Finding the right CDN for SlashGear

It has been interesting and educational two months; I had the chance to use several major CDN services on SlashGear. Choosing the right CDN is a matter of pricing/budget, delivery technology or features and POP availability. The CDN vendors I had the opportunity to try are MaxCDN, InterNAP, Highwinds, Akamai, and EdgeCast.

MaxCDN has the best implementation of web based management console. I really enjoy using them and still do use them on R3 Media sites (SlashPhone and AndroidCommunity). The cache-hit number is pretty impressive at 96.62%. Unfortunately MaxCDN does not have presence in Asia where 12% of our traffic came from (95% for SlashGear Japan). Last I heard, they are planning POPs in Asia.

I don’t have many complainw on InterNAP, however they are not the fastest of bunch, but not the slowest either -routing sometimes does not provide the best route.. Pricing is pretty competitive.

HighWinds is a very affordable CDN vendor, unfortunately it rewrites files URL rather than sticking with predefined CNAME you have setup for the account. Great reporting tools (entirely made of Flash) and control panel.

Akamai is the big dog in CDN business; I was very excited when giving it a try. It has robust control panel, fast aggregation of content when setting up origin pull, and it has many POP around the world. Speed is impressive, however I was disappointed to find out it was not the fastest out of the bunch and pricing is amazingly high unless you commit to a high bandwidth bucket. If you don’t need much bandwidth you can try VPS.NET, they are Akamai reseller with reasonable price.

EdgeCast was one of the CDN I didn’t plan to include in my search for CDN vendor, but I’m glad I did. Sales were very accommodating and responsive. Setup was quick and simple, however I wish their management control panel would provide origin pull progress and detail reporting. They performed the best during my usage (Pulling data from Dallas, LA and Nagoya), almost 28 percent faster compared to InterNAP and 14 percent faster compared to Akamai. I was very surprised by the delivery speed on small object (has not tested video delivery yet – large file object). Pricing is very competitive and they will work it out depending on your situation and usage.

So by the end of the day, I picked EdgeCast CDN to power, and due to its performance and pricing. However video files are still being serve-using HighWinds as part of UK2Group sponsorship.

Disclosure : MaxCDN sponsored SlashPhone & AndroidCommunity CDN bandwidth. UK2Group sponsored SlashGear TV videos bandwidth using HighWinds CDN.

  • The Salad Project

    I use MAXCDN as well. Their pricing is not bad at all either!

  • Erick

    This article comes up high when searching for MaxCDN vs Internap.

    Edgecast and Highwinds don’t have Asia presence, and their pricing is hideous.

    MaxCDN seems to be leading the pack. Actually, my analysis now is different — InterNAP is by far and most clearly the best, network-wise. But they don’t offer CDN over SSL, etc.

    So MaxCDN it is.

  • Dean

    Erik, Edgecast has Tokyo & Singapore, so that counts as Asia presence

  • Vick

    Yes, indeed, Edgecast is the best, on my opinion. It’s the leader of the industry and provides all possible services to make websites of its clients perform as fast as it’s only possible. Undoubtedly speed of a site is on of the most important things, because there is such a big competition in the internet that if a website runs a bit slow a user will leave it for a competitor.
    Edgecast’s network spans the globe, with SuperPOPs (points of presence) located on five continents. So it means that any content from images to live streaming events the end user gets from a SuperPOP that is the closest to his location almost instantly and with the highest quality.
    It’s obvious also that speed of a website is one of the crucial characteristics that affects a website’s rankings in a search engine. So using a CDN can greatly improve a website’s position in all search engines that means more loyal users and thus more revenue.
    There is a big competition among CDN providers, of course. But as EdgeCast’s SuperPOPs are strategically located at the center of the world’s fastest data interchanges, they are able to deliver more content with less overhead than other CDNs. To read more about it