Cloudflare is one of the premier content delivery networks (CDNs) in the world, but it also provides the whole gamut of cloud-based solutions for website owners and network administrators that include distributed DNS service, reverse proxies, automatic caching and SSL offloading. The service came into prominence back in June 2011 when it provided security to the website of the infamous black hat hacking group, LulzSec. Since then, with DDoS attacks on the rise worldwide, the company’s popularity has increased by leaps and bounds, with website-owners trying to make sure that they don’t fall victim to the massive DDoS attacks. The claims to have achieved some serious successes in this regard, having reportedly helped an unnamed client mitigate a 400Gb/s DDoS attack back in February 2014 and stopping an even bigger, 500Gb/s attack against independent media sites later that year.
The Best Cloudflare Alternatives in 2017
Cloudflare is one of the very few CDN service providers that offer a robust, free CDN service for all its users. The best part about it is that you don’t need to pay a dime for it irrespective of how much traffic your site’s generating, which is a proposition that’s hard to beat. However, while the free tier does speed things up in certain cases, it doesn’t offer WAF protection, which leaves your site vulnerable against targeted attacks like DDoS, spam and bots. The Pro plan, which costs $20 per month, does offer the website application firewall, but it does not include advanced DDoS mitigation and custom SSL. For those features, you will need their Business plan which costs $200 per month.
For all it successes, Cloudflare has come under fire for allegedly being too compliant with U.S. law enforcement agencies, giving up information about its clients to the government whenever they ask for it. So if you’ve ever considered migrating to a different CDN service whether it’s because of Cloudfare’s pricing plans or because of its failure to respect user info,you can take a look at our list of the best Cloudflare alternatives you can use for your website:
Akamai is one of the largest and best-known CDNs and cloud services provider in the world, and is believed to be responsible for serving between 15 to 30-percent of all web-traffic. If stopping DDoS attacks and optimizing content delivery speed are at the top of your list of priorities, this is the service that you’ll need to seriously look at. That’s because the company’s proprietary “Prolexic’s PLXedge” technology gives it a whopping 2.3 Tbps of dedicated bandwidth specifically meant for DDoS absorption. Akamai also uses a proprietary web-application firewall to provide application layer protection.
Akamai also offers a number of value-added services as part of their cloud services platform. One such service is the managed “Kona Site Defender” that is designed to protect websites from DDoS and web application attacks, and is perfect for companies looking to offload their security monitoring and threat mitigation. In spite of being a ‘managed’ service, it is fully customizable, so users can monitor everything in real-time and make changes when required.
However, for all its positives, Akamai also suffers from some of the problems you’d expect from a large company. First off, its size and scope means that it is unable to change its rules on the fly unlike its smaller and more agile competitors. It is also one of the most expensive CDN service providers around, and unlike Cloudflare, doesn’t offer a free tier either, so if you’re looking for value-for-money, you’ll need to check out the offerings of some of the other names on the list.
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Incapsula is a cloud-based security platform for blogs and websites and, provides DDoS protection, failover services and load balancing. One of the best features of the service is its bot-recognition engine that reduces the number of false-positives in case of even the most sophisticated layer 7 attacks, where attackers often target specific areas of a website, making malicious traffic extremely hard to detect. Incapsula also has an extra layer of DDoS protection that aims to protect subnet network infrastructure like FTP and email. Like Cloudfront, it also offers a free tier, but you’ll need to pay up if you need DDoS protection or WAF.
Another interesting feature is “IncapRules” – a full-fledged scripting language that Incapsula claims gives “full and detailed control of security policies” to its clients. According to Incapsula, IncapRules provides access to a whole host of tools to analyze critical information about incoming traffic including, headers, client type, location and access rates. Incapsula also has dozens of data centers with its “Behemoth” machines that can handle a whopping 170 Gb/s of data apiece and process up to 100 million packets per second.
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3. Amazon CloudFront
A part of Amazon’s massive AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform, CloudFront is one of the best at what it does, although, it can get significantly more expensive than many of the other services mentioned on the list if you want all the bells and whistles. The service can deliver any type of web content, be it dynamic, static or streaming. CloudFront also offers a great GUI on its management console that allows users to add custom SSL and provides wildcard cName support. One of the best features of the service is its dynamic scaling that allows it to automatically allocate more hardware resources to take care of spikes in web-traffic without any intervention on the part of the user, making it one of the most effective protections against DDoS attacks.
