Cloudflare is one of the premier content delivery networks (CDNs) in the world. It provides the whole gamut of cloud-based solutions for website owners and network administrators. This includes distributed DNS service, reverse proxies, automatic caching, and SSL offloading. However, whether it’s due to several outages the service is experiencing on frequent basis, or the many criticisms levelled against the company’s association with hate-speech websites and forums, no one can blame you if you are looking for other options.
So, here are the top 10 Cloudflare alternatives that you can use in 2021.
Best Cloudflare Alternatives in 2021
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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 is generating, you can use Cloudflare for free. That 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 ($20 per month), offers the website application firewall, but doesn’t include advanced DDoS mitigation and custom SSL. For those features, you will need their Business plan which costs $200 per month. That is not something that everyone can afford.
Also, 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 CDN like Cloudflare you can use for your website.
Akamai is one of the largest and best-known CDNs and cloud services provider in the world. In fact, it is believed to be responsible for serving between 15 to 30-percent of all web-traffic. It is feature-rich and powerful, and offers top-of-the-line security against DDoS attacks and other threats. Its Prolexic PLXedge technology provides 2.3 Tbps of bandwidth dedicated for DDoS absorption so your website remains safe.
Akamai also offers value-added services. One such service is “Kona Site Defender”, which can help companies offload their security monitoring and threat protection to Akamai. It’s fully customisable, and allows users to monitor every thing in real-time, and make changes.
That said, there are some issues here as well. For one, Akamai’s scale means that it is unable to change its rules on the fly unlike its smaller and more agile competitors. It’s also one of the most expensive CDN service providers. Unlike Cloudflare, Akamai doesn’t offer a free tier either. However, if pricing is not a concern, this is one of the most feature-rich Cloudflare alternatives you can get.
- One of the best CDN for DDoS protection and mitigation
- Optimize content delivery speeds
- “Kona Site Defender” add-on is perfect for companies looking to offload security and threat mitigation
Check out Akamai (Price available on request)
Previously known as Incapsula, Imperva 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. For the unaware, layer 7 attackers often target specific areas of a website, making malicious traffic extremely hard to detect.
Imperva 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 Imperva claims gives “full and detailed control of security policies” to its clients. According to Imperva, IncapRules provides access to a whole host of tools to analyze critical information about incoming traffic including, headers, client type, location and access rates.
Moreover, Imperva 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. Imperva now offers its data and app features separately, and you can check out their plans here.
- Offers DDoS protection, failover services, and load balancing
- Bot-recognition engine protects against Layer 7 attacks
- DDoS protection for subnet infrastructure such as FTP and email
- Offers “IncapRules” scripting language for complete control over security policies
Check out Imperva (Free tier, Data and App features offered separately)
3. Amazon CloudFront
A part of Amazon’s massive AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform, CloudFront is one of the best at what it does. However, 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. Users can add custom SSL and it also offers 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 free Cloudflare alternatives there is right now.
- Can deliver dynamic, static, or streaming content
- Friendly UI
- Supports custom SSL and wildcard cName
- Dynamic scaling helps handle spikes in web traffic
- Most reliable CDN out there
Check out Amazon CloudFront (Free Tier, Pricing for premium tiers depends on region and volume)
Stackpath is built on top of the open source MaxCDN platform that was acquired by the company back in 2016. Its 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.
StackPath offers built-in analytics and reporting features as well as exhaustive standard policies that you can manage through the portal. Moreover, it offers a RESTful API, and Serverless Scripting. What’s more, StackPath’s pricing strategy is both simple to understand and affordable, ranging from just $15 per month to enterprise plans that you can get the price for by contacting their sales department. 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 acquired a Florida-based CDN service provider called Highwinds. Overall, this one offers a great CDN service for quite a reasonable price. If you are looking for a cheap CDN like Cloudflare, this one should be on your list.
- Integrated Web Application Firewall (WAF)
- Instant purge and instant configuration updates
- Offers RESTful API and Serverless Scripting
Check out StackPath (Pricing starts at $15 per month)
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’s web app and API security protects your website against account takeover (ATO), business logic attacks, bots, OWASP injection attacks, and more. Plus, it offers add-ons that you can use to optimize your website further with things like cloud optimizer, HIPAA-compliant caching and deliver, and more.
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. However, you can also opt for more predictable plans by opting for Fastly’s Essential, Professional, or Enterprise plans. The company also provides extensive public documentation and API references to all its clients.
- Instant purging, instant config updates, and more.
- Private CDN and Real-time CDN
- Protects against Account Takeover, Business Logic Attacks, OWASP, and more
Check out Fastly (Free trial, contact sales for pricing)
Next, we’ll take a look at a company, like Cloudflare, offers protection from malicious traffic and code injections, but unlike its more illustrious counterpart, doesn’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, this is the service you need to take a look at.
Sucuri, 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.
Sucuri also offers website monitoring, malware scanning, DDoS protection and malware removal services. Unlike Cloudflare, Sucuri doesn’t offer a free plan, but its basic paid tier is significantly cheaper than Cloudflare’s Pro plan and, includes full website monitoring, website application firewall, DDoS protection, reputation monitoring, malware removal and free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate.
Sucuri is used by organisations like the NYU, as well as companies such as Harper Collins and GoDaddy.
