CDNs Compared: CloudFlare vs MaxCDN

Last Updated on 21/10/2022

A CDN, or content delivery network, is a worldwide network of servers that deliver files from a website to its users. These servers are very geographically far from each other, spread across multiple countries, and the CDN typically stores static files like CSS, javascript, and images.

database servers connected illustration

Two popular CDNs, CloudFlare and MaxCDN, offer competitive rates with different features. Find out the benefits of each provider and how they measure up in pricing and performance.

Why Use a CDN?

Because servers space out worldwide, a CDN makes it easier for users to access files quickly. The further the distance between users and servers, the longer it takes to download information. A CDN ensures that there is always a nearby server for each user. 

CDNs also provide the benefit of page caching. Essentially, this means that the network saves a static HTML version of each page of your website so that users who access your site don’t have to repeatedly request files from the server and slow down the browsing process.

CloudFlare vs MaxCDN: Top Features

To understand how CloudFlare and MaxCDN compare, let’s take a look at the main features that each provider advertises. Any CDN offers essential perks like caching and improved browsing speed. After that, the benefits can vary. 

CloudFlare Features

Founded in 2009, CloudFlare offers 31 data centers spread over six continents. Most of CloudFlare’s servers live in North America and Europe, and you can use the CDN’s dedicated website to monitor each server’s real-time performance.

One of the main perks of subscribing to CloudFlare is enjoying the suite of features beyond CDN. As a customer, you can get access to:

Once you switch your DNS to CloudFlare, it will automatically begin caching pages on your website, with no need to edit any configurations. 

After you add your IP information, you can take advantage of CloudFlare’s analytics, which shows you a detailed report on your website’s traffic. In addition to total page views and visitors, you can see bots crawling your website and view the location of any threat to your web security.

Finally, CloudFlare includes over 30 apps to refine and optimize your website. If you think your CDN experience is lacking, you’ll likely find the perfect tool or service to integrate with your current plan easily. 

Also Read: 5 Reasons to Use Cloudflare

MaxCDN Features

Also created in 2009, MaxCDN has recently integrated its CDN services with StackPath. This internet company boasts 57 data centers worldwide, although it has yet to open a server in Africa.

As a MaxCDN user, your benefits depend on the caching plugin you use to access MaxCDN on a WordPress website. Many users choose these popular plugins and specialist managed hosts:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • WP Super Cache
  • WP Rocket
  • WPEngine
  • Flywheel

When selecting a plugin, keep in mind that the perks of each can vary. With W3 Total Cache, you can use 20 unique settings for your CDN, while a plugin like WP Rocket offers just four settings and supports CloudFlare. 

With MaxCDN, you enjoy a higher level of control over where you store cached files. You can use the default storage link or opt to store files at a custom domain address.

As you add cached files to your CDN, MaxCDN will show you a detailed analytics report covering file size, zone breakdown, data centers, and the top 50 files in your storage. 

Related: Top 3 CDNs for WordPress

CloudFlare vs MaxCDN: Pricing

Each of these CDN options offers a very different pricing scale. 

CloudFlare’s free plan users enjoy most of the top features, except they deal with limited browser support. You can upgrade to the pro plan at $20 per month, business at $200 per month, or if you’re a large company, enterprise for $5,000 per month. 

MaxCDN charges users for the monthly bandwidth they use. Any unused bandwidth rolls over to the next month. The cheapest plan starts at $9 per month for 100GB of bandwidth, followed by $39 per month for 500GB. The most popular program offers 1TB per month at $79.

Which CDN Is Best?

The best CDN depends on your needs and budget. If you’re looking for a free service, take advantage of CloudFlare’s free plan with unlimited bandwidth. CloudFlare is also an excellent choice for adding on cybersecurity benefits. 

If you prefer a more comprehensive cache of all your website’s pages, MaxCDN may be the better choice for you. With the right plugins, you can combine the two services for a fast and secure browsing experience. 

Scott Poole

Scott Poole

With over a decade of experience in building websites, Scott has seen it all... bodged website migrations, nightmare web hosts, ridiculous customer support, etc. He decided to centralise all his knowledge on 28msec to guide and help people find the best host possible.