Incapsula CDN Review: Rocket Speed for Your Blog
Having a website that loads fast and performs no matter how much traffic you get is a necessity in today’s competitive online space. When your blog loads slowly you’ll not only rank lower in the search engines, but you’ll be providing a less than stellar user experience which will drive readers away. Research shows that even a one-second delay in loading can decrease your conversion rate by 7% (Source: Aberdeen Group). Conversely, speeding up your site loading time can increase your conversion and engagement rates, as well as your search engine ranking.
The solution? Use a content delivery network or “CDN.” A key feature of CDNs is that they parse your website traffic so that your website is “delivered” via the datacenter that’s closest to each individual visitor’s geographic location.
Below we take a look at the Incapsula CDN, which offers substantially more than your standard CDN.
Incapsula was founded in 2002 and has since grown to become a full-blown suite of precision site optimization tools. These tools will help:
- Improve your website’s performance
- Increase your site’s ability to handle large amounts of traffic
- Defend your site against today’s aggressive cybersecurity attacks.
The Incapsula CDN is best-suited to large blogs and websites with high traffic. Most bloggers won’t have large enough sites to benefit from all the high-level features offered. Still, it depends on the volume of traffic you receive and your past history of cyber attacks.
It’s always better to take preventative measures, rather than trying to be reactive to either increased traffic or an attack.
How Easy is It to Use?
Getting started with Incapsula is simple. Just create a free account, and you’re all set. When setting up your website there isn’t any confusing technical jargon; everything is remarkably straightforward. If you do get lost there’s a wealth of support materials and technical tutorials to walk you through the process.
The most technical part of the setup process is making the proper DNS changes, but again, you’ll find plenty of tutorials to walk you through the process.
Within the dashboard, you’ll be able to monitor your traffic, set your security measures, view your website’s performance, check your real-time stats, and more. If you’re using the free version of this software you won’t have access to the entire suite of available features. However, there are no limits to bandwidth that force you to upgrade.
Core Incapsula Features
This tool provides a variety of features to help improve the performance of your site while protecting it from website attacks. Below we highlight the four main features that Incapsula offers.
Incapsula’s CDN offers similar to features to other tools on the market. It currently has 27 different server locations spread out across the globe.
It provides you with the caching of content, including dynamic content. Plus, it monitors your site to identify the most frequently accessed forms of content to help reduce memory allocation. This active monitoring will help to reduce overall resource use while ensuring your user always receives the latest version of your site.
Other features of the CDN that speed up your site performance include:
- Gzip compression
- File and image compression
- User session optimization.
Incapsula’s website protection tools provide you with unparalleled protection. For starters, it’s equipped with a firewall to ensure you remain protected at all times. If you have your own security protocols, then you can actually customize the firewall to your own security settings.
The traffic filtering system will help to easily distinguish good from bad traffic (such as malicious bots). It’ll route the bad traffic away from your site.
Finally, there’s two-factor authentication that will help with managing multiple logins — applicable if have multi-author site — along with keeping your site secure and implementing restrictions or access rules.
Its CDN network helps to ensure optimum resource optimization by continuously monitoring your website. With real-time monitoring, any server imbalances will be able to be corrected before they become an actual issue, which can help to effectively eliminate any downtime.
If a site outage does occur you’ll have a speedy recovery, as the load will be immediately passed onto standby servers.
DDoS attacks are a fairly common way to take your website offline. Incapsula will protect your site from every form of DDoS attack out there. It doesn’t matter if it occurs on an application, or network level, you’re going to be protected. Best of all, this monitoring doesn’t interfere with your website’s performance. After all, what’s the point of a robust security tool, if it’s going to make your site sluggish?
The robust system is engineered to filter out bots while passing on actual traffic to your site. This way any potential attacks are processed before they even hit your server. All attacks are re-routed to its cloud, where they are resolved effectively.
One downside to the free service is that you don’t have access to the technical support team. If an issue does arise on the free plan, then you’re on your own to figure it out. Luckily there is an extensive knowledgebase to help you work through any potential issues, but some users may prefer to have a support team there when you need it.
Who Should Use Incapsula?
Incapsula is best suited for website owners who place a strong emphasis on speed and security. The paid packages provide solid website performance improvements, but security is where this tool truly shines.
Thinking of using the Incapsula CDN? You can request a live demo of its capabilities.
If you need a CDN that does both, and you have a budget to invest in a quality tool, this is a great choice. The range of packages can suit everyone from personal blogs, all the way up to large-scale, high-traffic websites.
There is also free version of this tool, which will give you access to the suite of features without having to pay anything. The setup is quite simple for this level of service, but the overall performance isn’t as high as the paid enterprise solutions it provides. If you run a smaller site and aren’t currently using a CDN, this could be worth taking for a test drive. Using any CDN is generally better than no CDN.
Who Would Benefit from a Different CDN?
Incapsula’s performance and website protection tools are enterprise-grade. Which means the tools are oriented towards large-scale websites.
Small to medium-sized blogs may find the tools overwhelming and even unnecessary. There are countless other website performance and protection options available, so it doesn’t make sense to sign up with a service that provides features you won’t even need.
The free plan could work for smaller blogs, but the lack of support and key security features might not work for every blogger. There are other free CDNs out there that provide higher performance, along with giving you access to support.
Incapsula is a top-notch security and website performance tool. The setup process is very easy and straightforward.
If you have a small website and don’t require features like dedicated support, advanced security measures, or analytics, then it might be worth checking out the CDN. If you do require improved performance, DDoS protection, and other security and performance improvements, then you’ll want to upgrade to the paid plan.
Overall, Incapsula is a solid CDN with enough plan options to suit a wide variety of websites. Smaller sites can probably utilize other higher performing alternatives, but if you’re planning on investing money into your CDN, this could be a great choice.