Netlify vs Cloudflare Pages: Performance Comparison

Netlify and Cloudflare Pages are two of the most popular static site hosting platforms.

Today, we will be taking a look at the performance of their free plans and find out if there’s any significant difference between the two.

We will be performing tests:

  • TTFB Test on 35 Global Locations to Measure the Response times
  • Web Vitals Test from 15 Locations + 10 different Device Configurations

While Netlify and Cloudflare Pages differ a lot in terms of the feature set and free tier limits, for this article, we will only be looking at their performance.

If you’re also interested in the comparison between their features, you can check out these two articles by LogRocket & Yury Zhauniarovich.

Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the performance comparison!

Test Setup & Methodology

For this test, I’ll be testing the Documentation page of SpeedVitals, which is powered by Docusaurus. Here are the package versions used for this project:

  • Docusauraus v2.0.0-beta.14
  • React v17.0.1
  • preset-classic Theme

Google Analytics and Sitemap are two additional plugins installed in this project. No Performance Optimization has been done on the test site.

The exact same project will be hosted on Cloudflare Pages and Netlify Free Plan.

Testing Criteria

Here’s how the tests will be performed:

  • For Server Response Test, the SpeedVitals TTFB Test will be used. The test will be performed three times and the average score of three runs will be taken. The first run will be ignored as its role will be to warm up the cache while the subsequent three runs will be considered.
  • For Web Vitals Test, the SpeedVitals Advanced Test will be used. We will run the Multi-Location and Multi-Device Test once. The average scores of each test will be compared.

Worldwide Server Response Time

This test is performed using our TTFB Measurement Tool that measures TTFB from 35 locations at the same time. We have divided our servers into three categories based on their geographical region.

Netlify Cloudflare Pages
Average TTFB (America) 181 ms 92 ms
Average TTFB (Europe) 158 ms 99 ms
Average TTFB (Asia Pacific & Africa) 378 ms 144 ms
Worldwide Average TTFB 221 ms 114 ms
Performance Score 85% 97%

While both Cloudflare Pages and Netlify have excellent server response times, Cloudflare is still significantly ahead of Netlify.

The performs gap widens even further in the Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East regions.

Here are two maps that depict the performance across the globe.

Netlify Worldwide Performance

Netlify Worldwide Performance

Remarks: Netlify’s Server Response Time was below average in South Africa and Dubai. The performance in South Korea and Japan wasn’t that great either.

Cloudflare Pages Worldwide Performance

Cloudflare Pages Worldwide Performance

Remarks: Cloudflare Pages had a consistent performance across the globe. Except for the Middle East Region (Dubai), it scored Excellent or Good rating in every other region.

Web Vitals Test

For this comparison, we will be using SpeedVitals Advanced Test to run the test in Bulk across 15 different locations and 10 different devices.

Test 1: Multi-Location Test (Mobile)

This test is performed across 15 different locations and the test device is the Standard Mobile Configuration (Moto G4).

Netlify Cloudflare Pages
Performance Score 93% 92%
LCP 2.2 sec 1.9 sec
CLS 0.00 0.00
TBT 197 ms 268 ms
TTFB 28 ms 43 ms
Report Link Link Link

Both Cloudflare & Netlify performed nearly identical with Cloudflare having better LCP while Netlify having a better Total Block Time. Surprisingly, Netlify had a small edge for the TTFB in this test.

You can open the reports in the above table to understand the results better.

Test 2: Multi-Device Test (US)

This test is performed on 10 different device configurations from a single region (South Carolina, United States).

Netlify Cloudflare Pages
Performance Score 98% 97%
LCP 1.2 sec 1.3 sec
CLS 0.00 0.00
TBT 70 ms 101 ms
TTFB 19 ms 37 ms
Report Link Link Link

Yet again, the performance scores are nearly identical on both platforms.

Conclusion

As the performance on both Cloudflare & Netlify is comparable, the difference in features should be the deciding factor for the majority of users.

For American and European website visitors, the two will provide a nearly identical experience but if you have a global audience or if a decent chunk of the audience is from Asian, Middle-Eastern, or African countries, Cloudflare will provide a better experience.

I’ll give Cloudflare a win in this comparison due to its massive Edge Network that ensures consistent performance across the globe.

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