MaxCDN Review: The Best CDN Solution for WordPress?

This MaxCDN review covers every little thing about the service- features, customer support, ease of use, pricing, and overall functionalities.

It will not kill you. Or hurt you in any way.

But waiting has got to be one of the most annoying things in today’s fast-paced world. No one wants to be kept waiting for anything.

Doubt it? Well, try being late to your next meeting. Each additional minute they’ll wait for you will probably feel like five minutes. You’ll be lucky if the meeting subsequently proceeds smoothly.

This phenomenon is so interesting that it blows your mind away when you come to think of it critically. Like, for instance, we’d rather accept a not-so-hot pizza than wait for ages to have a hot one delivered.

Maybe we’re just naturally impatient. Or it possibly has something to do with the fact that time is, by far, one of the most precious resources. You can never recover lost time. Once you spend it, it’s gone forever.

And you know what? The online community isn’t left out either.

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We acknowledge that internet speeds are not perfect everywhere. But still, people are not patient enough to sit through slow page load times.

You’ll spend loads of money on Google Ads. Then blow a couple more on cold prospecting. And invest quite a lot of time building a solid social media following. Only to lose the bulk of all that traffic right at your website’s doorstep.

All because it fails to load fast enough.

Your leads are simply not patient enough to hang around for ages, waiting for the main meal. You know, that juicy conversion funnel you have waiting right by the buffet table.

But hang on a minute. What amount of time are we talking about here? To be fair, everyone can afford to wait for a couple of seconds, right?

On paper, a couple of seconds seems negligible. But wait until you’re forced to stare at a blank screen for even five seconds. It feels like the whole world has suddenly stopped. And your fingers start itching to shift the pointer to another tab.

With that in mind, here’s a rather interesting fact…

The web is far from perfect when it comes to this. According to a research report published by Google earlier this year, it takes 22 seconds on average for a landing page to load.

Now, let that sink in for 22 seconds. Imagine waiting all that time as you stare blankly at a blank screen.

Chances are, you’ve rarely experienced this on websites. Because you’ve never been patient enough to wait through it all.

Certainly explains why Google also established that 53% of the traffic leaves if the page loading time is more than 3 seconds.

Well, I know what you’re possibly thinking at this point. That such disappointing statistics could have been generated after adding up websites based in slow internet zones.

In all fairness, that could be true. So why don’t we switch it up a little, and look at the areas with the McLarens, Ferrari’s, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis of internet traffic?

Here are four of the world’s greatest, factoring the average page load times in all the industries:

average page load times

Astonishing, right?

Essentially, you lose about a minute for every six to seven travel sites you access. Now, consider an entire day of scrolling the web, exploring multiple industries.

Yes. You’re dead right. This doesn’t just slide without consequences.

Aberdeen Group further extrapolated such figures and established a notable trend. Basically, every additional second of page load time loses you 7% of potential conversions, and 11% of the page views. Plus it drops the overall customer satisfaction rate by 16%.

load time impact

The result?

Extremely poor conversion rates, to say the least. By the fourth quarter of 2017, ecommerce sites globally were only converting 3.26% of their principal traffic.

average conversion rate

So, what can we do to reverse this?

Well, we could gang up and raise funds to boost internet speeds worldwide. But such a campaign would only get so far.

Or, you could simply minimize the size of your web pages. Overcompressing, however, could lead to a much poorer graphical interface. Besides, an average size of 2MB for web pages is already small enough.

average web page size

And that brings us to the third option. One that’s predominantly catching up with both online stores and personal websites.

The use of CDN.

MaxCDN Review: Overview

They say that the shortest distance between two points is always a straight line. Similarly, at a constant speed, the closest an object is to the destination, the less the travel time.

Now, let’s bring that concept closer to home.

The web is fundamentally a system of interconnected networks. Websites are held in servers all over the world. And fortunately, data pretty much moves in a straight line.

Delivery time, on the other hand, depends on speed and distance traveled. Unfortunately, you have limited control over the former. But the good news is that you can adjust the latter using the distance-time principle we’ve mentioned.

All things considered, that’s essentially the whole concept behind CDNs, otherwise known as Content Delivery Networks in full.

Instead of relying on one server, your website’s content is replicated and stored in multiple servers positioned at different locations. That way, your web traffic only accesses content from respective servers located closest to them.

The result? Well, much faster page load times. It really is that simple.

That part is easy. But where do you get the financial muscle and logistical capabilities of building and placing all those servers?

The secret is…

You don’t. There are multiple cloud-based CDN services that do this at a fee.

And one of the popular ones is MaxCDN.

Now, MaxCDN is not one of these new age CDN services that are seemingly sprouting up almost on a regular basis. It has been around since 2009, when it was founded in Los Angeles California.

Back then, CDN was a strategy mostly reserved for large enterprises. But MaxCDN came with a different approach. Of extending its services to even the smallest businesses.

This has subsequently driven its growth through the years in different parts of the world. It’s also a notable player in the U.S market, which is currently experiencing accelerated adoption of CDNs.

