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Akamai vs Fastly: What are the differences?


In this article, we will compare the key differences between two popular content delivery network (CDN) providers: Akamai and Fastly. These CDN providers offer services to help improve website performance, availability, and security. While both companies offer similar solutions, there are several key differences that set them apart.

  1. Network Size: Akamai operates one of the largest and most widely distributed CDN networks in the world, consisting of over 240,000 servers deployed in various locations. Fastly, on the other hand, has a smaller network with around 50 edge locations globally. This difference in network size can impact the coverage and latency of content delivery.

  2. Edge Computing: Fastly distinguishes itself by offering edge computing capabilities through its "compute@edge" platform. This allows developers to run custom code at the edge of the network, closer to end users, enabling a wide range of real-time personalized experiences and optimizations. Akamai, while providing edge capabilities, does not emphasize edge computing to the same extent as Fastly.

  3. Configuration Flexibility: Fastly offers a more flexible and customizable configuration system compared to Akamai. Fastly's platform, called Varnish Configuration Language (VCL), provides granular control over content delivery and allows developers to tailor CDN behavior to their specific requirements. Akamai, although offering customization options, relies more on predefined configurations and rulesets.

  4. Purge and Configuration Updates: Fastly's purge process is highly efficient, allowing almost immediate content updates across its network. Additionally, Fastly's configuration updates are deployed quickly and seamlessly within seconds. Akamai, due to its larger network and infrastructure, may take a bit longer to propagate content changes and configuration updates globally.

  5. Logging and Analytics: Both companies offer logging and analytics tools, but Fastly's platform provides more real-time and granular visibility into website traffic and performance metrics. Fastly's real-time logging capabilities enable developers to monitor and analyze traffic instantly, aiding in debugging and troubleshooting. Akamai provides similar tools but may have a slight delay in data reporting.

  6. Pricing Model: Akamai generally follows a custom pricing model, where costs can vary based on individual needs and negotiations. Fastly, on the other hand, uses a transparent and simplified pricing structure based on bandwidth consumption and additional features. Fastly's pricing model provides greater clarity and ease of pricing calculation compared to Akamai.

In summary, Akamai offers a larger global network, while Fastly distinguishes itself through its edge computing capabilities, configuration flexibility, efficient purge and configuration updates, real-time logging and analytics, and a transparent pricing model. Each provider has its own strengths and considerations, so choosing between them depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the website or application.

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Pros of Akamai
Pros of Fastly
    Be the first to leave a pro
    • 28
      Real-time updates
    • 26
      Fastest CDN
    • 22
      Powerful API
    • 20
      Great support
    • 14
      Great customer support
    • 7
      Instant Purging
    • 7
      Custom VCL
    • 6
      Good pricing
    • 6
      Tag-based Purging
    • 5
      HTTP/2 Support
    • 4
      Speed & functionality
    • 4
      Image processing on demande (Fastly IO)
    • 4
      Best CDN

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    Cons of Akamai
    Cons of Fastly
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 1
        Minimum $50/mo spend

      Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

      What is Akamai?

      If you've ever shopped online, downloaded music, watched a web video or connected to work remotely, you've probably used Akamai's cloud platform. Akamai helps businesses connect the hyperconnected, empowering them to transform and reinvent their business online. We remove the complexities of technology, so you can focus on driving your business faster forward.

      What is Fastly?

      Fastly's real-time content delivery network gives you total control over your content, unprecedented access to performance analytics, and the ability to instantly update content in 150 milliseconds.

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      What companies use Akamai?
      What companies use Fastly?
      See which teams inside your own company are using Akamai or Fastly.
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