How to avoid common mistakes when choosing a CDN provider

How to avoid common mistakes when choosing a CDN provider

To be successful, an Internet business needs a CDN partner who can quickly and easily take over the entire infrastructure load.

But how do you choose a contractor to whom you can entrust your data, given the ever-increasing technical requirements of infrastructure?

How is content for latency-sensitive services properly stored and delivered?

How can you reduce capital and operating costs?

How can you make your business more profitable and your customers happier?

We’ve prepared a comprehensive checklist to help you decide on a CDN provider.

What content are you going to deliver?

Different types of content require different solutions. One bandwidth is required for static files but for games and streams you need much more.

How to avoid common mistakes when choosing a CDN provider

Web content

If most of your content is static, choose a provider with a wide network of points of presence (PoPs). It will be an advantage if the provider places their equipment in the best data centers and the largest traffic exchange points. This way you can be sure of the quality distribution of your content.

Games and online entertainment

Compared to other applications, online games need maximum bandwidth and consistent performance, as even milliseconds of latency can completely ruin the gaming experience, and you’ll lose players forever.

To prevent this from happening, look at CDN providers who have experience providing infrastructure to major game developers and publishers. Such providers can deliver heavy content with minimal delays and relieve the load on servers during traffic surges. This can be done, for example, by using origin shielding technology which additionally protects the origin server from high loads when there’s a large number of requests from CDN servers.

How to avoid common mistakes when choosing a CDN provider


Content delivery networks that specialize in streaming video and video on demand (VOD) in real time need to be able to deliver it without buffering.

Where is your core audience located?

The task of a CDN provider is to ensure high-quality content delivery to the regions and countries where your customers are located.

Choose a service provider with the closest PoP to your users, as this will provide a consistently high download speed of content to your customers.

Look for providers with developed infrastructure and minimal response times.

How to avoid common mistakes when choosing a CDN provider

Where is your content stored?

The first time a user accesses your content, it has not yet been cached. The content delivery network must receive data from the origin storage servers, wherever they are. This happens when a user first requests a specific file.

To ensure the fastest delivery of content to the CDN cache, choose a provider that can route traffic and bypass internet downloads that can interfere with delivering content.

Does the CDN support the necessary protocols?

Choose a provider that allows you to securely deliver your data using Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates to create secure HTTP connections, and also allows you to use your own SSL certificate or get a free Let’s Encrypt certificate for confidential communication between clients and servers.

Is it safe to store and deliver content via the CDN provider?

Choose vendors that offer the following options:

  • Keyed access (Tokenized URL). Protects content from unwanted downloads with a token.
  • Origin validation using SSL. Allows CDN servers to check the validity of the SSL certificate on the origin server when establishing a connection, and also check whether the responding server belongs to the client.
  • HTTP header Access-Control-Allow-Origin. Allows the user’s browser to obtain permission to access resources of a domain other than the one from which the request comes.
  • Redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • Access policy for countries, domains, IP addresses, and client applications.

How flexible are the CDN settings?

A quality CDN provider offers its customers:

  • convenient API for easy integration;
  • heavy content preloading for faster delivery to users;
  • cache flush (full or selective);
  • caching parameters (setting and managing the cache storage time);
  • settings for flexible management of certain file types or paths.

Does the CDN have a personal account with automated settings in it?

Often, large CDN providers don’t offer customers the option of signing up by themselves. In order to create an account, the user must contact a manager through whom the integration with the service is carried out.

However, it is far more effective to customize the server yourself according to your needs. Choose a provider that allows you to manage all the features through a public API or interfaces in your personal account. As a rule, all settings have hints and links to articles in a knowledge base if you want to know more.

It’s also important that you can change the settings yourself at any time without the need to contact technical support—this will save you a lot of time.

How much do CDN services cost? Are there free plans for small businesses or special offers for enterprise customers?

CDN prices vary depending on the amount of traffic.

Some content delivery networks offer free plans for indie developers and small businesses with a monthly traffic limit of up to 100 GB.

Enterprise businesses are often presented with special offers at attractive prices.

Some service providers publish comparative pricing data from public sources.

 GcoreFastlyAkamaiEdgeCastCDN77AWS CloudFront
1 TB€25From €111~€63€45From €43**From €73***
5 TB€100From €554~€297From €59**From €210**From €367***
10 TB€150From €1 108~€585From €117**~€280From €734***

* As of December 1, 2020.

** For the USA and Europe.

*** For North America, Europe, and Israel.

How fast and reliable is tech support?

The expertise of the technical support staff of a CDN provider directly reflects the quality of services. Ideally, a support specialist should have deep knowledge and extensive experience, instantly answering customer questions via online chat or by phone.

Free trial

If you are looking for a CDN, Gcore invites you to take advantage of a 14-day free trial period.

We guarantee:

  • high-quality service;
  • friendly and reliable tech support;
  • the maximum bandwidth of our channels.

Why do customers around the world choose Gcore CDN for delivering heavy content?

  • 70+ points of presence on 5 continents
  • 650+ cache servers
  • 5,000+ peering partners
  • <30 ms response time
  • 50+ Tbps total network capacity
  • Vast experience in distributing heavy content
  • Real-time statistics
  • Convenient control panel
  • The option to additionally sign up for a streaming platform, storage, DDoS protection, hosting, and cloud

Try CDN for free

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