Debating between Constellix and Cloudflare for your DNS management needs? Look no further. We dug up everything we could about each provider so we could give you a side-by-side comparison of their top features.
Cloudflare is renowned as a free CDN service that services __% of the Internet. But, when it comes to DNS management, Cloudflare seems to only meet the industry standards for its Enterprise plan. Which by the way, is more than $200 a month –we don’t know the actual price because you need to talk to a sales associate to get a “custom” quote, but their next highest plan costs $200 a month.
For example, if you want an uptime SLA, which means if Cloudflare suffers any downtime they will reimburse you for services lost during downtime, you need to be an Enterprise client. This is abnormal in the DNS industry, as most providers offer 100% uptime SLA’s for all membership levels.
Every Constellix user is covered by the 100% back uptime SLA.
We see the same issue arise for accounts with multiple users. Again, this functionality is only available to Enterprise clients.
Every Constellix account includes a primary user. Additional sub-users can be added for $2 each a month up to 10 users. More than 10 users is discounted to $1 per user, and more than 100 users at $0.50 per user.
Cloudflare does offer a few different load balancing services such as what they refer to as “local and global” load balancing. This service operates similarly to Constellix’s GTD (Global Traffic Director) service which automatically routes query traffic to regional nameservers. However, that’s as far as their GeoDNS and location-based services go.
They also have Failover services with health monitoring, but there was no documentation about alerts or how to customize health checks. Instead, it looks like you have to check your event logs to see when Failover events occured.
Constellix has more diverse load balancing options like weighted round robin and traffic optimization. Cloudflare also lacks the advanced GeoDNS features like GeoProximity and IP Filters.
Cloudflare has one of the largest networks in the industry with 118 points of presence and counting. The more points of the presence a network has usually correlates with more redundancy. However, it doesn’t always mean that it’s faster.
If you look at a couple different third party monitoring sites (or run your own tests), you’ll see that the number of nameservers doesn’t mean that provider is faster.
In this month’s report, DNS Made Easy and Verizon with 16 and 20 PoP’s respectively were both faster than Cloudflare.
Again, you can see that the number of PoPs has nothing to do with speed. There are over a hundred more locations in Cloudflare’s network, and yet it still averages just a fraction of a second faster than Constellix over a 30 day period.
So what does impact performance? It’s actually the number of nameservers. Each point of presence is where each provider has a data center that is home to a set of nameservers. Some providers only put one or two nameservers at each location. Constellix typically has at least a dozen nameservers at each PoP. That means more computing power, more redundancy, and more capacity.
Cloudflare recently announced that they would support DNSSEC (DNS Security Extension), which signs the domain at the root nameserver. This extension protects domains from vulnerabilities when resolving domains into IP addresses.
Constellix has yet to implement support for DNSSEC, but it is on their roadmap for 2018.
And of course, we can’t talk about Cloudflare without talking about their wide variety of service offerings such as WAF, CDN services, and DDoS protection. All three have become essential for all businesses that rely on the Internet.
Constellix is currently wrapping up development for integrated WAF, CDN, and DDoS protection services.
Last year, Cloudflare released their DNS Analytics feature which is included with their DNS services for free. The catch is, you can only see data from 24 hours ago, unless you are a paying user then you get access to real-time data.
Shortly after, Constellix released their own DNS Analytics platform which is free to all users. Both Constellix and Cloudflare analytics allow you to filter query traffic by domain or record and to see which countries queries originate from.
Constellix’s DNS Analytics tool is interactive, allowing users to sort and aggregate their query data for closer examination. You can also view queries as they hit Constellix nameservers and download minute long query logs for further analysis or historical comparison.
It all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a DNS provider with advanced functionality, tools to actually optimize your performance at the DNS level, and live (human) support, go with Constellix.
If you want to turn a couple of things on and forget about it, maybe Cloudflare is the better solution for you. Cloudflare has fast and reliable DNS services, no doubt. But when it comes to functionality and support, Constellix takes the cake.