Top 8 Video CDN Providers For Live Streaming In 2021

What exactly is a video CDN?

If you are distributing digital content globally, it is very important to take some time to choose a good and reliable Content Delivery Network or CDN. CDNs (or content delivery networks) are frequently used to facilitate the distribution of large files that require high amounts of bandwidth while maintaining a low latency. This is why many people turn to a video CDN when looking to host their video content.

Best CDN For Video Hosting

CDN usage can range from normal websites containing elements that are large, all the way up to live streamed video content and even video game production.

As your audience grows, it becomes impossible to distribute your content globally on a single static server. File sizes are also getting larger and so is the need to turn to CDN video hosting services to provide reliable and stable servers for a variety of scenarios.

What are the benefits of using a CDN?

CDN Live

Fast playback

When you consider the number of people using mobile phones to consume content in addition to varying internet speeds globally, content delivery networks make more and more sense. The benefits of CDNs are particularly clear when it comes to CDN live streaming of HD video content which requires you to transfer lots of data.

When a user, or “client”, clicks “Play” on one of your videos, the closest available server will fulfil that request to keep latency low, speed fast, and your service reliable. These servers are called content delivery points. They ensure that each individual request is received and processed by the closest delivery point to the user’s location. This is why, StreamingVideoProvider, for example, has 18 content delivery points around the globe (including Mainland China).

Low latency

CDNs ensure that your viewer receives the requested data with a very low latency if an available CDN server is in their region. If there isn’t a relatively close server, they may receive the data at a higher latency. This can disrupt the playback of large video files and result in long load times.

Security

You can also think of CDNs as a safety measure. In the event of a DDoS attack, a CDN will reduce the chances of your video server being impacted by a complete outage. You don’t have to rely on just one server or web hosting provider which makes your service more stable.

What to look for in a video CDN provider

When choosing from the list of top CDN providers, consider your use case and requirements. As more and more businesses need live CDN streaming of HD content, we’ll examine this scenario. Here are the features to look for:

  • RTMP live stream encoder support/compatibility
  • Content delivery points and their locations
  • Batch upload features for VODs/pre-recorded content
  • Customization of your selected video player to match your brand
  • Pay per view streaming to allow you to monetize your live streams
  • Multistreaming to enable you to stream to multiple sites and social networks at once
  • Scalability

If you are looking to live stream in addition to storing video content, it is worth looking for a provider that also features a video content management system (or video CMS).

Additionally, it is important to identify where your audience is, and ensure that your CDN provider has coverage in those areas. Many providers offer global coverage, but not all provide coverage in certain locations. Mainland China, Africa and even South America can sometimes be tricky.

In the table below, you can see the most popular video CDN providers and their respective features:

StreamingVideoProvider

Cloudflare Pro

CloudFront

Akamai

Global PoP

Live Streaming Support

VOD Support

Analytics

HTML 5 Support

Pay Per View Streaming

Multistreaming

Customer Support

Live Chat + Email (from base plan)

Email only from Pro plan)

Requires AWS Support Plan

Phone, email support

Simple Player Customisation

China & Africa Coverage

No Africa Coverage

Price

From $29 /mo

From $20 /mo

On Request

On Request

StreamingVideoProvider

Video CDN

Offering a super-fast multi-bitrate global video CDN network, StreamingVideoProvider is a great choice for those wanting to deliver fast and reliable content to their global audience without compromise. The platform supports practically any RTMP encoder, streaming software and live streaming equipment. So, you will never have to worry about compatibility or encountering a difficult process in order to get things working.

Batch uploading of content is also supported. So, you can share your recorded videos in an easy and convenient way. This will be great news for those looking for the best CDN for video hosting that offer quality of life features such as batch uploads.

The great thing here is that this is an all-one video platform that includes PPV streaming, multistreaming and private live streaming, among other things. StreamingVideoProvider’s CDN is also able to provide content to those in China – currently supporting 5 different Chinese locations for those looking for a China video CDN.

Here are some of the key features on offer:

  • RTMP encoder support
  • Batch uploading to easily store content
  • Global CDN – including China and Africa
  • Cloud recording
  • Pay Per View streaming
  • Multistreaming
  • API Support
  • Video CMS
  • HTML 5 Player customisation

Here are the negatives:

  • X Slightly more expensive than CloudFlare Pro but is a fully featured video content platform that includes monetization and privacy protection among other things.

Cloudflare Pro

Live Streaming CDN

With many servers all over the world, Cloudflare is another great option for those looking for a strong CDN. Cloudflare provides a customisable HTML 5 player in addition to allowing API access for those that want to build and configure their own ads.

A big positive is the free account option for personal websites although it does not support CDN hosting for video or CDN live streaming. Like StreamingVideoProvider, Cloudflare is also able to serve audiences in China.

Here are some of the key features on offer:

  • Free account for basic websites
  • HTML 5 Player customisation
  • Growing PoP coverage
  • Video storage support
  • Advanced control over cached content

Here are the negatives:

  • Pricing can be unclear at a glance, although it is highly dependent on usage and requirements ranging from $20 to $200.
  • No monetization options such as Pay Per View
  • No multistreaming features

CloudFront

CDN Streaming

CloudFront also provides a very good global CDN network covering most of the world. The service is yet to provide coverage in Africa, but has servers elsewhere globally including 3 Chinese locations.

CloudFront somewhat relies on API utilisation to get the most out of the tools and functionality on offer. CloudFront supports multi-bitrate adaptive CDN video streaming across a variety of formats including HLSand HDS. It also utilizes caching techniques to keep file size and delivery optimal for the user.

Here are some of the key features on offer:

  • Integration into AWS (amazon web services)
  • Tailored pricing based on exact requirements and utilization
  • Highly programmable for advanced users
  • Live streaming support
  • VOD support

Here are the negatives:

  • No servers in Africa, limited servers in China.
  • Can be somewhat reliant on API access for customisation
  • Support requires AWS support plan
  • No monetization options such as Pay Per View
  • No multistreaming features

Akamai

China Video CDN

Having a huge global coverage, Akamai also supports live streaming and VOD CDN hosting. It is a reliable solution for small or large usage scenarios and their pricing is dependent on your requirements.

Like the other options, Akamai provides detailed analytics in addition to HTML 5 compatible players to transmit video data efficiently to your global audience.

Here are some of the key features on offer:

  • HTML 5 support
  • Huge global network
  • Detailed analytics
  • Player customisation via theme API
  • Live stream and VOD support

Here are the negatives:

  • Although it is great for those that are technically minded, player customisation relies on API usage may be off-putting for newer users.
  • Pricing can be unclear – dependent on usage and requirements.
  • No monetization options such as Pay Per View
  • No multistreaming features

Conclusion

These are all great video CDN services and the solution you go with will largely depend on your requirements. For example, you may need customizable players, comprehensive support options in addition to server locations and coverage. Any of the options above will make for a great video content delivery system, just make sure you take some time to think about how your requirements fit the offered features from each provider.

It may be worth paying attention to which live streaming CDN providers offer a user-friendly way of customizing your video player. Many of these require coding knowledge or API access.

Further reading

If you want to know more about the topic, please visit the relevant links below.

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