CloudFront Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) offered by Amazon Web Services. Content delivery networks provide a globally-distributed network of proxy servers which cache content, such as web videos or other bulky media, more locally to consumers, thus improving access speed for downloading the content.

A piece was written by Phil G. for Technaria a blog about Technology:

Why CloudFront Sucks? Cloudfront We've been using AWS extensively for the past four years on and off and for the past three month in Production with Docsie and I just wanted to share some learnings and frustrations about Cloudfront as a service. Cloud front is a globally distributed content delivery network (CDN). In layman terms, it delivers images and static website content to our users faster by saving them on servers that are closer to our user's physical location then our own web server. So a user from California can load my site just as fast as a user from China because the images from my site are located on a computer next door to her. In this day and age CDN is a must. There is absolutely no reason not to use CDN as CDN is affordable and easy to implement, but if you are running a slightly larger size pain points start to arise. As we started to optimize our site we learned a number of pain points that are making us reconsider using AWS Cloudfront as our CDN and moving over to Fastly (which we don't like either, but It does a better job of caching stuff) Pain points When Using Cloudfront Cloud Front Cache-Control The main pain point and the reason why we are moving to Fastly is that Cloudfront does not pass the Cache-Control header to the browser by default. Why should I care about this? If you run a site that gets 2000 visitors per month, you probably don't. Cloudfront works great and you shouldn't care. However, if you are anything like us and have to serve 1000000's of asset requests per month for awesome users, that rely on your service, then you do. To explain the problem simply, when the Cache-Control header is passed together with an image asset, the browser knows that it needs to cache this asset, which ultimately means next time the person visits your site using the same browser the image assets are not requested again but are served from the browser cache. Why is that important? Because CloudFront costs money, in-fact everything on AWS costs money. I'm surprised they don't charge you the GUI fee for using their GUI. Cloudfront bills you peruse, which ultimately means that the more requests you send to CloudFront the more you end up paying. So as the number of requests for image assets grows, your bills grow along with it. Now if you have repeat users who actually visit your site more then once a week, then it starts to add up, as instead of serving cached image assets which are free, your browser keeps requesting the same damn asset from CloudFront so Amazon can make money. Now Amazon are great guys and their service is awesome and I get that they need to make money, but I don't care for it so I am moving to Fastly. This also ties in with mobile optimization and if the mobile browser does not cache the images, then you are eating up your user's mobile allowance, great, now I have another thing to worry about. But this is easily configurable! No, it's not. I don't want to deal with manually setting a header on S3, whitelisting it on Cloudfront distribution, and then spend hours troubleshooting, why wasn't my header whitelisted. Is it me? Is it AWS and their freaking "Simple Service" that is never simple or easy? I don't know, I don't care I want it to work. Image Optimization Another pain-point with Cloudfront is the lack of image optimization which is something Fastly offers. Why do I care about image optimization? You don't if you want your site to eat up your user's data allowance for the next three months. This ties into Cache-Control really well. I need to be able to serve my user optimized images for his device. A 720×1280 does not need my HD image, nor can his lousy mobile internet connection handle it. So you should care. Too bad Amazon doesn't. They need to make their profit and you are that source of profit. Are these the only reasons? Pretty much, for now, yes. If AWS ever changes that, they can have my business back. Fastly sucks as well, but my biggest problem with them is that they want to charge you for custom domain names and https certificates in 2018. Freaking implement let's encrypt, it's not nuclear science, you raised a bunch of money, use it for something good! Anyhow this may come off as a vent, but I am kinda pissed off with all the crappy CDN solutions that we have in 2018.


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