CloudFlare vs Akamai

Your website performance is one of the most crucial factors that affect your visitors. You want your website to be as fast and secure as possible. A content delivery service can help you with that. In this article, we’ll discuss the comparisons between CloudFlare vs Akamai, two big leaders in the market, to help you choose the best solution.

Read on below to learn about:
– How CloudFlare and Akamai work
– The security of each content delivery service
– The distinctive features and capabilities of each service
– The performance comparison between CloudFlare vs Akamai
– Which one that is generally more recommended

Overview
First of all, keep in mind that technically CloudFlare is not a real content delivery network (CDN). It is essentially a reverse proxy which works between the visitor and your hosting provider. It stores the cached versions of your content, and takes over your traffic to serve a cached version to a visitor whenever possible. This design allows CloudFlare to provide various security features that are unavailable on other CDN services. See also: CloudFlare vs MaxCDN.

CloudFlare has been aimed for the small and medium business space. It offers very competitive pricing. It even has a free version that is already quite powerful. You can already get a website running properly with the free version. The paid versions add advanced functions and features.

However, Akamai is the biggest leader in the market. Akamai is a real CDN, but it provides not only content delivery capabilities. It also has a wide range of website performance tools and security features. Initially, Akamai is targeted to large enterprises, but now is also targeting small and medium businesses.

Akamai has been very successful. It is now used by many large enterprises. However, Akamai does not have a standard pricing scheme; every plan is custom-built for each customer. You need to contact the company to find out how much the service will cost you, according to your requirements. In general, though, Akamai tends to be expensive.

Features and Security
CloudFlare is very user-friendly, and it offers easy controls for people who aren’t security experts. You can easily control your assets and invalidate cache files that are no longer used. It protects your website against all of the most common attacks, including SQL injection, XSS, DDoS, and OWASP vulnerabilities. There are also ModSecurity rules which you can customize to make your own rule sets.

Akamai does not give much control over the security policies. For the most part, it requires support and professional services to configure and maintain. For a large enterprise, this is not an issue. But for a small-scale user, this can be frustrating.

Nevertheless, Akamai has the strongest and broadest protection. It checks every security requirement in the list. It can handle any size of DDoS attack – many people think that Akamai is the only one that is better than CloudFlare in terms of DDoS protection. The Akamai KONA was among the first cloud-based security products and is now among the most robust.

Performance
There are several factors that may affect the performance, but we can get a good idea about the performance of a content delivery service by seeing how many servers that it has along with the locations. You will get the best results if you choose a network that has the best coverage on the area where your audience is located.

CloudFlare is generally good. It already has a total of 31 data centers. It has data centers in all of the six continents. Most of the data centers are located in Europe and North America. CloudFlare usually improves your visitors’ loading times, although some countries may benefit less than the ones closer to the data centers.

However, Akamai is simply the best in this aspect. Why? Well, Akamai has over 216,000 servers in more than 120 countries around the world. In other words, it is everywhere. Akamai can deliver your content very quickly, regardless of the location of the visitor. No wonder that the pricing tends to be expensive.

CloudFlare vs Akamai

CloudFlareAkamai
- A reverse proxy with content delivery capabilities- Powerful, actual CDN
- Good security features, great control- Excellent security, more limited control
- 31 data centers in six continents- Over 216,000 servers in more than 120 countries
- Very competitive pricing- Custom pricing, tends to be more expensive

Conclusion
For individual users and small to medium businesses, CloudFlare is still more recommended. It offers a great value for the money. You can already get great benefits from the free version, including security features against common attacks. However, a large enterprise should choose Akamai, which has the most robust performance and security.

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