Why You Can’t Get a “Morocco CDN”

Morocco-based websites face unique challenges when it comes to finding a CDN. This is because of the location – it’s far closer to Europe than it is to the traditional “big” cities in Africa like Johannesburg. So all traditional CDN advice fails. Instead, it would be best if you connected to a data center in Europe – either Lisbon in Portugal or Barcelona and Madrid in Spain.

Why a “Moroccan CDN” Doesn’t Work

Read any website optimization guide, and you’ll see that they all recommend finding a CDN network that’s closest to your customers – usually in the same country. But Africa isn’t a country – it’s a continent – and is so large, that this advice fails badly if you search for CDNs in Africa.

Most CDNs have just a handful of locations in Africa. The most popular location is Johannesburg. Here’s an image of the relative distances from Morocco to the major cities in Europe, and to Johannesburg:

Morocco is Far Away from Johannesburg

As you can see, Johannesburg is around 3 times the distance from Morocco as Paris, Rome, and Berlin. This is a case where the best CDNs are located not just in another country, but another continent altogether!

Same Goes for Web Hosting Servers

In an earlier article on web hosting in Morocco, I looked at different web hosts, both locally, and internationally. But as with CDNs, sometimes finding an international alternative is better. For example, even though Hostgator’s servers are located relatively far away, they might present the best combination of value and speed for Moroccan businesses. This list of Hostgator coupons for Morocco will help you zero in on the best deals.

But why not a web host in Europe? The simple answer is cost. Hosting providers like SiteGround with Europe-based servers are typically more expensive than those based in the United States, and the price makes a big difference given the comparatively lower cost of living in even Rabat – the capital. Few hosting companies can compete with Hostgator’s pricing, and this is especially useful for Morocco.

Ignore Johannesburg – It’s Too Far Away

Most CDN networks have a pitiful presence in Africa. At most they have a token presence in Johannesburg – but that’s it. It’s a sorry excuse for one of the largest continents on the planet. But it mostly has to do with the costs of bandwidth.

The problem however is that if you use a traditional CDN, it will force your traffic through Johannesburg simply because your customers are from Morocco. For better or worse, CDN providers lump “Africa” together as one, and this impacts the CDN through which your data flows. Lots of CDNs blindly select the closest area-based CDN without considering any other factors, like the quality or absolute distance of the connections. As a result, choosing an Africa-based CDN can actually harm your website!

What About Morocco-Based CDNs?

You might imagine that an ideal case scenario would be for a Moroccan business to choose a CDN based in Morocco itself – that way, it really would be closer to its customers!

Unfortunately, there are two problems with this. First, almost no CDN networks have a Point of Presence (POP) in Morocco. I’m aware of only one – Cloudflare. And because of such reasons, I call Cloudflare the best CDN. But even Cloudflare’s Africa-based network is not available in the free tier – you need to subscribe to at least the Business plan starting at $200/m – not cheap.

Second, a Morrocan-based data center may be less reliable than one located further away, due to infrastructure considerations. It’s one of the reasons why you have to look at these things holistically, and not just go for whichever CDN happens to be closest. This is one of the reasons why, for example, I recommend a Singapore data center for India hosting.

But the real reason is the first – there are no easy ways to access Moroccan CDNs via any publicly available CDN provider that I know of. My best recommendation is to simply use Cloudflare. It’s better than anything else you can find.

Africa Hosting is Complicated

Because of high bandwidth costs, hosting in Africa isn’t as straightforward as it should be. Places like Morocco, Egypt, and Nigeria are burgeoning business centers, and the infrastructure is only slowly creeping forward to keep up with them. Until that happens, we need to look to alternative solutions to ensure we get the best performance.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

Speak Your Mind