- Protection against DDoS, SQL injections, XSS, etc.
- Free LetsEncrypt SSL
Check out Sucuri (Pricing start at $199.99/year)
If Sucuri isn’t to your liking, Reblaze is the best alternative to Sucuri. It’s 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. Moreover, it 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.
- One of the best for protection against zero-day attacks
- Elastic load balancing to mitigate spikes in traffic
- Good at bot-detection to protect websites from scrapers and other bots
Check out Reblaze (Price available on request)
If a highly-rated CDN service at cost-effective pricing is what you are looking for, CDN77 could easily fit into your requirement. With a 70+ Tbps global network with PoPs on 6 continents, it has got you fully covered when it comes to handling large volume traffic and unexpected spikes.
In terms of efficiency, it can match Cloudflare’s ability to handle huge traffic. Built-on advanced routing systems, CDN77 optimizes network routing daily with the help of the latest data from real-time packet inspection as well as AI-based aberration detection technology.
Even on the DDoS protection and security front, CDN77 is considered up to the task due largely to the automatic detection and blocking mechanism. It comes with a proprietary Hurricane DDoS solution based on DPDK which helps it monitor traffic, keep a track of attacks and block them fast.
The reliable content protection coupled with a host of access management features including TLS 1.3, secure token, GEO/IP blocking, and hotlink protection makes it quite competent. But what gives it an edge over many rivals is the seamless integration with your business via a robust API.
CDN77 is trusted by companies like ESL (the organizer of top-tier CS:GO tournaments), Udemy, and Avast. Everything considered; CDN77 can easily stake the claim of being one of the best cost-effective Cloudflare alternatives in the market right now.
- Highly cost-effective
- Uses AI-based aberration detection technology
- Automatic detection and blocking of DDoS attacks with Hurricane DDoS solution
Check out CDN77 (14-day free trial, 6TB traffic plan is available for $199/month)
9. Microsoft Azure
When it comes to delivering high-bandwidth content, very few including Cloudflare can compete with the repertoire of Microsoft Azure. So, if top-of-the-line proficiency is at the top of your priority list, you should keep Microsoft’s offering in mind. One of the major highlights of this content delivery network is the ability to cache static objects with the help of the closest point of presence (POP). Furthermore, it also excels in accelerating dynamic content by leveraging several networks and efficient routing optimizations.
Another department where Microsoft Azure is quite good is large scaling that comes into effect when handling instantaneous high loads. Times when you are hosting a big event, the large scaling will ensure that the over-the-top-traffic won’t bring down your site.
As for customization, Azure is on par with Cloudflare (if not better). So, depending on what works best for your website, you can fine-tune the CDN service to yield the desired result. What’s more, it also allows you to create custom mobile experiences with the help of Azure Cosmos DB, Xamarin, HockeyApp, and the smart traffic manager.
- One of the best for handling high-bandwidth content
- Good at scaling to handle instantaneous high loads
- Offers Azure Cosmos DB, Xamarin, HockeyApp and more for creating custom mobile experiences
Check out Microsoft Azure (12 months free, plan stars from $13/month)
Another trusted CDN service that you should check out is KeyCDN. While it’s not as versatile as Cloudflare or as proficient as Azure, it’s designed to offer a more simplified experience. So, just in case you find it a bit inconvenient to deal with Cloudflare, it could be the right alternative for you.
The CDN service has fully optimized hardware that plays a vital role in delivering content at a faster clip, ensuring both the usual and unexpected bottlenecks are handled meticulously. By leveraging IP anycast and the latency based routing technology, it performs smooth content delivery globally.
Customization is the key to having a personalized experience. In this regard, KeyCDN is a touch better than Cloudflare. Therefore, you can configure the essential components, add it to any CMS or custom application to get the preferred result.
KeyCDN also offers an easy way to optimize images without distorting the quality. One of my favorite features of this CDN service is better zone management. Thus, you can add, edit, and delete zones to improve performance. Not to mention the real-time reports that offer you better insight into the areas that need special focus.
If you’re wondering about its pedigree, rest assured because KeyCDN is used by companies like Sennheiser, Intel, and Discourse.
- Offers a simple experience
- More customisability than Cloudflare
- Real-time reports to identify problem areas instantly
Check out KeyCDN (14-day free trial, plan starts from $4/month)
Best Cloudflare Alternatives for Different Use-cases
If you’re just looking to find the best CDN like Cloudflare for a specific use-case, here’s a breakdown of what Cloudflare competitor is best suited for different needs.
- Best Free Cloudflare Alternative: Amazon CloudFront and Imperva
- Best Cloudflare Competitor for DDoS Protection: Akamai
- Most Reliable CDN like Cloudflare: Amazon CloudFront
- Best for Real-time CDN Changes: Fastly
- Best for Protection Against Zero-Day Vulnerabilities and Attacks: Reblaze
- Most Suited for High Bandwidth Content: Microsoft Azure
- Best for Recovering Hacked Website: Sucuri
- Easy to Use CDN Service: KeyCDN
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, the choice always comes down to a handful of services. Especially for experienced site-owners and sysadmins who know exactly which features they want and which are redundant. So are you using any of the services mentioned on the list for your website or blog? Or do you know about some other CDN services like Cloudflare 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.