MaxCDN Review: The Best CDN for WordPress?

Post Series: Guide to WordPress Caching
  1. 1.A Beginners Guide: Understanding WordPress’ Internal Functioning
  2. 2.What is WordPress Caching and Why is it Important?
  3. 3.How does WordPress Caching Work?
  4. 4.How to Install & Setup WordPress Caching with WP Super Cache
  5. 5.How to Setup WordPress Caching with W3 Total Cache (W3TC)
  6. 6.MaxCDN Review: The Best CDN for WordPress?

A content delivery network (CDN) is an interconnected system of computers on the Internet that provides web content rapidly to numerous users by duplicating the content on multiple servers and directing the content to users based on proximity. It’s an absolute necessity for high traffic websites and eCommerce sites. Today we’re going to review MaxCDN – one of the most popular CDN companies in the industry.

MaxCDN was started by Chris Ueland in 2009. They offer a wide array of CDN services including specialized services for major content management systems (CMS) like WordPress, Magneto. With solutions for both one-man websites and enterprise level companies, MaxCDN has quickly acclaimed the title of #1 CDN brand.

History Lesson:

maxcdn merger

Up until the last month of 2013, MaxCDN’s parent company was NetDNA – an enterprise level CDN provider. On the 17th of December, MaxCDN’s blog announced a father-son reunion under one name – MaxCDN. As of April 2014, MaxCDN employs over 50 people located in different parts of the world.

Server Chops:

maxcdn network

MaxCDN’s global peering network consists over 53 PoP locations, with 22 in North America and 31 in Europe. In Asia and South America, they’ve teamed up with leading ISPs to provide the fastest possible content delivery network.

MaxCDN’s Customer Base:

maxcdn customer base

MaxCDN has an impressive army of customers behind its throne. Industry leading Managed WordPress hosting companies like WPEngine and ZippyKid teamed up with MaxCDN to bring its clients super-fast web page load times regardless of their location. Other notable companies include Forbes, The Washington Post, The Next Web, AndroidCentral, TemplateMonster, Web Page Test, Buy Sell Ads, StumbleUpon and Yoast.

Why use a CDN?

A CDN drastically improves your site’s load time by distributing the static content across the all servers in their global peering network. When a visitor requests a page, the static files are served from the CDN’s server which is physically closest to his/her (the visitor’s) location. Static files include JavaScript and CSS files, images, custom web-fonts and other web objects.

Benefits of using a CDN:

  • There is a significant increase in the site’s speed and overall performance
  • A substantial amount of the host server’s bandwidth is saved
  • Load balancing during ‘traffic spikes’
  • A fast site helps improve conversion rate and search engine ranking (Google considers site speed as one of its ranking factors)

Benefits of using MaxCDN

I’ve listed some of the features I like best about MaxCDN. I hope you find them as interesting and useful as I do:

1. Easy to use Control Panel

maxcdn dashboard

MaxCDN has an all-inclusive control panel, which makes accomplishing tasks a spontaneous event, even for the first-time user. I’ve uploaded a couple of screenshots of the MaxCDN control panel.

pull zonesettings

Creating and managing push/pull zones in MaxCDN is walk in the park.

maxcdn reports

The Reports panel gives me the latest information of my site’s bandwidth consumption.

2. Several Types of CDN Zones:

video on demand

A CDN traditionally offers Pull Zones and Push Zones. MaxCDN also offers a VOD Zone and Live Zone. The basic difference between the two is the fact that a VOD zone is used for streaming pre-recorded video whereas the latter is used to stream live video. As you can tell from the links, the FAQ is well documented.

3. Multiple CMS Support:

cms support

MaxCDN provides extensive documentation and video tutorials to help you setup MaxCDN with multiple CMS platforms, eCommerce portals and forum software. MaxCDN’s knowledgebase contains all their tutorials in a clean, organized manner. Here’s a list of all the currently supported CMS platforms: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magneto, PrestaShop, OpenCart, X Cart, SocialEngine, IPBoard, vBulletin, and PyroCMS.

4. Knowledgeable Customer Support

Every company must offer good customer support. With toll-free phone, fax, email and chat support – 365 days a year, MaxCDN’s customer support is nothing short of excellent. Enterprise customers receive a dedicated support manager who they can call as and when required. No more endless waiting, reply from bots with preset words. You get solutions, tailored to your needs.

Allow me to share a personal experience with you. I had contacted MaxCDN’s customer support via the chat portal. A couple of days later I get an email from with offering me a discount. I got a month’s subscription for just a dollar!

5. Serious Security

activity log

Your MaxCDN account is protected using SSL, two-factor authentication, proactive email alerts, IP whitelist and a complete activity log. You can add new members to your account so they can create/modify zones without sharing your account details. This is extremely helpful for teams operating under a single account. Open the image for a better look.

