Using a CDN August 10, 2020 by Yulia Nazarenko

Top 10 CDN Providers for Media-Heavy Platforms

Pick One to Deliver Faster.

If you google “CDN”, you’ll probably get overwhelmed by the number of search results and ads. Choosing a provider there can be a real bummer, especially if quality content delivery is at the core of your business.

To help you out, we reviewed the most popular CDNs and tried to narrow the list down to the ones that are best optimized for image uploading, processing and delivery. If you’re looking for some quick answers, scroll down and check out the comparison table with key features and pricing.

1. Google Cloud CDN

  • Website: cloud.google.com/cdn.
  • The free plan includes $300 in free credits.
  • The price for the first 10 TB for North America is $0.08 per GB.

Google Cloud CDN is a part of the Google Cloud Platform and features all the benefits of the global Google ecosystem: it activates instantly for Cloud Load Balancing users and can be easily integrated with other cloud services like Storage, Logging and Monitoring.

The CDN is backed up by global external HTTP(s) load balancing with bells and whistles like smart routing, intelligent backend selection, and health checking.

Pros:

  • This CDN supports protocols like HTTP/2 and QUIC to improve mobile performance, which is important if you plan to serve emerging markets.
  • Its anycast API provides global distribution with a single global IP address. 
  • A website can be secured to HTTP(S) with an SSL certificate at no additional cost.

Cons:

The pricing is calculated individually and depends on whether your content is cacheable or not. If it is, you’ll pay for cache egress and cache fill, HTTP(S) cache lookup requests, invalidation, and requests to custom origins. There’s a pricing calculator to come up with an estimate.

Google Cloud Platform web interface
Google Cloud Platform web interface

2. Fastly

  • Website: fastly.com/products/cdn
  • The free plan includes $50 of traffic.
  • The price for the first 10 TB for North America is $0.12 per GB.

This content network claims to be built smarter, not larger. It’s composed of strategically distributed high-density points of presence (POPs) which enable Fastly to serve more from cache.

The service claims to have 100 Tbps of connected global capacity and is able to serve highly dynamic content seamlessly thanks to its cache purging and cache control feature.

Pros:

  • The platform is API-first and offers to make changes and roll back code instantly.
  • There’s an image optimizing feature, but you’ll have to contact the sales department to request access. 
  • There’s a Video CDN option that facilitates on-demand video playback and live streaming.

Cons:

  • To manage Fastly, you’ll have to use VCL, and the learning curve for some advanced adjustments can be steep.
  • No content library.

The CDN is deployed in three steps: just create a service, then add a domain and a hostname. The web interface is split into two parts: Stats and Configure. The Stats dashboard can be viewed in real time or historically.

Fastly web interface: real-time stats dashboard
Fastly web interface

When it comes to pricing, it’s a pay-per-usage service with monthly renewal. There’s a price calculator to estimate the price according to your forecasted bandwidth and number of file requests.

3. Cloudflare

  • Website: cloudflare.com
  • The forever free plan has no limit on the amount of bandwidth or websites.
  • The pricing starts at $20 per domain per month for the Pro plan.

This CDN takes advantage of more than 200 data centers in 95 countries; so far, it’s one of the largest networks that ensure a global reach. On top of that, the platform offers sophisticated DDOS protection and free SSL.

The setup differs from other CDNs: add your domain, choose a pricing plan and zone settings, then update your DNS nameservers and the platform will kick in automatically.

Pros:

  • Cloudflare can be customized with Page Rules, so you can specify the behavior of URLs and decide what gets cached and for how long. You can set 3 Page Rules on the free plan and 20 if you upgrade to the Pro.
  • The service offers a set of addons for fast video delivery, image optimization, smart routing and security.
  • You can transform images on Cloudflare’s edge platform: resize, adjust quality, convert to WebP format, or make them responsive. The service will cache images at the edge, but you’ll have to store them in your origin.

Cons:

  • Lack of support. If you’re on the free plan, you’ll have to file a ticket and wait for at least 24 hours. 
  • No content storage.
Cloudflare web interface: analytics dashboard
Cloudflare web interface

4. Imagekit.io

  • Website: imagekit.io
  • The forever free plan is limited to 20 GB of bandwidth per month.
  • The pricing starts at $49 per month, including 40 GB of bandwidth per month.

Imagekit.io offers an image processing infrastructure and a CDN composed of 150 nodes distributed worldwide.

