TrackIt customers often ask: “Akamai or CloudFront – which CDN should we choose?”

Akamai and Amazon CloudFront are two of the most popular Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) available on the marketplace, and each CDN comes with its own inherent advantages and constraints. 

There are multiple factors to consider (rules for behavior matching, integration capabilities, ease of deployment, pricing, etc.) before making the right choice. This article will highlight the differences between Akamai and CloudFront to assist users in selecting the CDN that matches their requirements. 

IntegrationApplication specific (CMS, Media, etc)Content agnostic
Behavior Matching &CustomizationSupports creation of complex dynamic rulesOnly static rules supported
EcosystemFew adjacent services (DNS, TLS certificate, etc.)Access to the complete suite of AWS services
InfrastructureBespoke infrastructure, few public details availableLeverages the AWS global networking backbone, performance metrics publicly available
PricingAvailable through sales. Tailored to the projected usage, contractualPay as you go based on usage
Ease of setupTrial available for selected productsAll features accessible with an AWS account, free trial available via usage quotas


Integration is a key factor to consider when trying to avoid the complications of developing and maintaining custom solutions. Akamai facilitates faster integrations with ready-made configurations for popular applications such as WordPress, …, etc.

Amazon CloudFront, however, requires manual setup which may involve comprehensive knowledge of the application and CDN dynamics. 

Behavior Matching

Behavior matching is the process of specifying custom caching behaviors for files that match specified conditions. 

CloudFront only allows for static matching (i.e. only comparing strings). Dynamic logic matching can be implemented through CloudFront Functions, but this approach becomes more complex with the number of conditions that need to be evaluated. Akamai enables dynamic logic matching with conditional logic such as conditional branching and regex support. 


It is important for companies to consider their desired product ecosystems when choosing the right CDN. For companies with infrastructure already running on the AWS cloud, using Amazon CloudFront might be a natural choice, as it integrates easily with other AWS services. For companies that are running applications on-prem or on another cloud provider, it is possible Akamai might be a better solution due to its gentler learning curve. 


The performance of any CDN relies heavily on the performance of its underlying infrastructure. Amazon’s proven global infrastructure serves as a reliable backbone for CloudFront, ensuring reliable performance. 

Akamai has not publicly disclosed the details of the CDN’s underlying infrastructure which powers the CDN. Despite the lack of transparency, it is a popular solution that seems to meet industry standards.  


Amazon CloudFront provides a fully transparent, pay-as-you-go pricing model that companies can use to reliably estimate their cloud costs. Akamai’s pricing is contract-based and tailored to the projected usage. Companies are unable to estimate Akamai costs without going through the sales process. 

Ease of Setup

A valid AWS account is the only requirement needed for companies to access the full suite of features offered by Amazon CloudFront. A Free Tier account can be set up instantaneously to test the CDN. 

Akamai also provides free trials although only for a limited number of products (14 of the 51 offered services ~ 30%). Free trials exist for “the most popular” products (such a …)


CloudFront is the ideal solution for those seeking a flexible, pay-as-you-go solution that can easily integrate with existing infrastructure deployed on AWS. Akamai is best-suited for users looking to build a tailored solution that supports the creation of complex dynamic rules and integrates easily with a majority of popular ‘non-AWS’ applications. 

About TrackIt

TrackIt is an Amazon Web Services Advanced Consulting Partner specializing in cloud management, consulting, and software development solutions based in Marina del Rey, CA.

TrackIt specializes in Modern Software Development, DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, Serverless, CI/CD, and Containerization with specialized expertise in Media & Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments, and data storage.

TrackIt’s forté is cutting-edge software design with deep expertise in containerization, serverless architectures, and innovative pipeline development. The TrackIt team can help you architect, design, build and deploy a customized solution tailored to your exact requirements.

In addition to providing cloud management, consulting, and modern software development services, TrackIt also provides an open-source AWS cost management tool that allows users to optimize their costs and resources on AWS.