CDNs compared: CloudFlare vs MaxCDN

Content Delivery Networks across the board offer numerous benefits, from increased speed to improved performance and SEO. However, CDN services can differ depending on the company. CloudFlare and MaxCDN are two in particular that have been recognized for their CDN services, and although both share some overlapping features, they also possess their own distinctive features. At the end of the day, it comes down to which CDN service best suits your individual needs.

What CloudFlare’s CDN Looks Like

CloudFlare may be well-known to some as the company that handled the largest DDoS attack in Internet history, which says a lot about their ability to handle matters of security. One of the most appealing features of CloudFlare’s CDN services is that it focuses not only on increasing site performance, but providing benefits to other aspects of hosting as well, including security.

To break it down, these are the more distinctive features of CloudFlare’s CDN:

  • Security – CloudFlare’s services help their users safeguard against a variety of potential security threats, including DDoS, comment spam, SQL injections, and malicious bots.
  • Their network consists of 31 data centers – while most of these are located in North America and Europe, these network servers are also spread across the globe in six continents.
  • Up-to-date Performance Notifications – CloudFlare provides users with notifications of any performance updates at its data centers, which is convenient for monitoring.
  • Optimization features – CloudFlare offers several ways in which you can optimize your website, including asynchronous resource loading, browser caching, JavaScript bundling, and cache header optimization.
  • Analytics Page – Here, users can view the analytics of their website’s traffic, page views, and any threats or bots.
  • No additional cost for CDN – While CloudFlare’s pricing goes by a four-plan structure (Free, Pro, Business, and Enterprise), the CDN service itself does not add additional cost.

What MaxCDN’s CDN Looks Like

While CloudFlare excels in its provision of increased security, MaxCDN has been recognized for its speedy performance and features. One of the biggest cons that has been identified in using MaxCDN is that it is not a free service; however, having to pay for quality features is not a deterrent for everyone, and to be fair, most quality features you may want for your CDN service are worth the small price to pay.

Distinctive features of MaxCDN:

  • 57 Data Centers – Although not quite as widespread globally, MaxCDN does have have data centers predominantly located in North America and Europe.
  • Control – Compared to CloudFlare, MaxCDN offers more control in cache file settings and divides them into three types for storage – pull zones (regular files), vod zones (videos and streaming), and push zones (larger files)
  • Reports Section – This gives you information such as what files are being viewed and from where.
  • Two-step Authentication Process – Admittedly weaker than CloudFlare in security, and MaxCDN doesn’t offer protection against SQL injections or DDoS attacks
  • Pricing Based on Site Bandwidth – MaxCDN pricing is based on your website’s use of bandwidth per month.
  • 24-hour Support


Both companies offer benefits in their CDN services. Which service is better really depends on a user’s needs and preferences. Most will admit that, if security is a prime concern, in general, CloudFlare comes up on top. However, when it comes to the features, cache services, and customer support, although MaxCDN’s service isn’t free, in those respects many prefer that investment. By identifying your own needs for your website CDN and security, both companies offer quality services.