How to make a proper CDN comparison between providers

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CacheFly Team

Date Posted:

December 13, 2013

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Today, with so many content delivery network (CDN) providers on the market at varying price points, most businesses will need to conduct research and evaluations to ensure that they choose the one that is right for them. However, one of the biggest mistakes business professionals make when shopping around is assuming all CDN services are the same. When it comes to making a CDN comparison, there are a few key points to keep in mind before making a final decision. These include reliability, price, and the ability to integrate the system with your website.

The importance of a perfect SLA
A service-level agreement (SLA) is a measure of a CDN provider’s uptime for clients. Many hosts boast 99.9 percent SLAs, but it is ideal to use a provider with a 100 percent SLA. CDNs are intended to handle heavy loads of traffic that typical servers cannot handle. This means that if you have a website linked to a CDN provider and the CDN goes down, your website will be inaccessible.
Although this might sound like an intimidating metric for conducting a CDN comparison, as a business owner, you just need to remember to seek a provider with 100 percent uptime. SLAs are a simple metric and are fairly standardized, meaning that you can easily tell if a provider that promises 100 percent uptime is failing to meet that promise.

How to decipher pricing
One of the biggest advantages of working with a CDN provider is that many don’t require long-term or hefty contracts. All you need to do is pay for the resources you use each month. If you ever reach a point where you no longer feel you need a CDN, you can easily cancel and sign up when you need it again. Just like a traditional hosting plan, you simply pay for bandwidth and storage. However, it is important to note that CDNs don’t house your entire website.
CDNs are designed specifically for multimedia, style sheets, scripts, and other files that don’t change often. By housing these core files across servers throughout regions that you choose, you can ensure that customers in key demographics are able to get content rapidly without overpaying. Serving only essential files while also controlling geolocation are just two of the best ways CDN providers help customers improve their sites without breaking the bank.

System integration
When choosing between CDN vendors, it is crucial to ensure that you choose a provider that will assist you with integration. Even if your website is built using proprietary code, CDNs are designed to be tied into even the most complex sites. The biggest thing to keep in mind when conducting a CDN comparison is that you need to have an idea of what you want to achieve with the CDN. Do you plan to stream multimedia, or is your website focused around static content and images? Are you running highly targeted marketing campaigns, or are you just looking to improve the general speed of your site? Make sure you select a CDN that will help you achieve this particular goal.
Reliability, price, and integration are just a few of the factors you need to keep in mind when choosing a CDN vendor for your business needs.
Image source: stock.xchng

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