While Amazon CloudFront is widely regarded as one of the best and most reliable CDN service providers there is, there are a few issues that users need to keep in mind. First off, some of the settings are a bit over-simplified, so as a sysadmin, you’ll need to artificially trigger Stackoverflow just to figure out simple details like how long objects linger before being ejected. Overall, CloudFront may not be a perfect CDN solution, but it is, very definitely, one of the best options there is right now.
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Stackpath is built on top of the open source MaxCDN platform that was acquired by the company last year. It’s content delivery service comes with an integrated web application firewall and a fully-documented API. The service comes with instant configuration updates, instant purging, real-time analytics and origin shield. One of the most remarkable things about StackPath’s services is its pricing strategy that’s both simple and affordable, raging from just $20 per month to $600 per month. All plans come with SSL, WAF and DDoS protection.
Although StackPath has clients from everywhere, it focuses on the North American and European markets for the most part, with a few POPs scattered around Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. The company has been growing rapidly in recent times, and earlier this year, acquired a Florida-based CDN service provider called Highwinds.
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Fastly was only founded in 2011, and has already become a name to be reckoned with in the industry. It offers a range of services including, instant configuration updates, instant purging, the ability to cache dynamic content, real-time log streaming and analytics as well as protection from traffic spikes. It also offers streaming media delivery, private CDN, a Web Application Firewall, Image Optimizer and Load Balancer. The service also comes with a “real-time CDN” feature that allows changes to happen instantly.
Fastly offers on-the-go pricing that’s based on the total number of requests and the volume of data transfer. The company also allows users to test up to $50 of traffic for free, without any long-term commitment. The company also provides extensive public documentation and API references to all its clients.
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Last, but definitely not the least, we’ll take a look at two companies that, like Cloudflare, offer protection from malicious traffic and code injections, but unlike their more illustrious counterpart, don’t offer CDN services. So in case you’re using Cloudflare’s free tier and is only looking for inexpensive but effective protection from targeted attacks, these are the services you need to take a look at. Starting off with Sucuri, it’s is a platform-agnostic cloud services provider that works to protect your site irrespective of whether you’re running a WordPress blog, a Magento e-commerce portal or a phpbb forum. It also supports open-source CMS platforms like Drupal, Joomla and v Bulletin, alongside Microsoft’s .Net Framework.
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Reblaze is an Israeli company with offices in the U.K. and the U.S. and, claims to have successfully protected many “high-profile clients” from from a broad range of attacks including, SQL injection, XSS and DDoS. The company also claims to be able to protect its clients from platform-specific zero-day vulnerabilities. The service also allows its users to block incoming traffic from specific countries, cities, networks, companies and anonymizer networks. Reblaze also protects its customers from hackers by routing all traffic through its own locked-down Security Gateways with dynamic DNS allocation. The company also uses “Elastic Load Balancing” to distribute the increased traffic across its global network of Security Gateways to relieve stress on local ISPs and bandwidth providers.
Reblaze also claims to have a robust solution in place to mitigate DDoS attacks firstly by identifying and isolating malicious traffic and then, scaling its bandwidth deployment as required to absorb unusually large number of get requests. Reblaze also claims to use “next-generation human and bot identification algorithms” to identify advanced scraper bots powered by full-stack browsers.
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Cloudflare Alternatives: Best CDN Services You Can Use Right Now
Like cloud storage services, CDN services are also a dime-a-dozen right now, and choosing between them can often pose a bit of a problem. With big names like Microsoft also jumping into the fray with its Azure CDN services, the space is only getting more competitive, and while we’ve already seen some amount of consolidation in the industry in recent times, it will be interesting to see whether an imminent shakeup is around the corner.
However, even in this over-saturated market teeming with so many companies vying for our attention, experienced site-owners and sysadmins who know exactly which features they want and which are redundant, the choice always comes down to a handful. There are obviously specialized services like Yotta which caters mostly to e-commerce platforms, while KeyCDN is So are you using any of the services mentioned on the list for your blog? Or do you know about some other service that you think should have been included in the list. Whatever be the case, please let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.