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Cloudways CDN vs Cloudflare CDN (2021): Which CDN Is Better For You?

Content Delivery Networks have become invaluable in today’s high-speed internet world. Websites without CDNs are left in the dust by those that do, since having servers around the globe delivering site assets is crucial in giving visitors an excellent user experience. Comparing CDNs is a bit tricky since there are no established benchmarks for them, but we’ll cover the most important points when considering between Cloudways CDN vs Cloudflare CDN below.

Cloudways CDN vs Cloudflare CDN Comparison Chart

NameCloudways CDNCloudflare CDN
 Cloudways logoCloudflare logo
PricingCheck Pricing at Cloudways.comCheck Pricing at Cloudflare.com
Pricing Tiers13
Points of Presence45200
OverheadCacheable onlyAll requests
Initial Congestion Window32 packets10 packets
Asset OptimizationNoYes
Argo Smart RoutingNoYes
DDoS ProtectionYesYes
Free VersionNoYes

Features

Cloudways CDN is only available with Cloudways hosting while Cloudflare CDN can be used with any hosting provider.

CDNs essentially rocket-boost your website’s loading speed for visitors across the globe.

The most relevant difference between Cloudways CDN and Cloudflare is that you can only get Cloudways CDN as an add-on for your Cloudways-hosted site while Cloudflare can be installed on any hosting provider. This is because Cloudways CDN simply partnered with StackPath CDN (previously MaxCDN) to provide their customers a global CDN network, while Cloudflare itself has built their own infrastructure and global CDN presence.

In addition, you can use Cloudflare as your CDN even on a site hosted by Cloudways. On the other hand, Cloudflare doesn’t provide web hosting services. Aside from that, StackPath is a traditional CDN, so it only stores cacheable requests. Non-cacheable requests are never redirected to the Cloudways CDN, saving overhead for larger websites. In comparison, Cloudflare requires all requests to be proxied via their CDN. Overhead is a bit higher as a result, since requests will travel even though they’re non-cacheable.

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Cloudflare includes website asset optimizations for your site even without tweaking any caching settings. These include HTTP/2, TLS 1.3 and static images for mobile devices. Cloudways CDN doesn’t have this optimization feature, though WordPress users can simply rely on cache plugins to achieve similar results. Additionally, Cloudways has advanced cache-control along with intelligent purging.

Coverage

Cloudflare CDN has a wider geographical reach than Cloudways CDN.

Here’s a map of Cloudflare’s Points of Presence around the world.

With over 200 server locations in 100 countries, Cloudflare has a much bigger network than Cloudways CDN, which only has 45 full-stack edge locations around the world. Moreover, StackPath doesn’t have PoPs in South and West Asia (includes India and nearby countries) and Africa. Cloudflare has 50 servers in these regions, making it highly desirable if you have a large audience there.

The CDN servers for each network mark their Points of Presence (PoP) which function as nodes for data caching and storage. Typically, the closer a site visitor is to a PoP caching the site, the faster its assets will be delivered. While Cloudflare has a definite advantage in the regions mentioned above, it’s balanced by the slightly higher overhead. Also, if a location is covered by both CDN networks, the speed difference between them will depend on many other factors, including page size, site hosting, etc.

Performance

Cloudways CDN has slightly better performance and less overhead than Cloudflare CDN.

Integrating Cloudways CDN is very simple.

Because of how CDNs work, there are no easy ways or metrics to compare their performance objectively. There are several factors at work, including the request type, client location, content being accessed, etc. One popular metric used by most experts though is initcwnd or TCP initial congestion window. This controls the amount of data that can be sent before getting a response from the network, effectively impacting download speeds and loading time. Cloudways CDN has the advantage here, as its initcwnd value is 32 packets while Cloudflare is only 10 packets.

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Also impactful in CDN performance is the overhead previously discussed, which Cloudways has the advantage in as well. Still, it’s important to note that depending on the type of content being accessed, either CDN network might have an edge due to how they work. Sites with a lot of static content such as images will likely perform better on Cloudways CDN, since it only stores cacheable static assets. Those with more dynamic content, such as web apps with workflows, can complete more rapidly on Cloudflare, as it caches both static and HTML content, especially from farther locations.

Plans and Pricing

Cloudways CDN is more affordable, though Cloudflare has a free plan.

It doesn’t get any simpler than Cloudways CDN’s pricing.

Cloudways makes it CDN pricing very simple: you pay a fixed amount for 25GB every month, and every GB over it costs a few cents more. For most small websites, this is easily affordable and cost-efficient. Of course, this doesn’t beat Cloudflare’s free plan in terms of cost, though the free plan is limited in terms of features (no asset optimization, for one) and you’re on low priority support, with email response times taking at least 24 hours.

Cloudflare has three premium tiers for their CDN: Pro, Business and Enterprise. The Pro plan is intended for most professionals who develop and optimize sites while the Business plan is aimed at agencies and businesses that require high uptime for critical business functions. Finally, the Enterprise plan includes all top-level security and performance features as well as quick support.

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Verdict

Kinsta is more suited for busy professionals while DigitalOcean is targeted at developers.

Cloudways CDN

Better for smaller sites

Cloudways logo

Cloudflare CDN

Better for dynamic websites

Cloudflare logo

The optimal way to choose between Cloudways CDN and Cloudflare CDN is to consider your website’s content and needs. For most small scale sites, mostly static web applications content, and blogs, Cloudways CDN is an affordable solution that scales with as you grow. Depending on your target location, it’s also going to perform very well for the cost.

While you can consider Cloudflare’s free CDN, its best features are only available with paid plans, so it’s recommended for bigger sites that demand higher uptime. It’s also more suited for sites and apps with a lot of dynamic content which needs more requests between user and server. Furthermore, Cloudflare has a wider global reach, so it can be optimal based on your site’s demographics.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Cloudflare the best CDN?

While Cloudflare is certainly one of the most well-known and biggest CDN providers today, the best CDN for any website largely depends on the site’s content, location, and other factors.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is Cloudways CDN worth it?

Yes, Cloudways CDN is fantastic for its value as it is quite affordable while still remaining secure and fast.

๐Ÿ“Œ Do CDNs improve security?

Yes, CDNs inherently mitigate and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks since most traffic will be hitting the CDN servers instead of your site’s actual server. Most CDN providers also have additional security features to add to those of your hosting provider.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does my website need a CDN?

It’s certainly not a requirement but it’s highly recommended that you use a CDN for a website that you’re intending to grow and attract visitors. CDNs will boost page loading speed significantly, improving user experience across the board.

Derick Bondoc