Files Price

Storage

  • $0.10/GB per month for the first 1TB
  • $0.09/GB per month for next 49TB
  • $0.85/GB per month for next 150TB
  • $0.08/GB per month for next  300TB
  • $0.075/GB per month for next 524TB
  • Over 1,024TB contact Rackspace

Bandwidth

  • First 10 TB: $0.10/GB
  • 10-50TB: $0.09/GB
  • 50-150TB: $0.07/GB
  • 150-300TB:$.045/GB
  • 300-524TB: $.035/GB
  • 524TB-5PB: $.025/GB
  • Over 1,024TB: contact Rackspace

Note: Bandwidth pricing is for North America and based on monthly usage

Request Fees

  • HTTP – $.0075
  • HTTPS – $.01

Note: Request fee pricing is per 10,000 requests to the edge for North America

CacheFly Review

#3

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CacheFly is used by big name companies like LG, Adobe, and Microsoft, which indicates they have the scale to support very large websites. With an easy 10 minute setup, you’ll get real-time reporting and access to 24/7 customer support.

The downside is CacheFly’s pricing is more expensive than other CDNs.

Pros

Cons

  • Integrates with WordPress, Joomla and Drupal
  • Delivery from 40+ global POP’s
  • 10 minute set up
  • 100% uptime guaranteed
  • 24/7 customer service
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • 14 day free trial
  • Trusted by big tech companies including LG, Adobe, and Microsoft
  • Expensive
  • Lack of CMS documentation/ integration support

CacheFly Price

  • First 10TB: $0.100/GB per month (always this price per month for the first 10TB)
  • Additional 10 – 30TB: $0.060/GB
  • Additional 30 -50TB: $0.054/GB
  • Additional 50 – 150TB: $0.043/GB
  • Additional 150 – 500TB: $0.030/GB
  • Additional 500 – 1PB: $0.027/GB
  • Additional 1 – 2PB: $0.024/GB
  • More than 2PB usage/mo: $0.022/GB

Note: Pricing is for North America and Europe and based on monthly usage

 

Other CDN Reviews

Click on one of the companies below to jump to a specific CDN provider review.

Akamai | AWS | Azure | CDN77 | CloudCacheCloudFlare | EdgeCast | Fastly | Incapsula | jsDelivr | Linode | Parse | Photon by Jetpack | TinyCDN

Akamai Review

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Akamai is a huge name in the CDN world. However, while researching this company, we found their site to be abit confusing. Akamai doesn’t offer a free trial or an uptime guarantee which is something you’ll definitely want in a CDN.

Their pricing isn’t listed either, however, they must be doing something right because this company has tons of customers and continues to grow rapidly.

Pros

Cons

  • Live chat, phone and email support
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • AirBNB and Warby Parker are customers
  • No uptime guarantee
  • No free trial
  • Pricing is not listed online

Akamai Price

Pricing is not listed online for Akamai.

AWS Review

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides two of the most common CDNs available and has numerous distribution centers. Enterprise level businesses would gain the most benefit from Amazon because of the size and price. Amazon CloudFront tends to be more expensive than Amazon S3 but both are very reliable CDNs.

Amazon CloudFront is a CDN that takes its data from Amazon S3. It replicates the S3 data in different locations, so when users request and object they are routed to the nearest edge location for the highest performance. If your users are all over the world you’ll want to go with CloudFront. CloudFront also allows you the option of setting different domain aliases.

Pros

Cons

  • Two of the most reliable CDNs out there
  • Integrates with WordPress, Drupal and Sitecore
  • Easy to use
  • No minimum fee
  • No contracts
  • Free plan with limited features
  • Used by Netflix and Expedia
  • No 100% uptime guarantee
  • Support costs extra
  • No SSL
  • No real-time reporting
  • Control over cached content is limited

Amazon Web Service Price

Amazon CloudFront pricing is based on location. Below are the prices for the United States.

