MaxCDN recently posted a comparison of the top 6 CDN providers on the market (according to Datanyze) on their blog. The post is pretty detailed and for the most part accurate, but is missing some data. I took the liberty of filling in a few of the blanks (my updates in bold) and adding some additional commentary below.
Comparison of CDN Features
The first section in their comparison is CDN features. This is probably the most important section and the one where I was able to fill in the most N/A slots due to my knowledge of Akamai and Verizon’s offerings. Take a look:
Below are the different SSL products offered by the 6 CDNs. There were fewer unanswered slots here but I was still able to fill in a few blanks.
The table below shows pricing for the 3 CDNs that publicly share their bandwidth rates online. Amazon and Fastly use a stair-step billing model where you pay X rate until you reach the next tier and then the rate decreases for any additional usage from there. MaxCDN bills you the rate listed for the entire amount of data transfer (example below).
*CloudFlare plans are publicly listed on their website, but they do not bill based on bandwidth. They have plans that go from free up to Enterprise, with Enterprise plans starting around $5,000/month.
Verizon and Akamai pricing have gotten much more competitive recently, especially at higher volumes. At low volume you’ll likely pay less with a company like MaxCDN or CloudFlare. At higher volume Verizon and Akamai may be on par or even lower than what you’re seeing here (depending on geography and type of traffic).
Per-Gigabyte Pricing Examples
The graphic below is a nice simple visualization of what you’ll pay as your volume scales up:
The interesting thing here is that Fastly is nearly always the more expensive CDN, even though they have one of the smallest networks on the market in terms of footprint and network capacity (not to discount their performance or feature set).
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that all of these companies offer special rates if you contact them directly and negotiate. Depending on your traffic volume and length of commitment, you may end up paying significantly less than the rates you’re seeing here.
*The charts below are based on pricing for HTTP requests in the United States only
These costs are more or less negligible in most cases unless you’re running a site like Twitter that does billions of requests every day. Also note that while Akamai, CloudFlare, and Verizon do not explicitly charge for HTTP requests, they do factor the type of traffic and number of requests into the equation when negotiating rates (HTTP video traffic will be noticeably cheaper than HTTPS small object traffic at the same volume).
So there you have it. While this information doesn’t tell you much about performance or support (which should be your main decision criteria), it gives you a nice starting point for comparing a few of the major providers on the market today.
Each of these CDNs has their own strengths and weaknesses, and there is definitely no one size fits all solution that will work for everyone. Do your research and always take advantage of the free trial period to validate performance and kick the tires before making your decision.