Cloudflare vs Akamai: Difference and Comparison

CDN or simply Content Delivery Network is a famous term and also in the market is getting hyped up.

However, considering a CDN has hype is quite fair because it offers features in ton which can lead to difficulty for a newbie to select a service provider of CDN.

In the CDN industry, there are several examples like Incapsula, MaxCDN, Swamify, Edgecast, Cachefly, and many more.

They are Cloudflare and Akamai, which are effective tools but based on the specific requirement one can select it. 

It is impossible to differentiate all the CDN examples in one article, so only two big players from the CDN industry are mentioned.

They are Cloudflare and Akamai, which are effective tools but based on the specific requirement one can select it.

In this article, the chief focus is on differentiating Cloudflare and Akamai. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Cloudflare focuses on content delivery, DDoS protection, and web security, while Akamai offers a broader range of services, including performance optimization and media delivery.
  2. Cloudflare appeals more to small and medium-sized businesses due to its cost-effective solutions, whereas Akamai targets larger enterprises with its comprehensive offerings.
  3. Both companies provide CDN and cybersecurity services to enhance website performance and protect against online threats.

Cloudflare vs Akamai 

Cloudflare is a popular CDN provider that offers a free range of services such as DDoS protection, web application firewall, content optimization, and global content delivery. Akamai is another popular CDN provider that offers a paid and complicated pricing and similar range of services to Cloudflare.

Cloudflare vs Akamai

Cloudflare is security and web-enabled which offers services like DDoS, content delivery network, domain name server services, and internet security.

From the year 2009, the history of Cloudflare starts when it was created by Lee Holloway, Michelle Zatlyn, and Matthew Prince.

Later, in 2010, it was launched at the conference of Tech Crunch Disrupt.  

Akamai is cyber security, CDN, and cloud service provider which is headquartered in the US. It serves the web traffic of around 15% to 3% which makes it the largest content delivery network in the world.

In the year 1998, it entered into the market but later in the year, 2001 recognized when added to Russell 2000, 3000 index. 

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCloudflareAkamai
Live videoNot supportedSupported
SSLFree SSL certificationNo SSL encryption
Bandwidth chargesDoes not charge Charges
Set upEasy setupMore complicated
2-factor authenticationHaveDo not have

What is Cloudflare? 

Cloudflare is an American website security and web infrastructure company that offers services like a content delivery network.

In June 2011, Cloudflare received media attention which offered security services to the LulzSec’s website, a Black Hat hacking group.

Cloudflare offers edge computing, reverse proxy, VPN, streaming media, and identity and access management.

When it comes to acquisition, Cloudflare has acquired CryptoSeal, Neumob, Stop TheHacker, S2 System, Zaraz, Eager Platform Co., and linc.

Cloudflare supports web protocols consisting of HTTP/2 and SPDY, QUIC and support for HTTP/2 Server Push.  

For Teams, Cloudflare is a suite of security and authentication products for clients related to business, including Gateway which is a DNS resolver of highly customizable and access, a service of zero-trust authentication.

In 2010, Cloudflare launched a famous CDN or content distribution network service.  

Cloudflare workers were launched by Cloudflare in 2017 which is a platform of serverless computing for augmenting existing ones, creating new applications without maintaining or configuring infrastructure.

Cloudflare has expanded to consist of a low latency key-value store, Workers kV, and Cron Triggers.  

cloudflare scaled

What is Akamai? 

Akamai is an American cloud service, CDN, and cyber security company which offers internet and cybersecurity services.

It is a platform of Intelligent Edge, which is one of the largest distributed computing platforms in the world.

F. Thomson Leighton and Frederick V. Salerno are two of the key people of Akamai.  

Akamai operates a server network around the world and also runs out of capacity on these servers for customers who want the website to work faster by context distribution from locations near the user.

In case, the user navigates to the Akamai customer’s URL their browser is directed by the Domain Name System of Akamai.  

When it comes to acquisition, Akamai has acquired InterVU Inc, Network24 communications, speed era networks, Call the shots, Netli, Nine Systems, and many more.

It announced a strategic partnership to build a network of Apple’s new media based on QuickTime streaming server on July 21, 1999.  

According to researches from the Cambridge and California Berkeley universities, international computer science institute Berkeley, and University College London, Akamai for visitors using Tor has been blocking access to the website.

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The FBI and NSA have reportedly used Facebook’s Akamai CDN to collect information on users of Facebook. 

Main Differences Cloudflare and Akamai 

  1. When it comes to Cloudflare, it is the CDN at the global level which offers unique performance with security’s strong focus. Conversely, Akamai is the network of content delivery that is oldest and also recognized as a global CDN.  
  2. Documentation is offered by Cloudflare, which is public and it is also in the community of Cloudflare. On the other hand, documentation is also offered by Akamai, but it fails to be available publicly.  
  3. The company Cloudflare has a global infrastructure that uses equipment of high-level performance. On contrary, Akamai has servers that are widespread and also offer a range of services as well as products.  
  4. In terms of avail of services, there is not as such minimum contract term of Cloudflare. On the flip side, for the avail of services in Akamai, there is a contract duration of approx 12 months.  
  5. Cloudflare boosts up the performance and speeds up by protecting millions of websites, SaaS, API connected to networks. Companies preferred Cloudflare Digital Ocean, Udemy, etc.
  6. Meanwhile, one of the leading sources for cloud, security, media, and mobile across anywhere is Akamai. It is preferred by LinkedIn



Last Updated : 04 July, 2023

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8 thoughts on “Cloudflare vs Akamai: Difference and Comparison”

  1. It is impossible to differentiate all the CDN examples in one article, so only two big players from the CDN industry are mentioned.

  2. Cloudflare offers a free range of services such as DDoS protection, web application firewall, content optimization, and global content delivery, which is impressive.

    • I agree, it’s good how the article emphasizes the importance of choosing a service provider based on specific requirements.

  3. It seems Cloudflare is more cost-effective for small and medium-sized businesses, while Akamai is geared towards larger enterprises.


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