If the first three services featured in this post are focused mainly on caching and website protection, this one aims to provide a better customer experience by creating a media pipeline and serving optimized content.

Pros: 

  • It’s a ready-to-use infrastructure and a media library with automatic backups. You can upload images to the library via an uploader or API method.
  • Apart from standard cropping and resizing, there’s a set of advanced image adjustments like blur, rotate, overlays and background transforms. You can also use chained transformations to trigger a series of transformations and name them.
  • There’s a performance center to monitor your website on desktop and mobile.

Cons:

  • Video formats are not supported.
  • The overall interface, dashboard and layouts could be more fine-tuned.
Imagekit.io setup interface
Imagekit.io setup interface

5. Cloudimage

  • Website: cloudimage.io
  • The free plan is limited to a 25 GB image cache and 25 GB of traffic per month.
  • The pricing starts at $32 per month, then pay as you go at $0.75 per GB.

Image speed means revenue. Cloudimage is one of the CDNs that talk business, explaining on their website how you can increase revenues by delivering optimized visual content. This platform is focused on media delivery, easy image resizing and optimization.

Pros:

  • The service uses AI-based image compression aimed at finding the most optimal compression factor for each image and reaching the best perceived quality.
  • Easily implemented by adding a token to URLs or using plugins for JS, React, and other frameworks, or WordPress.

Cons:

  • No support for video or other file formats.
  • No file uploader.
Cloudimage CDN web interface
Cloudimage CDN web interface

6. Cloudinary

  • Website: cloudinary.com
  • The forever free plan is limited to one user and 25 credits equal to 1 GB of storage and cache, 500 seconds of video processing and 1,000 image transformations.
  • The pricing starts at $89 per month.

Cloudinary offers image and video management solutions to streamline content management workflow and bring users a better experience. Apart from file uploading, storage and optimization, it includes a digital asset management tool to collaborate and publish faster.

Pros:

  • The platform is partnered with three global CDNs, so you can switch from one to another without integration and maintenance hassle. 
  • There’s a vast range of tools for video optimization and delivery, including video transcoding, video manipulation in the cloud, smooth streaming, and a custom video player.

Cons:

  • The web interface is quite complex and cluttered.
  • You pay for features that you probably won’t use.
Cloudinary web interface: main dashboard
Cloudinary web interface

7. Sirv

  • Website: sirv.com.
  • The forever free plan is limited to 3 users and 0.5 GB of storage.
  • The pricing starts at $19 per month with a 30-day trial.

Sirv is an image hosting, optimization and delivery platform. This CDN seems pretty much ecommerce focused and claims to save your data even if a tornado strikes.

Sirv offers 360-degree spins and high-resolution zooms to show products in the best possible light. This is extremely helpful in ecommerce: such product demos can decrease the amount of returns and boost engagement on social media.

Pros:

  • This is one of our top 10 CDN providers which has some of the best feedback about the efficiency of their customer support.
  • You can create profiles to apply a set of effects to a batch of images. 

Cons:

  • Sirv has only 18 locations around the world, and many developers recommend to use it in pair with another CDN if speed and file hosting is your priority.
  • The free plan puts a “Powered by Sirv” label on your website.
Sirv web interface: content library
Sirv web interface

8. Bunny CDN

  • Website: bunnycdn.com.
  • The free plan includes 1 TB of traffic.
  • The price for the first 10 TB for Europe and North America is $0.01 per GB.

This CDN calls itself disruptive because of its simple pricing model and flexibility in terms of pull zones: it allows you to leverage points of presence and pay less for regional coverage. There are special features to handle video and a Bunny Optimizer to enhance images on the go.

Pros:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing plan with $1 minimum and unlimited websites. The service also has overcharge protection enabling you to set bandwidth limits.
  • Everything’s clear: pricing and usage are very transparent, and the UI looks fresh and uncluttered.

Cons:

  • The Bunny Optimizer, a tool that helps to optimize and change images with URL query parameters, is not included in the standard pricing and costs $9.50 per month per website.
  • There’s no live support chat, just a ticketing system.

Apart from offering flexible regional pricing, the platform offers a special price for high bandwidth clients, starting at $0.005 per GB for the first 500 TB.

Bunny CDN web interface: adding pull zones
Bunny CDN web interface

9. Imgix

  • Website: imgix.com.
  • The free plan includes $10 account credits for three months.
  • The pricing is pay-as-you-go and starts at $3 per 1,000 images processed, plus $0.08 per GB.