6. API

MaxCDN offers a powerful API to for easy integration into your apps, in the programming language of your choice. They have repositories in GitHub for the following languages:

  1. .NET
  2. Ruby on Rails
  3. Python
  4. PHP
  5. Perl
  6. Node (NPM)

They also have a Twitter account dedicated to developers called @MaxCDNDeveloper

7. Competitive Pricing

standard pricing 2

MaxCDN is offers a very reasonable pricing despite its brand value. An annual subscription will get two months free. Plans start at 9 USD per month, with a limit of 2 zones. The same plan would cost you 90 USD annually (instead of the usual 108 USD).

High volume pricing starts at 499 USD/month for 10TB, including a 1 on 1 setup call. And guess what, the annual discount applies here too!

8. Lucrative Affiliate Program

affiliate program

MaxCDN’s affiliate program deserves a special mention. They treat their customers as well as people who bring them customers – with equal respect. The minimum you earn per referral, is 20 USD. Maximum? A jaw-dropping, double semester funding $12,500 USD. To make things even more irresistible, they have a two-man dedicated affiliate team to help us out – over the phone, email or Skype!

9. They Give Back

Ever heard of Subway feeding the homeless on Friday nights? MaxCDN does the same on the Internet. Well, not feeding the homeless per say, but they sponsor a multitude of open source projects – some serious bandwidth consuming ones like Bootstrap CDN, jQuery and FontAwesome. Take a look at all the projects sponsored by MaxCDN. This is truly a commendable effort from MaxCDN and they have my respect.

Conclusion: When should I use a CDN?

Young beautiful woman in business wear at work

As you can imagine, a CDN service isn’t free. Although there are free CDNs for WordPress like CloudFlare or Incapsula that work just fine up to a certain point, there comes a time when a transition is necessary.  Point being, when you invest in something, there’s always a question of value for money – “bang for the buck”, if you will. So, at what point do you start using a CDN?

  • People with high traffic (above 500 visitors/day) websites with lots of images should use a CDN.
  • If your website is less than three months old and receives around 100 pageviews daily, then a CDN is pointless – your server should be enough to handle the load
  • eCommerce sites should use a CDN right from day one. Any advertising campaign via the television, radio or social media channels like Facebook or Twitter would drive a huge amount of visitors into your site. The CDN would balance the server load and prevent downtime.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. What’s your favorite CDN?  What’s your daily bandwidth consumption? We look forward to hearing from you! If you have any queries, the comment form is all yours.

Sourav
Post Author:

Sourav is a WordPress enthusiast, an avid gamer and a sitcom collector. His playlists include heavy metal, electronic, and new-age tracks. When he's not online, he's spending quality time with his friends and family. You can follow him on Twitter.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Adam says:

    The CDN doesn’t do speed up anything and MaxCDN customer support is nothing to rave about.

    • BJ says:

      Adam,

      1. The review above says: “If your website is less than three months old and receives around 100 pageviews daily, then a CDN is pointless – your server should be enough to handle the load.”

      It only speeds up your site when the load exceeds your server capacity.

      2. As a MaxCDN customer, I have been quite impressed with their customer support and follow-up so far. Quick response, proper escalation for a deeper very unusual issue, and a fix for that within 24 hours had me impressed.

  2. Ivan Bogdan says:

    Hi there. I-m testing a cdn account at Maxcdn an so far I belive that they are thieves. Why? OK … I argue: On my cPanel account I have arround 10 GB bandwidth usage per day. After 1 month of use I have in my maxcdn account these statistics: 68.86% cache hits and 31.14% non-cache hits. If you count… I had to have a decrease in bandwidth used … somewhere at 3 GB per day but it remained around 10 GB. How it is possible? My pics and my css appear in cache and most of my traffic is done by these files! My CNAME DNS entries are set correctly … otherwise they could not realize the statistics. I tested the pics load when I restart my server and the pics are loaded from their server in offline… I think that only when my server is offline I receive what I pay… the downloading from their network! But becouse my server is online 99.9 % … I pay for 0.1 % …. Now I uploaded my files on their PUSH zone… I hope that now I will receive what I paid! Although … not being able to check with accurately … from what location are downloaded the pictures / files for every visitor … I only can hope that they will not be download from a single server / data center location ( US California data center – personal1434647019.netdna-cdn.com push zone located – domaintools.com ) becouse I have a lot of visitors from UE… After I will complete the tests I will come back with a review.

  3. Princess Kaurvaki says:

    What do you think about Cloudflare? I know it’s not 100% CDN like MaxCDN, but I heard it’s also able to boost our website speed. Can we use it before we’re ready with CDN?

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