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Selecting the right CDN (Content Delivery Network) for the job is not an easy decision to make. To make the right choice it is important to understand the governing principles of Content Delivery and use them to make an informative decision. What is CDN? At its core, CDN is a network of data centers that help accelerate your websites performance. Each POP (point of placement) across this network will hold a redundant cache for your site and provide it from the nearest location to each of your visitors. As a result, the website will load faster and your bandwidth usage will go down, simply because all cached objects are now delivered from the closest edge CDN server. This performance enhancing effect is the basic benefit of all CDN platforms and its efficiency will vary, depending on network spread and caching capabilities. Next-gen CDNs Modern CDN’s are no longer built just for speed. Security service providers identified the opportunity offered by CDN’s strategic position, as mediators of all client-to-server traffic, and now use it to provide real-time filtering solutions. Such next-gen solutions can help secure your website and web application, blocking hackers, spammers and other malicious visitors while still accelerating the incoming traffic to the site. Costs There are several free CDN’s to choose from. Typically, these will provide free acceleration and charge for premium security features. To help make things easier I’ve covered here some of the best options – Incapsula, Coral and Cloudflare CDN.

Incapsula

 Incapsula is business oriented CDN, known for its strong security capabilities and easy setup process. Security is Incapsula’s strong suit, and its free plan will offer all of the basic CDN acceleration benefits, coupled with protection from automated attacks, which should be enough for bloggers and small business owners. For additional security Incapsula paid plans will also provide enterprise-grade security in form of Web Application Firewall. Bang for buck, this is probably the best web application security you can hope to purchase and it will only set you back $59 – PCI compliancy included.   Main benefits:

  • Global Network of Servers (13 POPs)
  • PCI compliant WAF
  • Backdoor shell Protection
  • DDoS Protection
  • Media File Optimization
  • CSS and JS Optimization
  • SSL Support
  • Dynamic Content Caching
  • User Friendly Control Panel

Website: http://www.incapsula.com

CoralCDN

 Coral is an Open Source CDN project, built around the idea of peer-to-peer resource sharing. To setup Coral you’ll need to make a one-time purchase of a $50 cable modem, which will be connected to its Global Network of servers. Coral’s core advantages are in its affordable pricing model and network of 300 low-power POPs. It’s not really suited for business users, but if you are looking for a wide spread CDN and don’t expect it to handle lots of traffic at once, Coral may be the right choice for you. Although it showed a lot of promise, recently the project reached a development stalemate. Main benefits:

  • Wide Spread Network (300 POPs)
  • Free Peer-to-Peer model
  • SSL Support
  • Open Source
  • No recurring fees

Website: http://www.coralcdn.org

CloudFlare CDN

 Almost synonymous with the concept of ‘Free CDN’, Cloudflare is the platform of choice for many personal websites and some business oriented web stores and news sites. Cloudflare is a great choice if you are looking to accelerate your website. For security, Cloudflare’s paid plans will offer access to Open Source firewall (mod_security) and allow you to set custom rules. Cloudflare is especially popular amongst hosting providers and many will offer integrated setup option inside their cPanel. Main benefits:

  • Global Network of Servers (13 POPs)
  • Open Source WAF (with custom rules)
  • DDoS Protection
  • Media File Optimization
  • CSS and JS Optimization
  • SSL Support
  • Railgun Caching Technology
  • User Friendly Control Panel

Website: http://www.cloudflare.com

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