Best Content Delivery Network Providers in Canada – Top 6 Choices for SMBs
Do you run a website?
If so, then I don’t have to tell you just how important page speed is to the website user experience. In fact, I’d argue that speed is more important than nifty functionality or any aesthetic designs you might incorporate on your website.
Don’t believe me?
According to recent studies, 47% of web users will barely stick around your website if it doesn’t load within two seconds or less.
But that’s not all. Some studies have also shown that 78% of online shoppers who experience website issues are less likely to buy from the same site again. And 44% of them will tell their friends about their bad experience!
And, as if that’s not bad enough, Google consistently emphasizes that page speed is a ranking factor. This means that a quick loading website is a fast track to not only getting more visitors but also better rankings and improved user experience. Now we all know that Google’s algorithms are to the most part shrouded in secrecy. Yet the search engine giant explicitly points out website speed as an integral factor to your website’s success. So, it must be a pretty big deal.
But how do you improve website speed? Well, installing a Content Delivery Network is a great place to start. But there’s a problem. With so many Content Delivery Network providers in Canada, narrowing down to the best Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider can be a monumental task.
Luckily for you, I have done all the heavy lifting to help you cut through the crap and find the right CDN service for your needs. And, today, I am going to share what I think are the best in the bunch. To avoid unnecessary information, I’ve only included the very best on the market. For more hosting goodness check out our best hosting Canada page.
Disclaimer: There’s no one size fits all solution but by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have a pretty good idea of which CDN service would be best suited for your needs.
But before I get into the technical breakdown of the best CDN providers on the market, it’s important to understand what a CDN is and why you should care about it.
Sound good? Then let’s dive in.
What Is a Content Delivery Network and Why Should I Care?
A Content Delivery Network, also known as a CDN, is a globally distributed network of web servers that cache static content on your website and stores it in multiple different locations to bring it closer to the global users.
Here’s how it works. Normally, your website is served from a single location. So, all your visitors access the same server. This means that, if you have high traffic, then your website automatically slows down. And sometimes during peak hours, your website can even crash the server.
The function of a CDN, in this case, is to cache all your website’s static resources so that they are served through CDN servers. This reduces the load on your hosting server and makes it faster and more efficient. Plus, each website user request is handled by a server that’s closest to them making it easier to notice.
What Are the Benefits of Using a CDN?
Well, there are a couple of benefits that I could think of—top of the list is that it saves you money. The truth is that hiring a CDN service and hosting provider saves on costs that you would have otherwise incurred if you invested in infrastructure and separate service providers across the globe.
But that’s not all.
- A CDN also lowers the network latency and packet loss which means that end users experience less jitter and improved stream quality. And, as a result, users can deliver high definition content.
- A CDN makes it easier to segment your audience and deliver different content to different users depending on the kind of device the user is using.
- Because of how a CDN’s architecture is setup it creates redundancy to ensure reliability and a pleasant web experience.
- It provides additional security to help mitigate DDoS attacks and web threats.
- CDNs can be deployed on almost any platform seamlessly.
What to Look for in a CDN
CDN providers are not the same. Some are obviously better than others in many respects. To ensure that you’re picking the right CDN provider here are a few things that you should put into consideration.
Website speed matters a lot. And, considering that the average person only waits for two to three seconds for a website to load, the load time of the CDN you choose should be pretty darn good, if you ask me. I mean, c’mon! There’s no sense in spending big buck on a CDN if it isn’t going to be fast.
Let’s get this right. Reliability doesn’t mean that the CDN will offer jaw-dropping reliability 100%. Sure, they can give it their best shot and come close but like all other technological solutions, they too have their shortcomings. But, as a general rule of the thumb, a good CDN should at least post healthy reliability of 99.999%.
Another factor that you want to put into consideration is how secure is the CDN you’re going for.
You want to ensure that you have the best Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (STLS) so that there’s no data sent in plain text when everything should ideally be encrypted.
Before you invest in any CDN, you’ll want to know just how much it’s going to cost you. Most providers charge by the GB. Therefore, it is helpful to know how much bandwidth you are using so that you can calculate how much using a CDN will cost you.