  • First 10TB: $0.085/GB
  • Next 40TB/month: $0.080/GB
  • Next 100TB/month: $0.060/GB
  • Next 350TB/month: $0.040/GB
  • Next 524TB/month: $0.030/GB
  • Next 4PB/month: $0.025/GB
  • Over 5PB/month: $0.020/GB
  • Free plan available with limited features and services

Amazon S3 pricing is below for standard storage. Go to Amazon Web Service’s webpage to see reduced redundancy storage and glacier storage prices.

  • First 1TB/month: $0.0300/GB
  • Next 49TB/month: $0.0295/GB
  • Next 450TB/month: $0.0290/GB
  • Next 500TB/month: $0.0285/GB
  • Next 4000TB/month: $0.0280/GB
  • Over 5000TB/month: $0.0275/GB
  • Free plan available with limited features and services

Azure Review

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Azure is another big name when it comes to CDN’s. Azure is a Microsoft product and has a big reputation to hold up to. With a name like Microsoft behind the product, you expect big things, and Azure holds up to the name well.

Paying for tech support and not offering SSL kept them from making our top 3.

Pros

Cons

  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • Free trial
  • NBC and 3M are customers
  • Tech support is an extra $29/month
  • No SSL

Azure Price

Standard CDN Outbound Data Transfers

 Zone 1: North America and EuropeZone 2: Asia Pacific (including Japan)Zone 3: South AmericaZone 4: AustraliaZone 5: India
First 10 TB per Month$0.087 per GB$0.138 per GB$0.25 per GB$0.14 per GB$0.17 per GB
10-50 TB per Month$0.08 per GB$0.13 per GB$0.20 per GB$0.135 per GB$0.13 per GB
50-150 TB per Month$0.06 per GB$0.12 per GB$0.18 per GB$0.12 per GB$0.11 per GB
150-500 TB per Month$0.04 per GB$0.10 per GB$0.16 per GB$0.10 per GB$0.10 per GB
500-1,024 TB per Month$0.03 per GB$0.08 per GB$0.14 per GB$0.095 per GBContact Azure
1,024-5,120 TB per Month$0.025 per GB$0.07 per GB$0.13 per GB$0.09 per GBContact Azure
Over 5,120 TB per MonthContact AzureContact AzureContact AzureContact AzureContact Azure

Premium CDN Outbound Data Transfers

 Zone 1: North America and EuropeZone 2: Asia Pacific (including Japan)Zone 3: South AmericaZone 4: AustraliaZone 5: India
First 10 TB per Month$0.17 per GB$0.25 per GB$0.50 per GB$0.28 per GB$0.34 per GB
10-50 TB per Month$0.15 per GB$0.22 per GB$0.425 per GB$0.24 per GB$0.29 per GB
50-150 TB per Month$0.13 per GB$0.19 per GB$0.36 per GB$0.20 per GB$0.245 per GB
150-500 TB per Month$0.11 per GB$0.16 per GB$0.30 per GB$0.17 per GB$0.21 per GB
500-1,024 TB per Month$0.10 per GB$0.14 per GB$0.26 per GB$0.145 per GBContact Azure
1,024-5,120 TB per Month$0.09 per GB$0.12 per GB$0.225 per GB$0.125 per GBContact Azure
Over 5,120 TB per MonthContact AzureContact AzureContact AzureContact AzureContact Azure

CDN77 Review

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If your website is heavy in sharing HD video content, you may have found your CDN here. Although it is one of the newest CDNs it is starting off on the right foot. Fast, high quality video streaming and the simplicity of integration with CMS’s are among the top reasons it appeals to users.

Pros

Cons

  • Support HTTP/2
  • Free SSL
  • Great for video blogging because it offers specialized services for HD video streaming
  • Takes less than 5 minutes to configure
  • Easy CMS integration with WordPress, Magneto, Drupal, Joomla, and Social Engine
  • Customizable
  • Easy to use
  • 24/7 customer support
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • 14 day free trial
  • Has been in business for 5 years, but sister company SuperHosting has been for 10 years
  • Slower than competitors, but not by much
  • No uptime guarantee

CDN77 Price

Pricing for CDN77 is based on location. Below is the Pay As You Go pricing for USA and Europe based on traffic.

