Difference Between Cloudflare and CloudFront (With Table)

If one hosts a full-fledged website, there’s a high chance of getting viewers from all around the globe and to provide them with better services, tools like Cloudflare or CloudFront is used.

For a basic level of understanding, both of these tools help a website to speed up their performance for global visitors by storing the host’s content at different servers.

And so, it has also a specific term – Content Delivery Network or CDN.

However, both Cloudflare and CloudFront have a similar target, but they choose to accomplish it differently from each other. They also have different features.

Cloudflare vs CloudFront

The difference between Cloudflare and CloudFront is that Cloudflare is a reverse proxy, which means one has to connect their domain’s nameservers to it. CloudFront is a traditional form of CDN, where it will automatically grab the data from the host’s origin server onto its server network.

Comparison Table Between Cloudflare and CloudFront

Parameters of ComparisonCloudflareCloudFront
SetupIts setup is quite easy navigational.Its setup has two ways – Push & Pull.
Live VideoIt does not support the live streaming videos feature.It supports the feature of live streaming videos.
Image OptimisationCloudflare can be used for image optimisation.CloudFront does not support image optimisation.
Integrated ToolsTools integrated with it are Buddy, Cloudcraft, Mixmax.Tools integrated with it are Google Analytics, Terraform.
Best Used ForCloudflare is best at managing server loads and site speeds.CloudFront is best used when a site seeks speed in static and dynamic web contents.
SPDY ProtocolIt supports the SPDY protocol.It does not support SPDY Protocol.
Origin PushIt does not support Origin Push. The number of Point of presence is 71.It partially supports Origin Push. The number of point of presence is 41.

What is Cloudflare?

It is a United States-based web infrastructure and security company that offers content delivery network services, domain name server services, Internet security, DDoS mitigation, etc.

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Cloudflare believes in the idea to enhance reliability, performance and security of anything that is connected to the internet. The company’s services lie between a website’s visitor and its user’s hosting provider, behaving as a reverse proxy for websites.

Its DDoS mitigation services secure its customers from distributed denial of service attacks. Cloudflare also provides a Content Distribution Network service. The firm now claims to support more than 25 million websites.

On the list of its free core features are – SSL/TLS, Firewall, page rules, analytics, registrar, workers, CDN, DNS Hosting, etc – but with certain limitations.

What is CloudFront?

CloudFront, which is generally popular as Amazon CloudFront as it is offered by Amazon Web Services, provides the content delivery network to websites that speed ups distribution of web contents like HTML, CSS, image files, etc.

Its servers are situated in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Japan, South America, Africa. CloudFront competes with other larger CDNs like Akamai and Limelight Networks.

It works seamlessly with services like Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EC2, AWS Shield Standard for DDoS mitigation. An eye-catching feature of CloudFront is that it provides live streaming video facility.

CloudFront can easily get started with the Content Delivery Network in just a few minutes with tools like AWS Management Console, APIs, SDKs, Command Line Interface.

Main Differences Between Cloudflare and CloudFront

  1. Cloudflare’s system setup is quite easy and its interface is smooth to navigate. On the other hand, CloudFront follows a two-way type setup – Push and Pull.
  2. Cloudflare does not support the feature of live streaming or live video. Whereas CloudFront successfully supports the feature of live streaming videos.
  3. Cloudflare can be used for image optimisation which includes image resizing, mirage or polish. Whereas CloudFront does not support image optimisation.
  4. Tools that are integrated with Cloudflare are – Buddy, Cloudcraft and Mixmax. On the other hand, tools that are integrated with CloudFront are – Google Analytics and Terraform.
  5. Cloudflare is best used for managing server loads and site speeds. Whereas, CloudFront is best used when a site seeks speed in static and dynamic web contents.
  6. Cloudflare supports SPDY protocol. Whereas Amazon’s CloudFront does not support the SPDY protocol.
  7. Cloudflare does not support Origin Push and its Number of point of presence is 71. On the other hand, CloudFront partially supports Origin Push and its Number of point of presence is 41.
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Conclusion

Now to get on the conclusion let’s just sum up. So, both the companies – Cloudflare and CloudFront provides Content Delivery Network feature that can help one’s website to speed up when visited by a global visitor. They also reduce the page load time and server load.

They both have a wider range of features and functions which makes it more difficult to choose who’s the winner.

But as there’s always a way out, while judging based on the requirements of a website, it can be easy to figure out which one is going to suit them best.

For instance, comparing there offers, feature, stability, security can help to know which one will fit best for one’s website.

For entry-level sites, Cloudflare can be suggested as it provides its customers with an unlimited free version that can be suitable for a website that has average traffic or standard content. Integration-wise also Cloudflare is apt.

Talking about mainstream firms, Amazon CloudFront can be the best option as it is famous with brands that have a good online presence. Brands like NASA, IMBD, PBS, etc use CloudFront’s CDN services.

If one is a novice in the market and want to try Content Delivery Network services, them Cloudflare is easy to go for them as it is convenient to install with free of cost facility with great security features. But if one’s requirement is to provide its audience with efficient live video streaming, then they should go ahead with CloudFront.

References

  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3278532.3278552
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8888058/