An opportunity came up this week where a client of a company that I consult with was working with a designer. The designer made some rather harsh comments about how Cloudflare was not a true CND and was “Useless”.
I do agree the Cloudflare is not a true CDN, or Content Delivery Network, but it is hardly useless. I took a look at the client’s usage and it would be easy to move them to a full CDN, the cost for Cloudflare was free, the cost for a full CDN would be about $300 a month.
Which would be better a “True” CDN or Cloudflare? Well, they are different things. A CDN would be much faster than Cloudflare, a true CDN like Akamai would be far faster, but far more expensive. Cloudflare is better than nothing, reduces bandwidth usage, works like a CDN and has a security appliance built in. If you are looking to reduce bandwidth, increase security and speed up the site, the Cloudflare will do it. If you need to greatly increase the speed of your website and have a budget that will support $300-600 a month, then Akamai is a great choice.
I’m sure Cloudflare would argue that if you get a pay plan, rather than the free one, it would also be faster and still cheaper than Akamai. Maybe so, my experience has been that Cloudflare greatly reduces bandwidth and increases security, with some extra speed advantage.