Akamai Vs. Cloudflare WAF

Posted DateSeptember 8, 2023
Posted Time 5   min Read

What is Akamai WAF? 

Akamai, a pioneering WAF solution, retains its key position within the evolving WAAP landscape. As one of the earliest players in the CDN space, Akamai maintains its dominance in content delivery. 

Akamai’s App & API Protector combines a range of leading-edge technologies, including web application firewall, bot mitigation, API security, and DDoS protection, all within a user-friendly, unified solution. 

What is Cloudflare WAF? 

Cloudflare’s Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a robust security feature that shields websites and web applications from cyber threats. Acting as a barrier between your web servers and potential attackers, it thoroughly analyzes incoming web traffic, effectively filtering out malicious requests and preventing potential attacks.  

Cloudflare WAF enhances security and accelerates the performance of countless websites, APIs, SaaS services, and various online assets, ensuring a safer and faster online experience. 

For a more extensive exploration of WAAP/WAF options, review our comprehensive analysis of the top 17 Cloud WAAP & WAF Software in 2023. 

Benefits of Cloudflare over Akamai WAF 

DDoS Mitigation 

Both Cloudflare and Akamai offer powerful and effective DDoS protection solutions. They have impressive network capacities, extensive global coverage, and a history of mitigating large-scale attacks.  

Cloudflare’s vast network, spanning 209 Tbps across 300 cities in 100 countries, enables them to stop significant threats effectively.   

On the other hand, Akamai’s extensive network capacity of over 200 Tbps and 36 Anycast global scrubbing centers, reinforced with 20 Tbps of dedicated DDoS defense, showcases its ability to handle large-scale attacks.    

Both companies emphasize strong infrastructure investments for DDoS protection, offering substantial and comparable capabilities to safeguard against evolving cyber threats. 

It’s essential to note that Cloudflare vs Akamai, both offer robust DDoS protection, but Cloudflare may be more cost-effective for SaaS start-ups.

Like AppTrana, Cloudflare also delivers an adaptive DDoS mitigation solution capable of adjusting to changing user behaviour patterns. This functionality proves particularly valuable when web traffic experiences fluctuations based on the evolving nature of the business.   

Comprehensive Bundle for SaaS Start-ups  

Cloudflare offers an impressive combination of SSL certificate management, vanity domain support, and robust DDoS, WAF, and API security products, making it an ideal choice for SaaS start-ups. 

The enterprise plan may carry a substantial premium, but the adaptable pricing structures within the Free, Pro, and Business plans prove particularly advantageous for start-ups and scale-ups. These upgrades grow in tandem with their expanding business needs. 

On the other hand, Akamai incorporates many of the features in Cloudflare, encompassing elements like Bot management and API security. However, the advanced capabilities of these features are linked to premium services that come at a higher cost than Cloudflare’s plan alternatives. 

Benefits of Akamai over Cloudflare WAF 

Page Integrity Manager 

The most effective strategy for countering in-browser attacks is detecting suspicious and malicious script actions. Page Integrity Manager from Akamai achieves this by observing user sessions and monitoring real-time scripts.  

This real-user behavioural detection technology protects websites from JavaScript threats — such as web skimming, formjacking, and Magecart attacks. 

Managed Service 

Akamai’s Managed Security Service is tailored to your business requirements and provides an all-encompassing solution. It offers a comprehensive suite of services backed by Akamai’s industry expertise and best practices. Their offerings include:  

  • 24/7 Monitoring and Anomaly Detection 
  • Rapid response to identified threats 
  • Round-the-clock access to a Security Operations and Coordination Center (SOCC) for attack support 
  • Guaranteed response time of 30 minutes or less, based on the severity of the issue. 
  • In-depth, detailed postmortem report provided by security experts  

Although it carries a premium cost for both the product and the managed services, the managed service consistently receives top ratings compared to Akamai alternatives. It proves to be highly effective if you have the budget for Akamai, especially with their managed services. 

Global Intelligence 

Akamai boasts a dedicated team of over 400 security researchers tirelessly updating security configurations and policies. These experts collaborate with machine learning models and real-time threat intelligence feeds to keep the Adaptive Security Engine updated. As a result, Akamai claims a remarkable 5X reduction in false positives. 

