A content delivery network (CDN) refers to a group of servers that are geographically dispersed, working together to deliver fast Internet content.
A properly configured CDN can also help protect websites from can malicious attacks, such as attacks by Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS).
Is a CDN the same as a web host?
While a CDN does not host content and can not replace the need for proper web hosting, it does help cache content at the edge of the network which improves the performance of the website. Most web sites fail to have conventional hosting services meet their performance requirements, which is why they opt for CDNs.
By using caching to minimize hosting bandwidth, help prevent service interruptions and improve safety, CDNs are a popular choice for relieving some of the major pain points that come with traditional web hosting.
What are the benefits of using a CDN?
While the benefits of using a CDN vary depending on the size and needs of an Internet domain, the primary benefits can be broken down into 4 different components for most users:
Improving website load times
Users experience quicker page loading times by spreading content closer to website visitors using a local CDN server (among other optimisations). As users are more likely to click away from a slow-loading site, a CDN may minimize bounce levels and increase the amount of time spent on the web by people. In other words, a website quicker means more tourists return and hang around for longer.
Reducing bandwidth costs
Website hosting charges for bandwidth use are a key burden for websites. Through caching and other enhancements, CDNs will reduce the amount of data that an origin server has to provide, thus reducing the hosting costs for website owners.
Increasing content availability and redundancy
Large amounts of faults in traffic or hardware will interrupt normal website operation. Due to its distributed nature, a CDN can handle more traffic and cope better with hardware failure.
Improving website security
A CDN can improve security by offering DDoS prevention, security certificate enhancements, and other optimisations.
How does a CDN work?
A CDN is at its heart a cloud network linked to the aim of delivering content as easily, efficiently, reliably and safely as possible. A CDN would position servers at the exchange points between different networks to improve speed and reliability.
These Internet exchange points (IXPs) are the primary places where different Internet providers link to each other. In order to give each other access to traffic that originates on their different networks. Through connecting to these high speed and highly interconnected sites, a CDN provider will reduce costs and transit times while delivering high speed data.
A CDN makes a number of improvements on traditional client / server data transfers, including device placement in IXPs. CDNs position data centers at strategic locations around the world, improve security and are designed to survive various types of failures and congestion on the Internet.
Latency – How does a CDN improve website load times?
When it comes to websites loading content, users drop off quickly as a site slows down. CDN services can help to reduce load times in the following ways:
- The globally distributed existence of a CDN means reducing the gap between users and website services. Instead of connecting to wherever the website’s original server may locate. The CDN enables users to connect to a geographically closer data center.
- Hardware and software optimisation, such as efficient load balancing and solid-state hard drives, will help users access data more quickly.
- CDNs can reduce the amount of data transmitted using strategies such as mining and file compression by reducing file sizes.
- CDNs can also speed up sites that use TLS / SSL certificates by optimizing reuse of connections. It allowing TLS to false start.
Reliability and Redundancy – How does a CDN keep a website always online?
Uptime is a critical component of an Internet property for anyone with. Computer failures and surges in traffic have the potential to bring down a web server. It discourage users from accessing a site or service as a result of either malicious attacks. A well-rounded CDN comes with several features to minimize downtime:
- Load balancing distributes network traffic evenly across several servers, making it easier to scale rapid boosts in traffic.
- Intelligent failover provides uninterrupted service even if one or more of the servers go offline due to hardware malfunction; the failover can redistribute the traffic to the other operational servers.
- In the event that an entire data center is having technical issues. Anycast routing transfers the traffic to another available data center, ensuring that no users lose access to the website.
Data Security – How does a CDN protect data?
Safety of Data is an integral part of a CDN. It will protect a site with TLS / SSL certificates ensuring a high standard of authentication, security and honesty. Examine the security concerns facing CDNs, and discuss what can done to deliver content securely.