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WordPress CDN Benchmarking by Performance

Updated on  May 14, 2018

4 Min Read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

At Cloudways, our primary concern is performance and the goal is to become the best co-pilot to accompany you in the success of your projects. And that’s why today, we decided to talk a bit about Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

WordPress CDN Benchmarking

As you certainly know, one of the secrets of a successful website or an ecommerce store is speed. It ​​is what supports your user experience with the good results of your load times, and by extrapolation, which greatly affects your turnover.

And that’s precisely why using a WordPress CDN should be part of the arrows in your quiver of optimizations as it ensures better user experience for visitors irrespective of their location.

Although there are many WordPress CDN providers to choose from, but it is a challenge to determine which one will offer the best performance in real-world scenarios.

The only way to resolve this issue was to benchmark those CDNs and for that, we selected three widely used popular CDN providers:

  1. CloudwaysCDN (Partnered with StackPath formerly known as MaxCDN)
  2. CloudFlare
  3. KeyCDN

The Process of CDN Benchmarking

I launched default WordPress 4.9.4 on Cloudways DigitalOcean server of 1GB RAM, 25GB SSD and 1 Core CPU.

For the benchmarking test, the tool we used is an open-source Node.js CDN benchmark CLI. To establish an in-depth understanding of how fast a WordPress CDN delivers content, sufficient data entries over the course of few hours is required.

In our CDN benchmarking, we downloaded three image files from our WordPress site hosted on Cloudways (Small: 78.6KB, Medium: 747KB, Large: 1.28MB) for 3.5 hours with 5 minutes intervals. These files are taken from a WordPress site hosted on Cloudways.

The Results of CDN Benchmarking

After the benchmarking test, we compiled the final data into a graphical representation for an easy comparison. The data was generated after running the test for straight 3.5 hours. The test gives you a hint of which CDN works better on which file size.

Small Image

Small Image

CloudFlare started normally but could not maintain the same pace while downloading the small size image. In the first 40 minutes of the test, it went as high as 22 milliseconds whereas CloudwaysCDN and KeyCDN were just lying straight on the horizontal axis showing a constant speed of approximately 2-3 milliseconds. There is a spike from 75-85 minutes in KeyCDN where it went as high as 9 ms. CloudwaysCDN was quite smooth throughout the test. It started and ended the test with the maximum downloading speed without any surprises.

Medium Image

medium image

Things did not get better for CloudFlare when downloading medium size image as well. It had huge spikes from 20-40 minutes of approximately 128 ms. Another smaller spike from 75-85 minutes. On the other hand, CloudwaysCDN maintained its top position in the comparison with KeyCDN which showed some disturbance towards the end of the test as seen in the above graph.

Large Image

large image

While downloading the large image (1.28MB), CloudFlare downloading speed was approximately 40 ms while its counterparts had comparatively a good start. KeyCDN was almost steady throughout the test except for a few bumps at the start and towards the end of the test. CoudwaysCDN again did an amazing job by staying as close as possible to X-axis showing the fast and steady downloading speed throughout the test.

We also calculated the average download speed of each CDN on three image size.

Average Score

average score

The results from the above graph are pretty straightforward. CloudwaysCDN had the highest downloading speed in all three categories of files. KeyCDN came second with average score. CloudFlare got third position with lowest score due to huge spikes in the initial stages of all three tests. It performed pretty well in the midst and end of the tests.


The purpose of WordPress CDN benchmarking was to collect realistic performance results from the best CDN providers. It is now obvious that CloudwaysCDN did a great job in all three tests and maintained its top position. Cloudways users can easily integrate CloudwaysCDN from their platform. They only have to pay $1 for 25GB per application and additional consumption cost $0.04 per GB.

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About The Author

Ibad Ur Rehman

Ibad Ur Rehman is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He likes to explore latest open-source technologies and to interact with different communities. In his free time he likes to read, watch a series or fly his favorite Cessna 172SP in X Plane 10 flight simulator.

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