Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Site Of The Day: SimpleCDN

In my quest to do some performance improvements to a site, I decided to bring in a Content Delivery Network. A CDN is a simple concept, in that you can offload your content to a 3rd party, and let them worry about managing all the servers doing the work.

It didn't take me long to figure out that the cost of working with a CDN can be pretty hefty. In a lot of cases, there's good reason for this - the company needs to host a large number of geographically diverse servers. But for my needs, this was overkill. I just wanted a service who would promise to deliver images, stylesheets and other static content - I really didn't care how sophisticated they were about it.

While poking around, I stumbled on SimpleCDN. Wow, these guys are nearly the exact opposite of the big guys Akama. Consider:

  • There's no need to go through multiple levels of sales to get a price tag, the prices are spelled out right on the website
  • Setup is instant - just sign up, create a new content bucket, and you're off and running
  • The pricing is nothing short of amazing - $0.039 cents per gigabyte if you use their Lightning plan. That means that if you serve up 100Gig of data in a month, you'll be paying a little under four bucks for a CDN. Tell that price to Akamai, and they'll laugh.
  • There's no commitment of any kind and they provide you with $15.00 in your account to experiment with. This is a surprisingly generous amount of budget to start with, it would probably be enough to keep a small site going for half a year or even longer.

I made use of their online sales support and found the representative helpful.

Clearly, at such rock bottom prices, there have to be limits to the SimpleCDN service. It's certainly not a replacement for the big guys out there. But, if you're experimenting with dropping a CDN in place, or you need one for a problem you're having Right This Second, they are hard to beat.

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