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CDN Recommendations - jarrod1937 - 03-17-2011 06:22 AM

Currently i am using maxcdn, and while i've been happy with them, i've been finding some performance issues, which they have yet to fix after more than a month after reporting them. For those interested here is what i am seeing:

http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110316_HN_5Z7Z/

Notice these:
[Image: waterfall.png?type=connection&wi...mp;cached=]

[Image: waterfall.png?type=connection&wi...mp;cached=]

As you can see, some of the time to first byte delays reach 3,000 ms! These issues thankfully are limited to their New York datacenter, but we're getting complaints from customers. Our office also hits their New York data center and so we also see the same slowdown here as well (prompting lots of reports to me).
Ok, end of the venting... I am going to see if they can fix the issue, but i am starting to look for alternatives. Anyone have any recommendations for a cdn that supports a pull configuration?
Thanks!


RE: CDN Recommendations - pmeenan - 03-17-2011 06:43 AM

Ouch! My initial thought was that maybe the resources weren't cachable and they were having to go back to the origins but it doesn't look like that's the case. I can't really speak to good (inexpensive) alternatives but I'll see if I can get their attention on it.


RE: CDN Recommendations - jarrod1937 - 03-17-2011 07:00 AM

Yeah, i made sure they're cachable, and did my tests in batches so that i could be sure the resources were cached on their servers and not fetching it from ours. The real issue is when the loading of the css file hangs and sometimes times out, our customers are then left with a page of text to look at, not so good for sales.
MaxCDN is actually quite cheap, so i don't think my boss would mind spending a bit more for better/more consistent performance, so go ahead and give some recommendations if you have some (something in between maxcdn and akamai would be a good balance).


RE: CDN Recommendations - NetDNA - BillyV - 03-17-2011 08:09 AM

Jarrod,
I really apologize for this, it should not happen and is very unusual. We will contact you ASAP and see what the underlying issue is so that we can get it resolved.


RE: CDN Recommendations - pmeenan - 03-18-2011 05:15 AM

If it helps any, here is the list of CDN's that WebPagetest recognizes and should include most of them:

Akamai
Limelight
Edgecast
Highwinds
Panther
Simple CDN
Mirror Image
Footprint.net
Cloudfront
MaxCDN
Cotendo CDN
Cachefly
Cloudflare
Azure
VoxCDN
AT&T DSA
afxcdn
lxdns

Of those I think Cachefly has the most similar network configuration (TCP Anycast FTW) but it's a pretty big jump in price and you may have been spoiled by the ease of use of the MaxCDN panel and features.


RE: CDN Recommendations - jarrod1937 - 03-18-2011 05:29 AM

Cachefly does indeed look like the next best choice. They do pull configurations and have edge servers in pretty good locations. The price is a bit more, but to be honest MaxCDN's is so cheap that with our optimized resources we barely use what we're given, bandwidth wise, so an increase in price wouldn't hurt us much (especially since we're a business). Most of what we're storing are optimized thumbnail images for our category pages, and a css file and images associated with it.
The fact that they're so cheap is to the credit of MaxCDN. Assuming they don't run into too many other issues, like i've recently seen, i'd highly recommend them. Currently a Chris at MaxCDN is looking at the issue, he stated that he was able to replicate the issue on his side, which is comforting news (repeating the problem is the first step to fixing it). I'll keep this thread updated on how things go.


RE: CDN Recommendations - Blair - 03-20-2011 05:33 AM

I know MaxCDN has been experiencing a DDoS on the East coast. Virginia specifically. Had many people in the Eastern US (and Canada) complain of CSS not loading. For every one that complains, there are a 100 that don't.

MaxCDN is incredibly cheap, but I'm begining to think you get what you pay for. In addition to POPs not being accessible, I've noticed the ocassional slow file serving too. Maybe growing pains? I'd also prefer Asia POPs.

I'm not jumping ship quite yet, but my searching for alternatives lead to me SpeedyRails.com, an EdgeCast reseller. 0.26/GB pay as you go. Origin pull, Asia and Austrailia POPs, cname, good reviews on webhostingtalk. For serious CDN, Rackspace resells Akamai, but without cname or origin pull.


RE: CDN Recommendations - kds - 03-23-2011 12:03 AM

What price range are you looking at?


RE: CDN Recommendations - jarrod1937 - 03-23-2011 12:55 AM

For the cheaper, but not too cheap end, i'd checkout cachefly. Here are the locations of their servers:
http://static.olark.com/jsclient/follow.html?siteid=4990-295-10-1722&wcsid=I3QNY4RQMQDEMMHYCK3C0J2149902951&url=aHR0cDovL2NhY2hlZmx5LmNhY2hlZmx5Lm5ldC9uZXR3b3JrbWFwLw==&host=www.cachefly.com

I did get a reply back from netdna/maxcdn and they said the issue should be fixed. My response is only time will tell as the performance i've been seeing is sporadic. However, recent tests on webpagetest.org do not look promising, assuming it is not just some buggy test locations on webpagetest (Chicago and NewYork).
Cachefly does have a 30 day trial period from what i hear, so i may be experimenting with them. I have a custom implementation for cdn usage on our site and it allows us to easily lift one cdn out and replace it with another, so a trial period with another should be pretty easy.


RE: CDN Recommendations - jarrod1937 - 03-24-2011 12:25 AM

Just did a quick test again today and got some good results:
http://www.webpagetest.org/result/110323_XW_7J38/

Thats about what i'd expect from a CDN. So, for now at least, it looks like the issues have been resolved.

On a side note, webpagetest also seems faster too, for a bit i've been noticing some images timing out, and after it all of a sudden seemed fast again at the same time as my site i decided to do a nslookup on the cname cdn.webpagetest.org, and guess what? Its a cname for a maxcdn cdn domain. So it looks like things are working better all around for maxcdn.