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95 percentile pricing model explained

95 percentile pricing model explained

So, you are looking for a CDN. And of course, pricing is one of the key elements to form your final decision.

And all of a sudden there are all those CDN providers with this strange 95th Percentile model of pricing.

No worries, here, you will find everything you need to know about it, explained in a normal, understandable way!

Let’s get right to the point:

In the image above you could see a graphical illustration of an example of  traffic over a period of time

On the vertical, you have the amount of traffic bandwidth you have been doing (in Megabits / Mb / sec ) and in the horizontal – the time period for which you’ve been doing this traffic.

So let’s say you would like to know how much money  CDN providers, using that pricing model, will charge you for one month time.

Despite all the complicated articles on the subject and sophisticated ways IT industry is trying to make it sound, it is actually a pretty simple model. Here’s how it works:

  1. First, the CDN providers look at your month as multiple equal intervals (Usually 5-minute intervals) so that they could understand how much traffic did you do for every interval.
  2. Then they save the information about exactly how much traffic is every single interval of this month.

3. After the month ends, they take the data about all the intervals and place it in ascending (increasing) order on a visual graph

4 . When all the 5 minutes data chunks are in order, they take the entire number of 5-minute intervals and assume this number for 100%.

5. Finally – from the mentioned 100% they subtract the biggest 5% ( or to be specific –  the exact number of 5 minutes intervals that equals 5 % of the whole.) In other words – they remove the biggest few of the intervals from the picture and consider the next biggest to be the relevant amount of traffic. This is the amount of traffic that you will be charged for!

One of the main reasons for the popularity of that pricing method is the advantage it has: Over the course of a 30 days,  you can have up to 36 hours of peak traffic that will be completely ignored for billing purposes, no matter how high the peaks are (it will fall into those 5 percent of highest 5 minute intervals that are getting ignored at the end of the scale.


Just for your convenience here are a few examples if it’s easier for you to think in terms of GB/Month:

1Mbps is equivalent to (maximum to )~325GB of sustained usage over a 30 day period. Some other examples:

10,000 GB (10TB) = ~30Mbps
20,000 GB (20TB) = ~60Mbps
100,000GB (100TB) = ~300Mbps

If you need some more questions, please do not hesitate to:  ask us anything!

We are always trying to help quality content get to the people!

About The Author

Nick Markov

Is The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Universal CDN. Nick is Experienced Marketing Professional, Influencer, Entrepreneur & Founder of Several Start-up companies. He runs a successful Business & Marketing Consulting company. You could find out more in his LinkedIn profile:

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