If you’re running a business that delivers digital content to users across the web, you’ll find that it is not as easy as it may have originally seemed. Maintaining fast and reliable content sharing requires the appropriate tools and good network infrastructure. Even with engaging content, the quality and performance of your content delivery make a huge difference. Due to the rise in popularity of such platforms at an unprecedented rate, the market has become very competitive. Web users are becoming less and less patient; every second counts and every delay in response time may push away users and cost you significantly.
To provide users with the best possible web experience, you’re likely to turn to good Content Delivery Network (CDN) services to leverage their powerful network capabilities. There is a growing need to establish more complex web infrastructures and to upload and share a wide variety of digital content. These often take up much of the network bandwidth and may be prone to inconvenient slowdowns. This made CDNs a very practical solution to prevent slow-loading pages and media from ruining the user’s experience.
If you’re faced with having to choose a good service that will let you upload content and manage your digital assets conveniently, you need to take some time to evaluate your possible options. You’re likely to have heard of Cloudinary, which is commonly used for this purpose. However, there’s more to file sharing and delivery than just that. In this article, we’ll provide you with the nine best alternatives to Cloudinary that you may check out to determine if they suit your business needs perfectly.
Things to Consider
Choosing a good software that aligns with your needs requires some thought. First, you have to consider the type of content you’re going to share and its potential size. For instance, some CDNs may struggle with very large uploads, and some may not be very optimized when delivering very small files. It may be particularly important for you to store large amounts of data in the cloud. Many CDNs include cloud-based storage, so make sure you factor that in.
In addition, speed is a very crucial quality that needs to be present. Of course, how fast you’re going to share will depend on your own network. In this regard, the CDN provider you choose must ensure a greater speed than that of your server.
Next, you’ll want a platform that is practical and easy to use. Managing loads of digital content can be a headache. Consider the accessibility of your potential platform as that can save a lot of time.
If you’re looking for a Cloudinary alternative, chances are, price is something you’re taking into account. Many CDNs are more affordable yet very powerful and can deliver the performance that you’re expecting. Make sure that, when considering the price, you carefully evaluate the performance and features that come with the service.
Upload is a file uploading and sharing service that also serves as a host for web apps. It contains features such as image processing and files caching, allowing you to edit, optimize, and cache images directly on the platform. This is significantly convenient if you deal with a lot of image content. Additionally, it provides a practical cloud storage service that doesn’t require prior setup or configuration. As for file sharing and content delivery, Upload’s CDN guarantees consistent performance. It also covers hundreds of locations around the world, which minimizes any delivery latency and ensures a fast and stable user experience.
Upload is very developer-centric Cloudinary alternative, offering more power-user features than the latter: we recommend checking the feature pages of both to see how the two compare. It is also very reliable when it comes to uploading large files, and it supports mobile uploads as well. The accessible and well-designed dashboard allows you to maintain clear oversight of your usage and lets you keep track of your metrics in a convenient way.
2. Amazon S3 (+ CloudFront)
This Amazon Web Services-powered platform allows you to store and retrieve any amount of data in a very reliable and secure way. It practically has no limits to how much data you can upload. While it doesn’t offer much in terms of image processing and management, it is fast and convenient for file sharing and retrieval. It can be very suitable, especially if your digital content is edited and processed elsewhere.
Amazon S3 offers a variety of file manipulation tools. For instance, you can easily back up and restore your data without the risk of losing your data integrity thanks to its file replication features. The detailed interface provides you with many ways to manage your storage. On top of that, it offers many analytical features that allow you to understand, monitor, and optimize your storage.
For content delivery services, S3 is best combined with Amazon CloudFront. Speed and scale are guaranteed, despite the drawback of a somewhat complex configuration.
3. Cloudflare (CDN)
Cloudflare offers a strong infrastructure for web applications, APIs, and websites that are reliable and secure. It is particularly suitable for web performance, although it supports mobile use as well. Thanks to its powerful CDN, Cloudflare allows content delivery over a vast network. The CDN is highly customizable and easy to set up. For instance, it lets you have control over the caching measures and manipulate the behavior of individual URLs.
The Cloudflare accessible interface grants visibility into the website’s performance and contains many features that let you monitor and optimize your resources. Cloudflare is renowned for its protection standards, especially for websites. It also does remarkably well in ensuring fast content delivery thanks to its intelligent routing which allows content to be transferred via the fastest network paths.
Regarding the type of content, Cloudflare offers a set of unique features that are suitable for video delivery in particular. Thanks to the incorporated video acceleration tools, it can significantly reduce latency and loading times and can support a large number of simultaneous users without sacrificing performance.
