Blog / Akamai CDN: How to Optimize Websites in China

Akamai CDN: How to Optimize Websites in China

In this article, we will delve into the benefits of using Akamai CDN and how you can optimise websites built with Akamai for China.

What is Akamai CDN?

Akamai CDN is a service that helps websites and online content load faster by storing copies of content in servers located strategically around the world.

These servers, known as content delivery networks (CDNs), deliver web content like images, videos, and web pages to users from the server closest to them, reducing load times and improving overall performance.

Customer and market share data from 6sense

As of 2023, more than 100,000 companies worldwide have adopted Akamai as their Content Delivery Network (CDN) tool, taking up a market share of 6.76%.

Benefits of Using Akamai CDN

Akamai CDN provides several benefits for website performance, security, and user experience. Some unique features include -

Global Content Delivery: Akamai's extensive network of approximately 365,000 servers deployed in more than 130 countries ensures quick and reliable content delivery worldwide, reducing latency and improving page load times.

Web Performance Optimization: Akamai optimizes web content by compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and employing advanced acceleration techniques, resulting in faster and more efficient websites.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection: Akamai offers robust DDoS protection, safeguarding websites from malicious attacks and ensuring uninterrupted service availability.

Security Features: Akamai provides various security features, including secure sockets layer (SSL) certificates, to protect sensitive data and enhance overall website security.

Dynamic Site Accelerator (DSA): DSA optimizes the delivery of dynamic content, ensuring that even personalized and real-time information loads quickly for users.

Media Delivery Solutions: Akamai offers specialized solutions for delivering high-quality streaming video and audio content, ensuring a smooth and buffer-free multimedia experience.

Intelligent Edge Platform: Akamai's intelligent edge platform dynamically adjusts to network conditions, device types, and user locations, optimizing content delivery for a diverse audience.

Image and Video Optimization: Akamai includes features for optimizing images and videos, reducing file sizes without compromising quality, and enhancing overall multimedia performance.

How does Akamai CDN perform in China?

It is important to first make the distinction between Akamai CDN vs. Akamai China CDN. Both of which are associated with Akamai CDN’s capabilities to improve a website’s performance, but differ in their requirements, and operational teams.

Akamai does not operate its own CDN or points-of-presence (i.e. POPs) in China. Akamai China CDN in add-on module enabled through Akamai’s partnership with China Telecom and China Unicom Cloud.

While Akamai CDN and Akamai China CDN contribute to a multitude of web performance and security enhancements for your website through products such as Dynamic Site Accelerator, Rich Media Accelerator, IP Accelerator and more - like most CDNs they do not remove, replace, or optimize 3rd party resources specific to China.

That’s where Chinafy comes in. More on this shortly.

Akamai CDN (global) does not perform the same in China as it does outside China.

Comparison of Akamai CDN Performance: China (left) vs. US (Right)

As shown in the image above, right off the bat we can see that CDN performance in China characterizes instability as compared to Akamai’s CDN performance in the US.

Like all CDNs and cloud providers, Akamai CDN does not address performance and functionality issues for China visitors stemming from 3rd party resources on the website.

As such, websites using Akamai CDN can still run into a broken website experience due to code-based incompatibility.

Another consideration is Akamai utilises local Chinese platform partners, for their onshore POPs in China - is a separate third-party service, functionally distinct from Akamai's global operations. Due to additional regulatory requirements to ensure ICP compliance for all domains intended for delivery using China CDN, Akamai China CDN is also not self serviceable.

Learn more about “Does Akamai work in China?

How to Optimise Websites Using Akamai CDN for China?

Chinafy works with websites that are already using Akamai CDN.

“Chinafy sites boast a 30-40% speed improvement than sites using near-China CDNs.”

Chinafy integrates intelligent solutions for China web resource compatibility and utilizes a fully-managed, China-specific infrastructure, including a near-China CDN or onshore CDN (if legal prerequisites are met), which then creates a China-friendly version of websites through a number of steps outlined below.

Chinafy first scans your website to then create a secondary Chinafy-managed version of your website.

This Chinafy version undergoes optimization across infrastructure, resources, and security according to best practices.

Once this version of the website is “turned on”, the link would update so that China visitors would be directed via your original URL to the Chinafy optimized version of your website. Others, would go through the original flow.

Automation rules by Chinafy keep both versions in sync, continually optimizing the evolving website.

Chinafy goes further; its automation rules synchronize both versions of your website. This ensures that as your website evolves, both the global and China-centric versions stay finely tuned and optimized.

Check out “Chinafy vs. Akamai China CDN

How Chinafy is used with Akamai CDN

There are a few ways Akamai CDN users can leverage Chinafy.

They can -

Go Live via Akamai: Enterprise users can elect to Go Live using Akamai CDNs own geo ip-based routing functionality

Bolt on Chinafy to their existing Akamai stack.

Use Chinafy with Akamai CDN. Custom Enterprise set-up options can mean that you can simply use Chinafy for it’s China web resource optimisation suite, while continuing to use Akamai CDN - be it the global or China nodes depending on your existing set-up. The performance difference is marginal, so the choice between offshore and onshore setup depends on the company's preference.

To launch with Chinafy, you need to enable geo-ip-based routing on the DNS or CDN level. This ensures that visitors from China access the Chinafy-optimized site, while others bypass it.

Setting this up typically takes around 15 minutes. Akamai and Cloudflare both meet this requirement, with Akamai having the necessary geo-ip routing and regional caching features, and Cloudflare often using a worker script set-up by Chinafy.

Chinafy Standard Configuration (Source: Chinafy)

Read more: “Compare Chinafy vs. Akamai CDN, and learn how enterprises use these solutions together

Success Story: Using Chinafy with Akamai

Bitwig Studio is a versatile music software used by music lovers and pros worldwide.

While the website uses Akamai CDN, Bitwig Studio experienced slow loading times due to code-based incompatibility within China, taking more than 30 seconds to load.

After just two weeks with Chinafy, Bitwig is able to achieve a 6.8x Faster Website in China.

A visual comparison of the website before and after Chinafy is shown below.

Ready to optimize your Akamai website for China? Click Get Started to evaluate your website with Chinafy

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