Disclaimer: Although it might be tempting to take the cheapest deal on the table when it comes to Content Delivery Networks, you definitely don’t want to compromise on quality. Because then it means you’ll be crossing your audience and that’s not something that you want to do.
The Number of Network Locations
In the world of CDN providers, the more locations a CDN has the greater flexibility you’ll have. For this reason, the CDN you go for should have as many network locations as possible covering all major continents.
24/7 Customer Support
Let’s be honest. The odds of encountering hiccups is not exactly nonexistent. And, if you are getting tons of traffic, those odds go up exponentially. Before you make a decision on which CDN provider you are going for, you’ll want to make sure that the provider offers 24/7 support when something does go wrong.
One of the reasons why websites slow down is because of high-resolution images. A good CDN should offer image optimization that lets your images and websites load faster. Now that you know what to look for, let’s get to the juicy part.
Best CDN Providers in Canada Reviewed
Incapsula is easily one of my favorite providers. And the reasons are pretty simple. With other CDNs, it’s not really easy to find such advanced security protection. Besides the load balancing features and PCI certified firewall, Incapsula also has smart DDoS protection to provide you with jaw breaking security.
I also like the fact that it offers some of the fastest speeds you’ll come across. Thanks to an extensive capacity of data centers around the world, Incapsula provides superfast service for different kinds of needs including SaaS businesses, online stores, and on-demand video streaming.
Best of all, in addition to superb speed, Incapsula is also optimized to handle the traffic between servers. Not to mention it also super easy to set up.
With a large network of data centers spread across the globe and an extremely resilient network, Cloudflare offers you highly reliable and efficient services. In addition, Cloudflare has built-in failover and load balancing features that help maintain the service deliverability. And with the help of its real-time analytics, you can easily monitor and block suspicious crawlers, threats, and abusive bots.
In addition to reliability and efficiency, there is a lot more to love about Cloudflare. The most notable being the fact that they offer a free plan with some limited features for small websites who can’t get their own premium CDN.
3. Amazon CloudFront
Cloudfront is a rock solid CDN provider that offers fast, global, and rapidly growing servers. I particularly chose CloudFront because they offer a secure and safe environment for just about any website content and you can actually restrict the CDN country and host live streaming with ease.
However, unlike Incapsula and Cloudflare, Cloudfront’s service seems to be a little more complicated for beginners, which means that you’d need a little training to get around using it.
My number four pick is Stackpath. It is my fourth pick because it is one of the most popular Content Delivery Networks in the world. It is fast, secure, and easy to set up and has servers strategically placed across 90 countries.
In addition, the SSD loaded servers are optimized to provide page loading speed and excellent image acceleration—not to mention it has an inbuilt SSL feature that protects your website in real time and a two-step authentication security feature that helps lock in your content and secure your account.
Next up is Akamai. I particularly like this Content Delivery Network is because it has a real-time visualization that provides valuable insights into global regions that are susceptible to web attack. Furthermore, it helps identify cities with the highest traffic density and the slowest connections. In addition to its intelligent platform, Akamai is also known for its ability to speed up connections and having the suitable infrastructure needed to speed up connections.
However, unlike most of the other Content Delivery Networks I have mentioned, Akamai tends to be slightly slower in comparison, mostly because it uses DNS based lookups.
If you are looking for an alternative to Incapsula, then this is one of the best options available. Cachefly is similar to better-known names like Cloudflare and CloudFront in that it is one of the fastest CDNs available on the market. In addition, the company offers CDN in all of the continents which is quite a leap if you think about it, especially because most of the other CDNs only offer CDN in a limited number of continents.
On top of all those goodies, the company has deals with some of the biggest brands you know which is a signal of trust and belief. On the downside, however, Cachefly can be quite expensive. Furthermore, it’s pretty hard to find a plan with a few Gigabytes. However, although they are expensive, they are still one of your best out there for your money.
Summing It Up
That’s it, folks! Six of the best Content Delivery Network providers you’ll find out there. As always, be sure to do your own research and due diligence to establish which one best suits your needs.