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What is a CDN (Content Delivery Network)?

By Jun 3, 2019 No Comments

A content delivery network is known as a CDN. A CDN allows for the quick transfer of assets needed to load a website. A CDN refers to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide faster loading of internet content. The popularity of these services is growing and the majority of web traffic is served through a CDN, including traffic for sites like Facebook and Netflix.

Content Delivery Network Vs Web Hosting

A CDN is not the same as web hosting and it doesn’t replace the need for a good quality web host. It does help cache the content and therefore improves the website’s performance. A website with good hosting can still struggle to meet performance needs and that’s when a CDN is needed. 

Benefits of using a CDN

The benefits of using a CDN are plenty, but it can be broken down into these main categories:

Improves Search engine rankings

Search engines now penalize sites that load too slowly, and broadband penetration has created unprecedented traffic jams. Fast connection times do little good for viewers if the content delivers slowly.

Customer attention spans become increasingly short because people spend good money on their connections and equipment, expecting the fastest page loads and highest quality videos and live-streaming events.

CDN technology provides redundancy for fail-safe protection during partial Internet malfunctions. Duplication of content also protects against loss of data and image degradation.

Increasing content availability and redundancy

An influx of traffic or hardware failures can interrupt the normal functionality. A CDN distributes the data from different locations, so the site would be able to handle more traffic and withstand hardware failure better than many origin servers.

Improving website load speed

By loading the content on a nearby server and other optimisations, the visitors experience faster page loading times. This could decrease the bounce rate and the general usability of the site. The faster website means that the visitors will browse the site longer.

Reduction in Bandwidth usage

A CDN can reduce the amount of data that the origin server must provide through caching and other optimisations. This will reduce hosting costs if you are using limited bandwidth hosting.

Improving website security

A CDN may improve security by providing DDoS mitigation, improvements to security certificates, and other optimizations. CDNs are built to analyse and absorb unusual traffic spikes, these can either be the good kinds like the sort that can appear from marketing promotions and the request will be served, or can be identified as bad which means they can be sent into a black hole, that is specific scrubbing nodes, and protect the website from a DDoS attack before any damage is done.

How does a CDN work?

The basics of how a CDN works is by using a network of servers linked together with the aim of delivering the content as quickly, reliably and securely as possible. A CDN will place servers at the exchange points between different networks. By having a connection to high speed interconnected locations, a CDN provider is able to reduce the transit times in high-speed data delivery.

A CDN reduces load time by optimising hardware and software ( by using load balancing and solid state drives)

A CDN reduces the distance between users and website resources. Instead of connecting to wherever a websites origin server may live, a CDN lets users connect to a geographically closer data centre. The lower travel time means faster service.

Reduces the amount of data transferred by reducing the file sizes using tactics such as minification and file compression. Smaller file sizes lead to faster load times.

CDNs can also speed up sites which use TLS/SSL certificates by optimizing connection reuse and enabling TLS false start.