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CloudFlare vs Fastly: What are the differences?


CloudFlare and Fastly are both content delivery networks (CDNs) that offer a range of services to improve website performance and security. While they share some similarities, they have key differences that set them apart from each other. In this article, we will highlight six key differences between CloudFlare and Fastly.

  1. Network Architecture: One of the major differences between CloudFlare and Fastly lies in their network architectures. CloudFlare operates a global network of data centers that act as reverse proxies, caching and delivering content to end-users. Fastly, on the other hand, uses an edge cloud platform that allows developers to deploy their customized logic at the network edge, enabling faster response times and more control over how content is delivered.

  2. Edge Computing Capabilities: Fastly differentiates itself by offering powerful edge computing capabilities. With Fastly's Compute@Edge, developers can write and deploy serverless functions at the edge, enabling them to execute computations closer to the end-users. This allows for real-time data processing and personalization, which can greatly enhance the overall user experience. CloudFlare also offers a serverless computing platform called CloudFlare Workers, but it doesn't have the same level of control and flexibility as Fastly's Compute@Edge.

  3. Traffic Routing and Load Balancing: Both CloudFlare and Fastly offer intelligent traffic routing and load balancing mechanisms. However, Fastly provides more granular control over these features through its real-time Edge Cloud Control API. This API allows users to programmatically control how traffic is routed and distributed, enabling more tailored load-balancing strategies. In contrast, CloudFlare's load balancing features are more focused on optimizing performance and availability rather than providing extensive customization options.

  4. Security Offerings: While both CloudFlare and Fastly offer a range of security features, CloudFlare has a stronger emphasis on security and offers more comprehensive protection. CloudFlare provides features such as DDoS protection, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and SSL/TLS encryption as part of its standard plans. Fastly also offers security features like DDoS protection and SSL/TLS encryption, but they are not as feature-rich or comprehensive as CloudFlare's offerings.

  5. Ease of Use and User Interface: CloudFlare has gained popularity for its user-friendly interface and ease of use. The platform is designed to make it easy for users to set up and configure their CDN and security settings. Fastly, on the other hand, has a more developer-centric approach and requires a greater level of technical expertise to fully utilize its capabilities. Fastly's interface is more complex and geared towards developers who prefer to have granular control.

  6. Pricing Structure: CloudFlare and Fastly have different pricing structures. CloudFlare offers a freemium model, allowing users to access a basic set of services for free, with the option to upgrade to paid plans for additional features and support. Fastly, on the other hand, follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model, where users are billed based on the amount of traffic they consume and the services they use. Fastly's pricing tends to be higher compared to CloudFlare, but it also offers more flexibility and options for customization.

In summary, the key differences between CloudFlare and Fastly lie in their network architectures, edge computing capabilities, traffic routing and load balancing mechanisms, security offerings, ease of use and user interface, and pricing structures. Each platform has its own strengths and target audience, so it's important to consider your specific needs and requirements when choosing between the two.

Decisions about CloudFlare and Fastly
Francesco Boffa

I don't think I have registered a domain in the last 10 years that hasn't been linked to CloudFlare within the first 2 hours from registration.

The benefits you get from even the free version of CloudFlare are amazing. From day 0: - 30/80% of bandwidth savings thanks to their CDN - Origin IP address protection - Managed SSL

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Pros of CloudFlare
Pros of Fastly
  • 424
    Easy setup, great cdn
  • 277
    Free ssl
  • 199
    Easy setup
  • 190
  • 180
  • 98
    Great cdn
  • 77
  • 71
  • 44
    Great UI
  • 28
    Great js cdn
  • 12
  • 12
    HTTP/2 Support
  • 12
    DNS Analytics
  • 12
  • 9
    Rocket Loader
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
    IPv6 "One Click"
  • 8
    Fantastic CDN service
  • 7
  • 7
    Nice DNS
  • 7
  • 7
    Free GeoIP
  • 7
    Amazing performance
  • 7
  • 7
    Cheapest SSL
  • 6
  • 6
    Free and reliable, Faster then anyone else
  • 5
  • 5
    Asynchronous resource loading
  • 4
    Global Load Balancing
  • 4
  • 4
    Easy Use
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
    Support for SSHFP records
  • 1
  • 1
  • 1
  • 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 CloudFlare
Cons of Fastly
  • 2
    No support for SSHFP records
  • 2
    Expensive when you exceed their fair usage limits
  • 1
    Minimum $50/mo spend

Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

What is CloudFlare?

Cloudflare speeds up and protects millions of websites, APIs, SaaS services, and other properties connected to the Internet.

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

Jun 19 2015 at 6:37AM

What are some alternatives to CloudFlare and Fastly?
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.
The MaxCDN Content Delivery Network efficiently delivers your site’s static file through hundreds of servers instead of slogging through a single host. This "smart route" technology distributes your content to your visitors via the city closest to them.
Through an application-aware, global content delivery network (CDN), Incapsula provides any website and web application with best-of-breed security, DDoS protection, load balancing and failover solutions.
Netlify is smart enough to process your site and make sure all assets gets optimized and served with perfect caching-headers from a cookie-less domain. We make sure your HTML is served straight from our CDN edge nodes without any round-trip to our backend servers and are the only ones to give you instant cache invalidation when you push a new deploy. Netlify is also the only static hosting service with integrated continuous deployment.
Cloudflare CDN
A CDN is a distributed network of servers that provides several advantages for a web site: Cached content: By caching web site content, It helps improve page load speeds, reduce bandwidth usage, and reduce CPU usage on the server.
See all alternatives