  • Under 30TB: $49/TB per month
  • 31TB – 100TB: $45/TB per month
  • 101TB – 500TB: $35/TB per month
  • over 501TB: contact for pricing

High Volume Plan pricing is as follows for USA and Europe.

  • Activate up to 6 data centers
    • 500TB Traffic – $5,975/month
    • 1PB Traffic – $10,875/month
    • 2PB Traffic – $17,984/month
  • Full access to over 17 data centers
    • 500TB Traffic – $7,985/month
    • 1PB Traffic – $14,776/month
    • 2PB Traffic – $25,885/month

CDN77 Storage

Storage pricing for CDN77 is based on location as well and is charged monthly. Below is the pricing for Central Europe, US East Coast, US West Coast, and Asia-Singapore.

  • 50GB Free
  • 150GB $20/month
  • 500GB $60/month
  • 1TB $99/month
  • 2TB $190/month
  • 5TB $425/month

CloudCache Review

CloudCache recently merged with MaxCDN. See our review of MaxCDN for pros, cons and pricing (the CloudCache brand is no longer in operation).

CloudFlare Review

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CloudFlare has a great reputation and has been around for more than 15 years. It offers free as well as commercial cloud-based services, which helps make your website faster and more secure.

When using CloudFlare, performance is increased while spam and other attacks are decreased.

Pros

Cons

  • Stats about your visitors
  • Been around for over 15 years
  • Works with any CMS
  • Customization available for Business and Enterprise
  • 100% uptime guarantee for Business and Enterprise accounts
  • 24/7 phone support for Enterprise
  • SSL for paid plans
  • Real-time reporting for paid plans
  • Free plan available
  • Customers include Reddit and eHarmony
  • Must pay extra for features like 24/7 support, 100% uptime guarantee and customization
  • No contracts (but you can negotiate an agreement if you ask)
  • Can get expensive depending on the number of sites or level of CloudFlare

CloudFlare Price

CloudFlare does its pricing differently. It doesn’t charge you based on bandwidth. Instead you are charged by the number of websites the service covers.

  • CloudFlare Pro $20/month and $5 per additional website
  • CloudFlare Business $200/month
  • CloudFlare Enterprise starts at $3,000/month
  • Free plan available

Verizon EdgeCast Review

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Verizon recently bought EdgeCast so some items may change but, here’s what we know about them from the past. EdgeCast does a great job for any size company but truly excels with larger sites.

Because of its great reputation, it is clear why EdgeCast is used by big name tech companies like Bitdefender and Mozilla. EdgeCast has many great features including security, edge optimizer and caching.

Pros

Cons

  • Reliable
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • 24/7 support
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • Free trial
  • Used by Bitdefender, Mozilla, Atari and JetBlue
  • We could not find any CMS integrations
  • Contracts
  • Pricing is not on website

EdgeCast Price

Pricing for EdgeCast is not available on the site. You must contact them directly.

Fastly Review

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Fastly offers the basics when it comes to a CDN. Nothing really stands out to us. More specifically, they only offer email support which deters us a bit since email isn’t the quickest form of support. So if something happened to your website you’d probably have a longer wait until you got someone to get your site back up.

Pros

Cons

  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contract
  • Free trial (up to $50 of traffic tested)
  • Fast Company and Twitter use Fastly
  • No uptime guarantee
  • Email support only

Fastly Price

Fastly bills a minimum of $50/month based on your badwidth and usage

We bill our customers a minimum of $50 per month based on the combined total of your bandwidth and request usage.