Imgix is the only platform from our top 10 CDN providers which builds its pricing around the amount of images processed, and offers a fixed bandwidth cost regardless of the region. Image transformations are limitless.

Pros:

  • Imgix has a well-developed image management solution with robust visual search, browsing and ML-powered auto-tagging. 
  • The development docs and tutorials are well structured.

Cons:

  • There’s a $10 minimum to maintain the account; you’ll be billed even if you don’t use it. 
  • There are no add-ons or tools to handle videos.
Imgix setup screen
Imgix setup screen

10. Uploadcare

Uploadcare is a bi-directional CDN, which means that it speeds up both upload and delivery. So, if your business is built around user generated content (UGC), get ready for superfast uploads and better user experience on any device.

The platform is easily deployed and automated. Setting it up is simple, and then you get a high-performance media pipeline which takes on all the file handling routine: receiving, managing, storing, processing, and serving content to your end users. 

When it comes to images and videos, it allows you to make 70+ types of transformations on the fly, using only URL parameters. There are also AI-driven face and object recognition options that can automate the management of the UGC.

One of the unique product features is Adaptive Delivery, which automatically improves user experience based on context: location, device, browser and more. This means that all media will be delivered to the end users responsively and with the best possible balance of data and quality.

Pros:

  • The platform is backed up by three traditional CDNs: Akamai, Cloudfront and KeyCDN, ensuring constant speed and performance.
  • Uploadcare works with any type of media, including video and text files with personal data.
  • Uploads are safe and secure. Signed uploads and URLs empower you to control when and who can upload or download the content. The service is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, so you can collect and deliver documents of any kind.
  • All the features are included in the pricing and are enabled right away.
  • The UI is clean and clear, and so is the documentation.
  • Customer support service is available via email or live chat.

Cons:

  • You tell us! 🙂
Uploadcare web interface
Uploadcare web interface

As you see, there are a couple of different types of CDN. First, there are traditional CDNs like Google Cloud CDN or Fastly. They focus mainly on website security, caching and fast content delivery.

Then, there are image CDNs like Uploadcare, Cloudimage or Imagekit.io, which provide a ready-to-integrate media pipeline with image adjustments on the fly. If an image CDN is what you really need, here’s a short recap and comparison of those services from our review:

Uploadcare Cloudflare Imagekit.io Cloudimage Cloudinary Sirv Bunny CDN Imgix
Image and video processing Images, videos and text files.

Bonus: UC Intelligence for object recognition.
Both images and videos; you’ll have to install addons. Images only. Images only. Both images and videos. Images and 360 spins only. Images and videos. Images only.
Image and video optimization and transformation +

Bonus: Adaptive Delivery option.
+ + + + + + +
Image and video delivery Powered by Akamai, Cloudfront and KeyCDN with 216 data centers worldwide. 200 data centers in 95 countries, including China. 150 nodes worldwide. Multi-CDN strategy with over 1,000 PoPs. Powered by 3 CDNs: Fastly, Akamai and CloudFront. 18 locations around the world. 41 global data centers. More than 40 data centers.
Cloud storage + + + + + + +
Upload widget to receive UGC

+

Bonus: UC File Uploader fits any website and automatically adjust to your design
+
Free plan Individual free plans for developers, startups at MVP and pre-release stages, and non-profits. Forever free, no bandwidth limitations. 20 GB per month. 25 GB per month, cache and storage. 25 credits which is 1 GB of storage and cache, 500 seconds of video processing, and 1,000 image transformations. Limited to 3 users and 0.5 GB of storage. The free plan includes 1 TB of traffic. Includes $10 account credits for three months.
Pricing Subscription, from $45 per month. Subscription, from $20 per month. Subscription, from $49 per month. Subscription, from $32 per month. Subscription, from $89 per month. Subscription, from $19 per month. The price for the first 10 TB for Europe and North America is $0.01 per GB. Pay-as-you-go and starts at $3 per 1,000 images processed plus $0.08 per GB.

Wrapping up

There’s a variety of traditional and image CDNs that can help speed up your website and create a better customer experience. To make the right choice, set up and evaluate your goals, budgets and expectations.

If your ambition is to solve your file handling problems once and for all, opt for Uploadcare. We stand for the “developers for developers” philosophy; with us, you can declutter, streamline and automate the file handling process so you can focus on the core of your business. Sign up and see the Uploadcare magic happen!

Tags
Leave a comment

*

*