While Cloudflare is renowned for its top-tier threat intelligence, it faces the challenge of creating generic rules for its vast network of hundreds and thousands of applications, leading to the chance of false positives. 

Why AppTrana WAF is the best Cloudflare alternative

An Alternative to Both Akamai and Cloudflare WAF 

While both Akamai and Cloudflare offer top-notch DDoS mitigation services, it’s crucial to note that managed service support is exclusively available in the enterprise plan or as an add-on. In the event of a severe DDoS attack, you may need to handle it internally. 

AppTrana‘s security research team has your back, whether it’s DDoS monitoring, virtual patches, or testing for false positives. The bundled managed services team functions as an extended SOC team, collaborating closely with the application team to optimize DDoS mitigation and incident response. 

In AppTrana, DDoS monitoring is accessible in the premium plan at $399. With Cloudflare, upgrading to an enterprise plan is necessary for DDoS monitoring, which can be relatively costly, ranging from 3k to 5k per month. 

Cloudflare offers chat support, but it’s accessible starting at $250 per month, and lower-tier plans do not include any support. In contrast, with AppTrana, even the $99 plan grants you access to 24/7 phone, email, and chat support. Here are other benefits of using AppTrana: 

Unmetered DDoS protection 

AppTrana stands out by including unmetered DDoS protection in all its plans without extra charges. Meanwhile, both Akamai and Cloudflare offer unmetered DDoS protection as an add-on. Cloudflare’s approach involves an add-on that bills users $.05 for every 10,000 requests. 

Payload Inspection Size 

Akamai and Cloudflare maintain a maximum payload size of 128KB for inspection. Notably, the default configuration starts at a minimal 8KB and requires users to modify it through configuration settings. AppTrana provides a default capacity to inspect requests of up to 134MB. 

Virtual Patching and ZERO False Positive Guarantee 

The product’s standout feature lies in its virtual patching capabilities. Thanks to the support of the managed services team, it ensures automatic patching for all Zero-Day vulnerabilities. 

Furthermore, extensive testing by security researchers effectively mitigates false positives, with the rules applied automatically to your application. This approach distinguishes AppTrana from most other Web Application and API Protection (WAAP) solutions that typically only notify users about patch releases. 

AppTrana is the only WAAP platform with a remarkable track record—100% application deployed in block mode. 

Automated API Discovery and Positive security model 

AppTrana WAAP excels at automating positive security models for APIs, delivering significant value. This comprehensive process encompasses API discovery, continuous vulnerability scanning, manual penetration testing, and the creation of positive security policies within the AppTrana WAAP ecosystem. 

One of its notable advantages is its accessibility to teams lacking API documentation in Swagger and Postman. Through the API discovery feature, obtaining the Swagger file is effortlessly automated. Furthermore, the managed services team plays a pivotal role in assisting with the creation of Postman files for critical open APIs. 

Feature Comparison Table: Akamai vs. Cloudflare WAF 

Here is a detailed feature comparison table for Cloudflare, AppTrana, and Akamai: 

WAF Feature  Cloudflare  AppTrana  Akamai 
Gartner Peer Insights Rating  4.5  4.9  4.7 
Gartner Peer Insights Customer Recommendation Rating  93%  100%  88% 
DDoS Monitoring  Enterprise Only  Starts at $399  Add-On 
Virtual Patching  Self service Starts at $99  Add-On 
Payload Inspection Size  128KB  134MB  Starts: 8KB 

Max: 128KB 

NTLM Support  No  Yes  No 
Bot Protection  Yes  Yes  Add-On 
Response Timeout  Default: 100 seconds
Enterprise: 6000 seconds 
Default: 300 seconds 


Max: 300 seconds 

Default: 120 seconds 


Max: 599 seconds 

Managed Services  Enterprise only  Starts at $399  Add-On 
DAST Scanner  Not Available  Bundled in all plans  Not Available 
Asset Discovery  Not Available  Bundled in all plans  Not Available 
Penetration Testing  Not Available  Bundled in the $399 plan  Not Available 
API discovery  Available  Available   Available 
API Security  Available  Available  Available 
API Scanning  Not Available  Bundled in the $399 plan  Not Available 
API Pen Testing  Not Available  Bundled in the $399 plan  Not Available 
Workflow based bot mitigation  Enterprise only  Starts at $399  Add-On 
Origin Protection Limited Bundled in all plans  Add-On 

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