CDN Performance Review - Sep 2014

This post summarizes CDN performance using data collected from our cloud speedtest. Information about the speedtest, testing methodology and other details are available in a prior post.

This post is an abbreviated version of information provided in our CDN performance reports. Download the free or paid version of these reports for more detailed analysis.

The analysis provided below is not definitive. Our cloud speedtest is a free public tool any user can run. CDN performance is highly dependent on a number of variables including user location, network, file type and size, time of day and caching. Meaningful CDN performance analysis should incorporate a sufficient sampling of users and variations of these factors. The performance analysis below is derived from 350,000 tests performed by 2,100 unique users in July and August 2014.

North America

Generally CDNs have their strongest presence in North America. Low cost of bandwidth and ease of establishing infrastructure and connectivity make this a very competitive market. If your users are primary located in the US there are many good options to choose from with generally comparable performance.

North America - Latency

In North America, latency testing shows comparable results across services - generally in the range of 45-60ms.

North America - Small File Throughput

Small file throughput results show more variability between services. CacheFly's use of IP Anycast and large regional presence provided strong results. Azure CDN also performed well in this testing.

North America - Large File Throughput

Like small file, large file throughput results show more service variability. Large file tests consist of fewer requests for larger files (thus less latency sensitive) giving IP Anycast services less of an upper hand. In this region and testing CacheFly, Azure CDN and EdgeCast are all strong contenders. However, performance was generally good across all services.

North America - POPs, Pricing and Availability

The table below shows the number of POPs, bandwidth pricing and 30 day availability (based on our monitoring) in North America for each service. If pricing is tiered, only the lowest and highest usage tiers are shown.

ServiceNumber of POPsBandwidth - Low UsageBandwidth - High Usage30-day Availability
AkamaiUnknownNegotiable100%
Amazon CloudFront20$0.12 - first 10TB$0.02 - over 5PB100%
Azure CDN8$0.12 - first 10TB$0.025 - over 1-5PB100%
CacheFly11$0.387 - 256GB monthly commit$0.20 - 2TB monthly commit100%
CDNetworks12Negotiable100%
EdgeCast9Negotiable100%
Fastly8$0.12 - first 10TB$0.020 - over 5-10PB100%
Internap CDN14Negotiable100%
Level 3 CDN19Negotiable100%
LimelightUnknownNegotiable100%
MaxCDN9$0.09 - 100GB monthly commit$0.035 - 359TB monthly commit100%

Europe

Like North America, Europe is a mature Internet market with good connectivity and relatively low bandwidth and infrastructure costs. If your users are located primary in Europe there are a good number of options to choose from.

Europe - Latency

Like North America, latency testing shows comparable results across services - also in the range of 45-60ms.

Europe - Small File Throughput

CacheFly, Azure CDN and MaxCDN are all strong contenders for small file performance in this region.

Europe - Large File Throughput

Continuing the North America pattern, CacheFly, Azure CDN and EdgeCast all performed well for large file testing in this region.

Europe - POPs, Pricing and Availability

The table below shows the number of POPs, bandwidth pricing and 30 day availability (based on our monitoring) in Europe for each service. If pricing is tiered, only the lowest and highest usage tiers are shown.

ServiceNumber of POPs1Bandwidth - Low UsageBandwidth - High Usage30-day Availability
AkamaiUnknownNegotiable100%
Amazon CloudFront16$0.12 - first 10TB$0.02 - over 5PB100%
Azure CDN8$0.12 - first 10TB$0.025 - over 1-5PB100%
CacheFly10$0.387 - 256GB monthly commit$0.20 - 2TB monthly commit100%
CDNetworks9Negotiable100%
EdgeCast9Negotiable100%
Fastly4$0.12 - first 10TB$0.020 - over 5-10PB100%
Internap CDN3Negotiable100%
Level 3 CDN13Negotiable100%
LimelightUnknownNegotiable100%
MaxCDN3$0.09 - 100GB monthly commit$0.035 - 359TB monthly commit100%

1 Excluding POPs in Russia

Asia

In Asia we see much greater performance variation between services. This region covers many different countries and diverse geographies. Relative to Europe and North America, the cost and complexity of running a CDN in Asia is much higher. In many Asian countries connectivity is slower, less reliable and more expensive. If a high percentage of your users are located in Asia, for you should be more selective when choosing a CDN.

