What is a CDN? Content Delivery Network: Explanation

What is a CDN? CDN is a Content Delivery Network – a group of servers installed in different places to provide web content in a wide geographic region.

They are also called “distribution networks,” and the idea is to offer several points of presence (PoPs) outside the source server. This allows websites to better manage traffic through faster processing of user requests, which generally provides a more enjoyable experience.

You use a CDN every time you go to an e-commerce site with high traffic, such as Amazon, or meet your friends on Facebook. These data centers communicate with each other, bringing the content closer to the people who need it, regardless of the geographical location of individual users or the main server of the website.

By spreading delivery systems over large areas, websites can reduce data throughput consumption and page load time, saving the precious seconds of time it takes to process multiple users’ requests.

Content understanding

Before we talk about content delivery, we need to know what content is. This is any text, audio and visual element of the site: text, images, audio files, videos and many other things.

There are two types of content: static and dynamic. Content is called static when its original version (input) is what people actually see on the page (output). Put simply, it remains unchanged. The server provides the same data to each user. The process is simple: the user requests a file from the web server, the server transfers the file.

Dynamic content is any content that changes depending on the request. It is personalized on different pages, depending on the user’s request. One example of dynamic content is a product page, which consists of a product name, description, and price, including images. Another example is a web page that displays relevant information or logs user interactions.

How does CDN work?

Cyberspace is a quite difficult concept for the average user. Sitting at home in Anytown, USA, you type a query into a search engine or web address in the URL bar, press enter and wait.

From an unknown place, far from you, your request has been received. Billibit of information is distributed between the source server and your computer or mobile device. This is difficult enough to manage static content effectively. Most web pages contain hundreds of elements, from plain text to interactive multimedia content.

It’s a given that the closer you are to the source, the faster your request can be satisfied.

Requests are processed by any nearest network server to the computer executing the request. Due to data caching and the distribution of several requests for the same information over the network, rather than over one server, the traffic load is more balanced. This removes old school issues such as slow page loading, browser crashes, and service outages.

Benefits of Using CDN

The benefits depend on the size of your site, its location relative to your main traffic source and the amount of generated traffic. For example, a local business with a physical location that serves one small geographic area will not benefit much from CDNs.

However, if you are an owner of an e-commerce business that needs wider reach, or your site generates a lot of traffic from different places for any reason, then a fast and effective CDN will help you to maintain your competitive advantages and provide the type of UX that is looking for engines and rewards customers.

There are four main benefits of using CDN servers. Each of them is based on a different one to help to solve the problems of managing complex content and serving large volume traffic.

Effective content distribution networks must do the following four things:

1. To reduce data throughput

One of the biggest expenses with some hosting services is data throughput. Saving the data throughput needed to process traffic by multiplication the number of presence points, reduces your costs.

This is achieved using optimization tools such as caching, which puts data in temporary storage on different computers or mobile devices for easier access.

2. To increase speed

One of the main factors contributory to high refusal rates is deference. This is the increased time required to transfer information from the user to the source and vice versa, and this is caused by:

Deference in reading files due to locked storage
Deference in processing data from the server
Data transfer mode, e.g. fiber optic network or coaxial cables
The spread or speed at which data is transferred from one node to another.

Many of these problems can be resolved or at least reduced with an efficient delivery network.

3. To improve security

When all data is transferred from one server, it increases your vulnerability to malicious events, such as denial of service (DDoS) attacks and other vulnerabilities.

This is a coordinated request for information that is conducted from several places and users at the appointed time; they can also be done automatically through bots. The goal is to cause the server failure due to traffic overload, to make a political statement or just for the sake of harm.

They can last for several hours or even days, making the site inaccessible to legitimate traffic. Using DDoS filters and distributing requests across multiple locations helps to prevent an artificially created traffic explosion.

You can even use your CDN for hacker-proof defense and to protect your confidential data. This is achievable because CDNs are constantly updating TLS / SSL certificates, providing higher standards for authentication and encryption. They also reject traffic from your source server to the proxy.

4. To improve content distribution

High traffic loads coupled with hardware crashes mean more downtime than most websites can afford. By distributing the load across multiple content delivery networks, you will reduce the load on your infrastructure and servers.

