A CDN or a Content Delivery Network is a method by which you can send content from your website to people living in a geologically specific zone with much more speed and efficiency.
Sometimes, even with a good hosting plan, your site load speed can be compromised if your audiences are living far away from your site’s server.
When you use a CDN, you are basically caching and storing all your content on multiple servers. So the next time one of your audience wants to view some of your content, they will be redirected to the closest server, and will also notice a significant improvement in your site’s load time.
Besides this, using a CDN can lead to improvement in SEO and also reduces the chances of your website crashing.
Now, if you like the idea of using a CDN but you are not sure whether or not it will pay off, you always have the option to use a free service. And to help you out, we have put together a list of the 10 Best Free CDN options. So without further ado, here we go:
Top Free CDN Services for Your Site
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CloudFlare is one of the most well known CDN solutions, and not to mention the best one if you are looking for some free alternatives. They offer a multitude of features at a free price tag.
For example, you get a free shared SSL certificate, limited protection against DDoS attacks, and a promise that your free plan, will always remain a free plan, even on occasional bandwidth overages.
The company has over 118 data centers spread across the world and guarantees that your site will be at least two times fasters if you are using their service. They cache your content throughout all these networks and then quickly serves them up to the nearest visitor when requested.
To use the service, you will have to create an account on their website and then simply add your site or blog. This will generate a custom nameserver which you will have to update the domain you have added and Voila!
Swarmify offers a peer to peer based CDN that offers 10GB bandwidth in their free plan. The only thing to note is that their free plan will only cache image files from your site. Also, their content delivery system uses WebRTC.
Now, understanding how they provide to improve the load times of images on your site is quite fascinating. Let’s consider one user who has recently opened your site. They will be the first peer.
Now, when a new visitor comes to browse your site, the images are served from the first peer. This can help save your server’s bandwidth and also improve load times as the peers are chosen by proximity.
Now besides this, you will also notice features like Lazy Loading, Hive Caching, Predictive loading and much more.
Now if you want to use their service, all you have to do is download their plugin, and you are good to go. However, one impressive feature about the service would be that it can act both as a standalone service or work together with a pre-existing CDN.
Photon by Jetpack
You might have already heard about the Jetpack plugin if you a WordPress user. If that is so, then you already have access to a basic free CDN. Photo by Jetpack is another plugin based CDN which can help you to cache only your images among its large global network of servers. The photon module allows you to use the WordPress CDN and serve up all your images on WordPress’ distributed servers. And so, it is worth noting that the service is only exclusive to WordPress.
The best part about using Photon is that you won’t have to configure anything. All you have to do is just install the Jetpack plugin and activate its photon module. Everything else is automatic. All your images will start getting offloaded to the WordPress grid and will be served up to users as soon as the request comes.
Now since this is an image only CDN solution, you can consider using its facilities if you are running an image heavy blog or website. For example, this is an ideal plugin for photography blogs, portfolio sites, etc. and will also help these sites with improving the load times of your images, as well as saving your hosting bills.
Some of the services that you will be getting with Incapsula includes Website security, DDoS protection, load balancing and failovers. They use Bot Mitigation and Two Factor Authentication system to protect your site against numerous malicious threats. In fact, the reason why Incapsula grew to fame is when they protected one of their websites from one of the largest internet attacks in 2013.
Now, the setup procedure of Incapsula is quite similar to CloudFlare’s. You have to visit their website, create an account, and then change your DNS to Incapsula.
We have covered most of the main contenders for free CDN solutions. A couple of these do have paid plans, but their free plans are also for lifetime usage.
Up next we will be going through a couple of premium CDN services that offer limited trial usage. You can use these to see how much improvement a CDN service can have on your website, and if the profits outweigh the cost, then feel free to subscribe to one of their plans.
Trial versions can be used as Free
KeyCDN offers 250GB traffic valid over a 30 day trial period. This includes every single feature offered by the service including HTTP/2 Support, Custom and shared SSL at no extra cost. The company has 25 data center locations, and 5 zones are provided for free. The best thing about KeyCDN is that during the signup process of the trial period, you will not be asked for any credit card details.
MaxCDN offers a 100GB bandwidth that also lasts for a 30 day trial period. However, if you go beyond this 100GB limit, you will be charged. Features provided by the service includes Custom SSL, Real-Time analytics, instant purging and an initial one to one setup call. Apart from this, you will also get features such as two-factor authentication for logins and IP Whitelisting.
Amazon’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a game changer, bringing high-performance cloud computing capabilities to the masses at affordable rates. And AWS CDN service is called CloudFront.
With this, you will get a free usage tier for a one year period. During this time, you will get access to all their features but a limitation of only 50GB outbound transfers and 2,000,000 HTTP and HTTPS requests.
Google Cloud CDN is another module in the Google Cloud platform. Once you enter a new account, you will get $300 credits that will last you for a 60-day time frame.
Hence you get an ample opportunity to test out what the software behemoth has to offer. One thing to note is that, if you don’t use all the credits provided to you, they will expire after the 60-day limit, and won’t roll over if you wish to continue.
Microsoft Azure CDN solution offers something similar to Google’s CDN. In their free trial, you will get $200 credits that will expire in 30 days.