Asia - Latency

With many more points of presence, Akamai performs strongly on latency tests in this region. Other established CDNs like EdgeCast and Limelight performed strongly as well.

Asia - Small File Throughput

For small file testing in Asia, Akamai, EdgeCast, Limelight and Fastly all performed well.

Asia - Large File Throughput

For large file testing in Asia, CacheFly and EdgeCast showed strong results.

Asia - POPs, Pricing and Availability

The table below shows the number of POPs, bandwidth pricing and 30 day availability (based on our monitoring) in Asia for each service. If pricing is tiered, only the lowest and highest usage tiers are shown.

ServiceNumber of POPs1Bandwidth - Low UsageBandwidth - High Usage30-day Availability
AkamaiUnknownNegotiable100%
Amazon CloudFront12$0.19 - first 10TB$0.06 - over 5PB100%
Azure CDN6$0.19 - first 10TB$0.07 - over 1-5PB100%
CacheFly8$0.387 - 256GB monthly commit$0.20 - 2TB monthly commit100%
CDNetworks24Negotiable100%
EdgeCast9Negotiable100%
Fastly3$0.19 - first 10TB$0.085 - over 5-10PB100%
Internap CDN4Negotiable100%
Level 3 CDN5Negotiable100%
LimelightUnknownNegotiable100%
MaxCDN2$0.09 - 100GB monthly commit2$0.035 - 359TB monthly commit2100%

1 Excluding POPs in China and Russia

2 MaxCDN charges an additional $15 per zone to use POPs outside of North America and Europe

Oceania

The cost of bandwidth in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) is generally an order of magnitude higher than North America and Europe. Because of this, some CDNs either do not have POPs in this region, or charge more for use of POPs (often requiring special account provisioning). If a CDN does not have a POP in this region, performance will be poor due to high latency (200-300ms+). If a large percentage of your users are located in Oceania, for you should be very selective with your CDN selection.

Oceania - Latency

In these results it is very apparent that Internap and Level3 either do not have POPs in Oceania, or those POPs are not enabled. Akamai performs well due to the number of POPs they maintain in this region.

Oceania - Small File Throughput

CacheFly was a stand out performer for small file tests in this region.

Oceania - Large File Throughput

For large file testing in this region CacheFly followed by Akamai, EdgeCast and Fastly provided the best results.

Oceania - POPs, Pricing and Availability

The table below shows the number of POPs, bandwidth pricing and 30 day availability (based on our monitoring) in Oceania for each service. If pricing is tiered, only the lowest and highest usage tiers are shown.

ServiceNumber of POPsBandwidth - Low UsageBandwidth - High Usage30-day Availability
AkamaiUnknownNegotiable100%
Amazon CloudFront2$0.19 - first 10TB$0.085 - over 5PB100%
Azure CDN1$0.19 - first 10TB$0.07 - over 1-5PB100%
CacheFly2$0.387 - 256GB monthly commit$0.20 - 2TB monthly commit100%
CDNetworks1Negotiable100%
EdgeCast2Negotiable100%
Fastly3$0.19 - first 10TB$0.085 - over 5-10PB100%
Internap CDN0Negotiable100%
Level 3 CDN1Negotiable100%
LimelightUnknownNegotiable100%
MaxCDN1$0.09 - 100GB monthly commit1$0.035 - 359TB monthly commit1100%

1 MaxCDN charges an additional $15 per zone to use POPs outside of North America and Europe