Now, who really needs a content delivery network (CDN)? Here ar the enterprises who need CDN:

E-commerce

Speaking of e-commerce, we are talking about mass traffic from around the world. Products in a wide variety, but customers have only a limited time. If a website cannot provide the necessary information at a glance, countless opportunities can be missed. E-commerce needs a CDN to process requests from different places. Here the CDN can show its advantage. By storing content on a nearby server and providing faster response, CDN can also prevent any spikes in web traffic so that there are no server crashes.

Advertising

When adapting to the digital world, the advertising business uses multimedia advertising. They are more attractive and informative. But there is a problem: multimedia requires more resources. In the worst case scenario, a rich media website loads very slowly. The slower the site, the more customers refuse it. Advertising companies need a CDN to solve this problem. As far as the CDN stores the contents of the cache on the server closest to the user, the contents will load faster. Minimum load times can be saved and site performance will be better.

Online Games

If advertising requires large resources, online games require even more resources. This is the biggest challenge for the gaming industry: continue to provide the best content, but at the same time avoid poor gaming performance. CDN technology allows network games to have “push zones,” a place where developers can host an entire game on a CDN server. In this case, the need for a request directly from the source server is set to the minimum value.

Entertainment

Content is the heart of the media and entertainment industries. From downloads to streaming, entertainment content has attracted millions of people around the world. Website owners provide such content to have a safe strategy to keep their websites in top condition. Again, cached CDN content is a lifesaver helping to prevent disaster. Copies of content stored on multiple servers will be ready for user requests depending on their location. This will certainly speed up content-based content processing.

CDN Frequently Asked Questions

If you are a skimmer like so many people these days, here is some concise information in the form of FAQ about CDN.

How does CDN make my site faster?

There are three ways in which a reliable CDN can increase load time and overall speed.

1. Distribution and storage of various types of content, such as images, text and multimedia files for quick access.
2. Saving data throughput, serving content from multiple locations, rather than pushing it from a single server.
3. Processing flashes of traffic during peak times, for example, on holidays or during emergencies in the country, without operating trouble.

What types of sites will benefit from CDN?

Any B2B or B2C website that has a user base outside their immediate geographical location could benefit from a CDN. They are also useful for bloggers and high traffic websites.

Are CDNs safe?

Yes. Since they are deployed on the edge of a wider network, they provide a secure buffer between your website, traffic, and any hostile entities. Think of your CDN as the guardrail that surrounds the perimeter of your server network.

What is the difference between CDN and VPN?

Content delivery networks accelerate the delivery of information by sending and / or storing site content through a server network, allowing site visitors to access web pages from the nearest available source.

Virtual private networks (VPNs) protect the user’s identity and use a number of servers in different places to circumvent geographic and other restrictions on certain types of content. Both provide additional security and improved access, but for different purposes.

Is CDN the same as hosting?

CDNs do not host websites on their own, but they can improve the performance of hosted servers by using caching and other optimization methods to save data throughput. They also increase speed and prevent problems such as disconnection, poor security and slow content delivery.

Content distribution networks can even work with your server, because hosting provides you with a platform for hosting your main website, and CDN provides proxies for more efficient distribution. This helps visitors better by reducing your business expenses.

Do CDNs work with mobile devices?

They work with any desktop computer, laptop or mobile device that can be connected to the Internet. All processes are performed from the source, not from the user.

Are all CDNs the same?

The popularity of CDN and the need for speed have sparked a boom in the content delivery business. Like other types of service providers, not all CDNs offer the same level of service, benefits, or functionality.

Some CDNs are free, others are subscription, and some offer both paid and free services. Look what major providers such as CloudFare have to offer.

What do I need to look for in a CDN?

A few things to consider are your budget and requirements, and this includes the expected needs for future growth.

Besides these considerations, here is a list of the features that any good CDN should have:

Push / pull functionality
Origin shield
Logging
Cache control
Customization options
DDoS Protection
HTTP / 2 Support
Diagnostics, analytics and reporting
Geo-filtering

Summarizing

Owning a website means increasing traffic and managing it effectively.

Studies show that even a one second delay results in a 7 percent decrease in conversions, a 11 percent drop in page views, and a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction (just ask Amazon).

If you want to maintain your level of service due to enhancement of your presence on the Internet, a reliable, scalable content delivery network is a worthy investment.

This will reduce the problem caused by delays and give your visitors that speed, performance and consistency they expect from a website in the 21st century.

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