The overall efficacy of CDNs is especially fuelling the growth of that North American market, which is expected to hit $15.73 billion is 2020. Up from $4.95 billion in 2015.

But, is MaxCDN a part of this revolution? Is it any good to begin with?

I will help you establish that. This MaxCDN review covers every little thing about the service- features, customer support, ease of use, pricing, and overall functionalities.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

MaxCDN Review: Top Features

First things first.

MaxCDN operates more than 18 server locations, strategically placed in all the core traffic sources in the world. Americans love it because it has eight datacenters spread across multiple states, while Europe gets four, Asia six, and South America comes last with just one server.

MaxCDN servers

These servers usually hold static resources like JavaScript, CSS, video, and image files, among other data types.

For efficient content delivery, the service also comes with additional tools to optimize these elements. If your site is heavy on videos, for example, you’ll be pleased by its Video-On-Demand-Zone (VODZone) service.

Other critical features are fundamentally optimized to offer analytics, real-time control, and data security. This, among other things, makes asset purging instant regardless of the request source- your own custom app or the control panel.

SSL integration, on the other hand, is also delivered in real time. Including all corresponding functionalities.

Well, of course, you’ll still need to access your content logs after all that. Thankfully, MaxCDN’s log viewer allows you to do this through the command line interface, Control Panel, or API.

Then there’s this feature they call Raw Log to S3 bucket. It basically crawls through the system, compiling all the server responses from all your locations, then avails the results. Quite handy for overall analysis.

This is the part where you realize that hackers could also infiltrate and do the same thing. Because multiple server locations mean a wider data footprint. Pretty much translates to additional attack nodes.

Fortunately, MaxCDN knows this all-too-well. Consequently, the service comes with multiple security functionalities like HTTP Referrer, IP Whitelisting, OAuth, Secure Tokens, and Two-Step Authentications.

Collectively, they enable management of users and bots, plus control of access permissions when it comes to the control panel and overall content.

If these prove to be insufficient for your site’s needs, you can still proceed to advanced features. They provide additional security layers and boost integration of MaxCDN applications.

Other notable functionalities include:

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  • Seamless WordPress integration with SuperCache plugins and W3 Total Cache.
  • All-inclusive, user-friendly Control Panel.
  • Compatibility with numerous CMSs, including OpenCart, PrestaShop, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, etc)

maxcdn features

MaxCDN Review: Ease of Use

I’ll admit it. MaxCDN might seem complex at first. Especially to a first-time user. But everything becomes super simple and straightforward once you learn the ropes.

It operates by creating Zones, which are basically different content caches. A Pull Zone, for example, automatically pulls content you’ve chosen on the initial file request.

If you’re dealing with considerably large static files, a thoughtful way of uploading them to the CDN would be creating a Push Zone first.

Seems confusing? Well, worry not. Because the main dashboard further explains the whole idea behind every zone type.

And creating them shouldn’t be a problem at all. Because the process is actually as simple as typing a name and a corresponding URL.

Overall, zone creation should take less than a minute.

maxcdn interface

MaxCDN Review: Pricing

Let’s start with the negative point.

The bad news is that MaxCDN had a free-trial offer, which was eventually scrapped off. Instead, the service now comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. Quite unfortunate, to say the least.

The good news is that MaxCDN is reasonably priced, and everyone has been considered- small businesses, mid-sized enterprises, and large corporations.

It comes with three principal plans. Each with varying bandwidth allocations.

The Entrepreneur option is just ideal for startups and bloggers. It starts at $9 per month for 100GB of bandwidth for that period, then $39 per month for 500GB/month bandwidth, and finally $79 per month for 1TB of bandwidth.

The Professional plan, on the other hand, offers the cheapest package at $299 per month for 5TB bandwidth. The allocations subsequently increase systematically with higher corresponding prices, up to 25TB at $1149 per month.

Beyond that is the zone for advanced users, which is suited for large websites with significantly large traffic. This is where you get a negotiable Custom plan.

maxcdn pricing

MaxCDN Review: Customer Support

Admit it. We rarely come across services that have implemented a comprehensive customer support strategy. There’s always one channel missing from the list.

Well, MaxCDN has proven to be an exception. You can reach out to the technical team through email, phone, and live chat.

And you know what? They are available 24/7. Refreshingly pleasant, to say the least.

But you don’t have to take that route. You could alternatively take advantage of its extensive knowledge base. It’s composed of well-laid out setup guides, FAQs and developer resources.

Bottom Line

From what I’ve seen around the web, competition is increasingly stiff between CDN services. But MaxCDN is seemingly handling it quite well.

The bottom line is that it continues to optimize its services for all market levels- individual users, small businesses, and large enterprises.

Most importantly, it has a vast network of datacenters. Undeniably the most critical factor for CDN services.

If you’ve tried it out, feel free to post your opinion in the comments section.

MaxCDN Rating: 4.0 - Review by