It might solely be three years previous, however StackPath has constructed an intensive product vary by buying a bunch of different massive web gamers: MaxCDN, Highwinds, the VPN service Encrypt.me, and the net safety specialists Fireblade and Staminus.
The corporate has spent the previous 12 months or two extending and integrating these applied sciences, and the top result’s a set of 4 net companies: monitoring, managed DNS, a strong net utility firewall, and the topic of this evaluation, a content material supply community (CDN).
StackPath’s network is comparatively small and centered on Western areas, with maybe 13 areas in North America and 9 in Europe (the web site would not give constant figures, so it is onerous to say for certain). These are joined by 4 in Asia (Tokyo, Manila, Seoul and Singapore), in addition to two every in Brazil and Australia.
Options embrace good origin defend assist to provide you a useful intermediate layer of caching. As an alternative of each edge location hammering your origin with requests for brand new and up to date content material, that is cached first by a single location, and served to the remainder of the community from there.
Speedy cache purging allows deleting the content material out of your complete CDN inside milliseconds, guaranteeing all of your guests will see the most recent model of your web site, wherever they’re.
StackPath’s EdgeSSL offers you a free wildcard SSL, and serves SSL direct from its edge areas, lowering the CPU load in your origin server.
Pricing is refreshingly easy, particularly in case you’ve ever explored the nightmare that’s AWS. A flat $10 (£7.69) a month will get you assist for limitless web sites and requests, and 1TB of bandwidth. Further bandwidth is obtainable for $zero.04/GB as much as an additional 100TB, and $zero.03 for 100TB to 1PB. It is charged on the similar fee for all areas, and there aren’t any annoying hidden extras. Options like origin defend and DDoS safety are included totally free.
Ramping as much as the $20 (£15.38) a month Edge Supply plan will get you limitless EdgeRules to exactly customise how the CDN works, and provides primary assist for StackPath’s net utility firewall, managed DNS and repair monitoring.
Additional mixtures of merchandise – or ‘stacks’, as StackPath calls them – can be found, and the corporate plans so as to add extra in future.
All plans include 24/7 assist and a 100% uptime assure, and you’ll check out the service free for a month, no cost particulars required.
Establishing a StackPath account is fast and simple, not less than initially. Overlook the same old cumbersome signup kinds, simply enter your e-mail handle and also you’re instantly searching StackPath’s accessible companies.
We opted for the CDN, and the web site redirected us to the very transient setup course of.
After asking for our web site area, we have been prompted to decide on the origin from the place StackPath can be pulling content material. This can usually be the net server, and StackPath mechanically detects the IP handle and greatest protocol (HTTP or HTTPS), however it’s also possible to direct the service to Amazon S3 or a Google Cloud Storage bucket.
We clicked Proceed, the web site created our web site and generated a CNAME goal within the kind z7d4w7j9.stackpathcdn.com. Add that as a CNAME document to the DNS data for a site, and StackPath handles every thing else, caching content material, selecting up requests from guests, then mechanically serving the related information from the quickest potential location.
It actually will be so simple as that. We hadn’t been requested for our identify, our phone quantity or cost particulars, and even to confirm our e-mail handle. However our CDN was activated, on-line and able to use, not less than for our free trial month
If you would like extra management, a Settings panel offers you some useful instruments. You are capable of outline how lengthy the CDN will hold your content material earlier than it checks your origin for file modifications (minimal is 30 minutes, most is eight days.) If that is an issue, you may purge particular information from the cache or immediately clear every thing. Efficiency tweaks embrace HTTP/2 and GZip compression assist, and extra superior extras embrace CORS header assist, question string choices (methods to deal with ‘?instance=this’ queries) and host header management.
Though we aren’t masking them on this evaluation, StackPath’s net utility firewall, monitoring and managed DNS companies can be found from the identical management panel, only a click on away.
Total, StackPath cannot match the intense configurability of companies like CloudFront. It is vastly simpler to make use of, although, and there is sufficient energy right here for many functions.
Assessing CDN efficiency will be very tough. Speeds fluctuate significantly relying on location, and a service that’s solely common in Europe or the US may be a frontrunner in Asia.
CDNPerf can supply some helpful clues, because it offers a easy view of Cedexis’ person monitoring information masking billions of CDN assessments.
As we write, StackPath’s worldwide efficiency appears to be like unexceptional, with the corporate rating 13th out of 18 contenders. Drill down into the main points, although, and you will find significantly better ends in some areas. We checked the North America outcomes and located StackPath ranked fifth, forward of huge names corresponding to Azure, AWS, Cloudflare and Akamai.
Configurability will be one other vital side of a service, as customizing a service to fit your wants might generally deliver efficiency advantages. The interface would not appear to supply very a lot on this entrance, although, other than a couple of tweaks we have talked about already (HTTP/2, GZip assist).
Web site speak of StackPath’s EdgeRules system appears extra promising, with guidelines which let you ‘customise your asset supply, safety measures, website positioning, and cellular expertise to your wants.’ Sounds good, particularly because it goes on to elucidate that ‘EdgeRules are included with each CDN package deal at no extra cost. At StackPath, management comes commonplace.’
Sadly, this is not totally true. EdgeRules aren’t included within the baseline $10 (£7.50) a month CDN package deal, and you may want not less than the $20 (£15) a month Edge Supply Professional plan to entry them. That is nonetheless good worth and the EdgeRules are definitely price having, however we’d be even happier if the advertising facet of the web site did not make guarantees that the pricing web page cannot hold.
We accomplished our evaluation by looking at StackPath’s assist system. This begins with the web knowledgebase, which appears to be like good, however has little depth. A CDN Setup space scores for masking methods to arrange the service with a number of widespread apps, however the CDN Configuration part has solely 9 articles, most of which give the naked minimal of data. And though, as an illustration, the principle web site refers you to the assist pages for particulars on EdgeRules, we could not discover a single point out of them within the knowledgebase.
Thankfully, StackPath scores significantly better with actual, dwell, human assist, with brokers accessible 24/7 through cellphone, ticket and dwell chat. We tried the chat choice, have been speaking to an agent inside three minutes and had an correct reply to our product query virtually instantly. Mix that with up-to-date details about network status being available on the StackPath web site and it’s best to be capable to rapidly perceive and resolve any community points which could crop up.
We want extra areas, however StackPath is simple to arrange and handle, with high quality reporting and easy integration with StackPath’s Net Software Firewall and DNS merchandise. When you’re a CDN newcomer, join the month-to-month trial and test it out for your self.