Per GB RateNorth AmericaEuropeAustralia & New ZealandAsia-PacificBrazilOther Areas
First 10 TB$0.12$0.12$0.19$0.19$0.280Contact sales@fastly.com
Beyond 10 TB$0.08$0.08$0.14$0.14$0.240Contact sales@fastly.com

TLS/SSL Secure Connections

  • Shared Domain Service: Free
  • Shared Certificate Service: $500 initial setup, $500 add/change/remove domain, $100/month for 1 domain
  • Shared Wildcard Certificate Service: $500 initial setup, $500 add/change/remove domain, $275/month for 1 wildcard
  • Customer Certificate Hosting Service: $2,000 initial setup, $1,200 add/change/remove domain, $1,500/month for 1 certificate

Incapsula Review

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Incapsula offers website security, DDoS protection, and a web application firewall. The simple setup is one of the many reasons users love it. Freelance web developers and agencies are also heavy users of this service. There is even a free plan available if you wish to test the waters.

Pros

Cons

  • Monitors the overall health of your website
  • Integrates with WordPress, Joomla and more
  • 24/7 support for Enterprise only
  • SSL for any paid plan
  • Real time event monitoring
  • Real-time reporting for Enterprise only
  • No contracts
  • 7-14 day free trial
  • Used by Wix and GE
  • Fewer distribution centers compared to MaxCDN and Amazon
  • Must upgrade plans for features that competitors give with basic plans
  • No uptime guarantee

Incapsula Price

  • Free Plan
  • Pro Plan: $59/month per site
  • Business Plan: $299/month per site
  • Enterprise Plan available, contact Incapsula

jsDelivr Review

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jsDelivr is a completely free CDN provider open to anyone. MaxCDN and CDN.net have combined their powers and are now jsDelivr’s CDN providers. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information that could be found about jsDelivr, which makes it seem like it isn’t highly used.

Pros

Cons

  • Completely free
  • Cloud based
  • Powerful network
  • WordPress integration
  • SSL
  • Real-time reporting
  • No contracts
  • Not a lot of information online about them
  • No uptime guarantee
  • No 24/7 support

jsDelivr Price

  • Free

Linode Review

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Linode displays their features in an easy to read way on their website. They clearly state what they offer, which is refreshing.

They don’t offer anything unique to make them stand out which is why they are not in our top 3.

Pros

Cons

  • Site is easy to navigate
  • Email and phone support
  • Real-time reporting
  • 7 day trial period
  • No uptime guarantee

Linode Price

Linode bundles CPU, transfer, storage and RAM into one price. Below are the different plans available.

Plan NameLinode 1GBLinode 2GBLinode 4GBLinode 8GBLinode 16GBLinode 32GBLinode 48GBLinode 64GBLinode 96GB
Price$10/month$20/month$40/month$80/month$160/month$320/month$480/month$640/month$960/month
RAM1GB2GB4GB8GB16GB32GB48GB64GB96GB
CPU Core1246812162020
SSD Storage24GB48GB96GB192GB384GB768GB1152GB1536GB1920GB
Transfer2TB3TB4TB8TB16TB20TB20TB20TB20TB
Network In40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps40 Gbps
Network Out125 Mbps250 Mbps500 Mbps1,000 Mbps2,000 Mbps4,000 Mbps6,000 Mbps8,000 Mbps10,000 Mbps

If you go over your network transfer quota you are charged $0.02/GB. Inbound traffic is free and does not count against your quota.

Parse Review

Parse is unique in that it’s mostly for developers and their apps. For this article, we decided not to post pros and cons.

Photon by Jetpack Review

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Photon is a WordPress-only image caching service and is great at what it does. Most WordPress users rely on Jetpack for site statistics and the many other great features it has to offer.

If sharing pictures is what you mainly do, Photon is a good choice for you. However, there are many features it is missing, so if you’re looking for a more robust solution you may want to look elsewhere.

