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.
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.
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 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?
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 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.
Creating and managing push/pull zones in MaxCDN is walk in the park.
The Reports panel gives me the latest information of my site’s bandwidth consumption.
2. Several Types of CDN Zones:
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:
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
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.
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:
They also have a Twitter account dedicated to developers called @MaxCDNDeveloper
7. Competitive Pricing
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
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?
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.