When it comes to image processing and optimization, Imgix is one of the best options available. With a handful of features, Imgix allows you to manage, render, optimize, and deliver images. Images are easily searchable and sorted due to the many organization options and customizable search filters. They are also automatically tagged thanks to machine learning-powered algorithms.
Primarily intended for images, Imgix provides some powerful image rendering tools, thereby allowing a large number of manipulations to enhance the images, as well as optimization and caching features.
Besides image processing, Imgix comes with a CDN designed specifically for image delivery. There are many output formats for images to choose from, in addition to the ability to compress images prior to sharing them. The CDN reaches a global network, allowing for fast image delivery around the world.
If your business relies exclusively on images, Imgix is a very viable option for you. One takeaway is that storage is limited as Imgix does not offer a cloud storage feature. However, it can be combined with other cloud services if you have a huge number of images to store. For other more sizable types of content such as videos, Imgix is not your best bet.
Akamai is a versatile platform with many products and features to choose from according to your business needs. The obvious advantage is that you don’t have to get features that you don’t need. It is particularly suitable for images and videos. Visual content can be managed and optimized in many ways. A key feature is the file size reduction that nicely preserves the visual quality.
As for delivery, Akamai comes with many cloud solutions such as content replication and traffic management. This offers a fast and reliable way to deliver content. It also provides a scalable service to store and protects your content.
Akamai includes a media analytics feature comprising a large set of metrics to help you monitor and evaluate your content reach and performance. The main drawback is that if you need all these features for your project, it may be quite costly and tricky to set up. However, it can be very convenient and cost-effective if you rely on a few features more than others.
A very effective platform for developing web and mobile applications is Firebase. You can take advantage of its many features and tools dedicated to the development, maintenance, monitoring, and analysis of your applications. It also ensures a fast and reliable app delivery to users and testers. A significant benefit to using Firebase is that the backend of your application will be fully managed, which can considerably accelerate the development process.
Firebase provides app developers with cloud storage that is built for a very large scale, which is significant when your app gets widely shared. Storage is also secure due to a reliable authentication process. Files and apps can be downloaded irrespective of the network quality. It can also be interrupted and resumed without compromising the data.
As far as web and mobile apps go, Firebase can be a great option. It does take into account the various types of content. However, if you intend to manipulate images and videos, it may be best to opt for more specialized platforms that include extensive media management features.
Primarily an image CDN, ImageKit is an all-in-one platform containing many features for image management, optimization, and delivery. It includes built-in storage, but it can also be combined with third-party cloud storage services. Image transformation with ImageKit is easy to perform. Images can also be optimized in many ways for better web performance. If your project entails uploading high-quality images, ImageKit can ensure quick loading times and optimized image URLs, which can help create more engaging content. The CDN itself is distributed globally which helps with the processing and sharing speed. It can also be integrated with other CDNs.
The ImageKit product comes with an analytics feature that helps track your usage and evaluate the content performance. It also detects performance issues and fixes them. Automation is a key advantage that can help save a lot of time, particularly with recurrent issues that can be fixed without manual intervention.
ImageEngine is another image CDN that can effectively optimize and deliver images. It takes into account the various devices when resizing and compressing images, with particularly good mobile detection capabilities. This ensures a maintained quality is adapted to every device. It is more oriented towards optimization, but it also allows for basic image manipulations that can come in handy.
The process of delivering images is enhanced and accelerated, which results in fewer latencies and quick loading times. While it doesn’t have built-in cloud storage, ImageEngine supports other cloud services and lets you integrate them seamlessly.
Many products and features are offered by Fastly and can be integrated into its platform. It allows you to manage and optimize images and videos for websites and applications. It is particularly suitable for streaming videos and real-time digital publishing while ensuring high quality. It also provides a set of quick image transformation tools, which can also be automated for better SEO performance in the case of websites.
Fastly’s CDN is comprehensive and customizable with a troubleshooting feature that helps fix connectivity issues and suggests the optimal configuration for your particular use cases. It extends across a large network and makes delivery fast and reliable.
Fastly does not offer a cloud service. Instead, it supports Google Cloud Storage, which means that content delivery is highly scalable. Fastly’s web apps and APIs are protected, on top of other security measures that can be implemented such as DDoS and bot protection.
Managing digital content and delivering it to a large number of users is no small feat. Content distribution and consumption have reached an unprecedented level and are continuing to grow more and more popular. That accounts for the importance of choosing the best CDNs that will allow you to maintain quality and consistency. That is the only way you can manage to keep the competition at bay and engage your audiences. It’s not easy to find a CDN that fits every one of your needs, but some can get really close. Depending on your requirements, carefully consider all the relevant factors, evaluate and compare your options, and make a decision that will help your digital business grow and thrive.