October 28, 2021

CDN (Content Delivery Network) explained

Perhaps if you hear CDN, you can get confused, or you totally ignore what it is about. But what if we mention Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, or Youtube?

Well, CDN is currently as popular as such international ventures. Just you don’t know it because it works in the backstage. Without it, not only those companies but many around the world just could not deliver their content to all their users.

You have your movie, music, social network’s images, the last series’ chapter, or news accessible, fast, in milliseconds after you required them, due to CDN. No matter how far you are from the original source.

What is CDN?

A content delivery network, also called, content distribution network (CDN), is a network of data centers and proxy servers distributed in different and strategic geographic points.

Every network’s server is known as a point of presence (PoP). They all have in their cache memory data for users of specific locations. It’s a service you can have besides your main web hosting. It’s a compliment (not a replacement) to cache many copies of data and set them globally to guarantee access to users.

In the late 1990s, CDN was created to solve traffic jams on the Internet while increasing availability and improving the general performance of the Internet.

Today, the demand for delivery content has massively grown, and CDN use too. Scripts, text, graphics, documents, software, media files, e-commerce sites, social media, live and on-demand streaming media, etc. Just think about all possible content that is distributed through the Internet.

How does CDN work?

CDN needs a large servers’ network for caching data, content that will be distributed to specific audiences (locations). To get that infrastructure is the key. Therefore, CDN providers strategically establish their PoPs. This requires a detailed analysis of Internet exchange points (IXPs), the physical infrastructure Internet service providers (ISP) use. On those exact IXPs, speed and location are the best.

CDN providers have to choose because to have PoPs in every available IXP would be really expensive. 

Then, through the use of GeoDNS tech, your website’s users get connected to the quickest and closest server. And this efficient connection doesn’t depend on obtaining the data (content) from the web hosting. The time that this saves is gold for your business.

CDN involves the use of already existent infrastructure, and CDN providers do not directly own it. What happens is, Content Delivery Network providers offer their service, clients hire them because they have content that must be delivered to their users. CDNs have to pay the carriers, Internet service providers, operators of networks for using their data centers to host CDNs’ servers.

Advantages of using CDN

  • Since CDN PoPs are established on IXPs, you get the benefit of high speed and strategic location. Your users will have fast and accurate access to your content every time they require it.
  • It’s a great solution for better up-time. With all the servers that will cache your business’ data, if a server experiences a problem or is down for a reason, another for sure will respond.
  • To respond efficiently and fast won’t depend only on your web hosting. 
  • Less bandwidth. Many of the users’ requests will be attended by secondary servers close to them. The primary server will be less demanded. That is not a minor benefit if you consider just the bandwidth that videos require to be loaded. 
  • Higher speed. Users’ requests will travel shorter distances, and the result will be given quicker. Users’ devices will receive the requested content from the closest secondary server that has it available in its cache.

Conclusion

High speed has become a key factor in determining websites’ efficiency, enhancing their performance, satisfying users’ experience, and ranking better on search engines. CDN produces a positive domino effect on your website’s performance. Use it and feel the benefits directly in your pocket!

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