Pros

Cons

  • SSL
  • Completely free, no contracts
  • Only works with WordPress sites
  • More of a social, image-sharing tool vs. a fully robust CDN
  • When installed it activates a lot of plugins which slow your computer speed, but these can be disabled
  • No uptime guarantee
  • No 24/7 support

Jetpack Price

  • Free

TinyCDN Review

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TinyCDN is a very affordable CDN. It has a fast setup and is easy to implement on your site. You can rely on TinyCDN to speed up your sites. However, they do not have many of the features that you expect in a CDN provider so you may want to look at other options.

Pros

Cons

  • Very reliable
  • Relies on Amazon Web Services to offer CDN
  • Easy to use interface
  • No contracts
  • Free trial of 1GB transfer and 100MB storage
  • Best for small to medium size networks, not enterprise level
  • No CMS integrations
  • No uptime guarantee
  • No 24/7 support
  • No SSL
  • No real-time reporting

TinyCDN Price

  • Starter Kit is $9.95/month and offers 500MB storage and 10GB transfer
  • Tiny is $29.95/month and offers 10GB storage and 100GB transfer
  • Small is $59.95/month and offers 50GB storage and 200GB transfer
  • Medium is $299.95/month and offers 250GB storage and 1TB transfer
  • Free Plan offers 100 MB storage and 1GB transfer

Terms & Definitions

Below are some terms you may want to know the meaning of when dealing with CDNs.

  • Bandwidth – the amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a period of time. The higher the bandwidth the better performance achieved.
  • CMS (Content Management System) – a computer program that allows you to publish, edit, and modify content from a central interface. Examples: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, etc.
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – an attack causing denial of service for users of the targeted system. The large amount of incoming messages to the target system forces it to shut down, which denies service to actual users.
  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) – protocol that is commonly used for managing the security on the Internet for message transmissions.
  • Web Application Firewall (WAF) – this controls the input, output, and access to, from, or by an application or service. The WAF monitors the system service call and blocks the ones that don’t meet the configured policy of the firewall.

How to Choose the Best CDN Provider for You

When choosing a CDN provider you need to take a few things into consideration: speed, bandwidth, real-time monitoring, price, etc. It’s going to be different for each person and company. Some CDN providers do best with enterprise size sites while others do great with smaller ones.

Why are you considering adding a CDN to your web development setup?

Kimberly has always enjoyed testing out the latest tech gadgets and loves seeing how things evolve. She’s a fast learner when it comes to the latest fads and likes sharing her findings with others. Although she loves technology, she also enjoys escaping the online world and likes to spend time outside away from the gadgets.

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Junade Ali
Hi, I work at CloudFlare, I just wanted to respond to the cons on this post:

– Must pay extra for features like 24/7 support, 100% uptime guarantee and customization
We don’t charge on the basis of bandwidth, we charge on the basis of features. 24/7 there is always someone looking at our free queue, but we do address tickets with priority to our Enterprise/Business customers. We are flat rate on bandwidth, we believe that if your site comes under attack or goes viral, you should not have to pay a penny extra; we therefore make our money on the basis of upselling premium features; this is one of the things which makes us different. Customization features are available on our $20 a month Pro plans.

– No contracts
Our team are more than happy to help you negotiate a bespoke agreement with us.

– Can get expensive depending on the number of sites or level of CloudFlare
If you have a large amount of sites coming onto our network, our Enterprise team or Partners team can help here, we can even negotiate a good partnership agreement with you.

Above this; we offer support for HTTP/2 Server Push, Web Sockets. For Business and Enterprise customers we are able to deliver. Moreover, our security functionality is second-to-none, we have kept sites online despite record breaking DDOS attacks.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks

Brian Jackson
Very surprised not to see KeyCDN in this list as they were one of the first to launch HTTP/2 support and Let’s Encrypt integration. I recommend checking them out.
ITforLaw
I’m the IT Manager of a law firm and have been trying to convince the powers that be that we need a CDN for our sites but to no avail. Going to share this article in hopes it will help convince them otherwise. Plus, we already use Verizon for our wireless and phone systems so I wonder if they can bundle it into one package so we can save a little too?