What is CDN?

diagram of how a CDN works

What is CDN?

A CDN, or content delivery network, is a worldwide network of servers that speeds up the delivery of web information to end users by keeping copies of files, like photos, close to the consumers who are requesting them. Websites can serve more users without worrying about overtaxing their origin servers by employing a CDN to lessen the load on those servers. By helping websites load faster, CDNs enhance user experience. They also increase website security by allowing websites to deploy additional security proxies over the content delivery network and reducing the effects of distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults.

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How does CDN Work?

A CDN caches a cached version of your website’s content in various places to reduce the distance between users and the server (a.k.a., points of presence, or PoPs). Each PoP has some cache servers that are in charge of delivering material to customers nearby.

In essence, CDN distributes your material to numerous locations simultaneously, giving your users better coverage. For instance, a local UK PoP is used when someone in London visits your US-hosted website. Compared to having the visitor’s queries and your reply cross the entire width of the Atlantic and back, this is far faster.

In a nutshell, this is how a CDN operates. Of course, the rabbit hole deepens because we believed we required an entire manual to describe how content delivery networks operate.

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Benefits of CDN:

The advantages of CDNs can be divided into four main categories depending on the size and requirements of your company:

Improving website page load times

Visitors get quicker webpage loading times because of the use of a nearby CDN server, which enables online content delivery closer to website visitors (among other optimizations). A website with a long page load time typically has more visitors who click or leave. The rating of the website on search engines may potentially suffer as a result of this. Therefore, having a CDN can decrease bounce rates and increase the time that users stay on the site. Therefore, a website that loads quickly will attract more people and keep them there longer.

Reducing bandwidth costs

Bandwidth is used each time an origin server answers a request. For organizations, the cost of bandwidth usage is a significant expense. The quantity of data that an origin server needs to provide can be decreased by CDNs through caching and other improvements, which lowers hosting costs for website owners.

Increasing content availability and redundancy

Hardware issues or high online traffic might disrupt a website’s usual operation and cause downtime. A CDN can manage more web traffic and withstand hardware failure than multiple origin servers because of its distributed architecture. In addition, other active servers can take over and maintain service continuity if one or more CDN servers go unavailable for any reason.

Improving website security

It is perfect for reducing DDoS assaults since it uses the same procedure that CDNs use to handle traffic spikes. These are attacks when hostile actors send a large number of requests in an attempt to overwhelm your application or origin servers. Customers’ access to the website may be affected if the server goes down because of the volume. A CDN effectively serves as a framework for DDoS mitigation and protection, with the GSLB and edge servers dispersing the load evenly throughout the network’s whole capacity. Additionally, CDNs can offer certificate administration, as well as automatic certificate issuance and renewal.

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Why use CDN?

By eliminating latency, enhancing website speed, and lowering bandwidth costs, CDNs assist organizations in effectively delivering content to end users.

The ability of CDNs to let edge servers prefetch content in advance is another distinguishing characteristic. By doing this, you can be guaranteed that all CDN data centers will have the data you intend to provide. These data centers are referred to as Points of Presence (or “POPs”) in CDN lingo. By bringing web material closer to the website visitor, PoPs reduce round-trip time.

Assume, for instance, that you execute an advertising campaign and promote your service or product to millions of potential clients. After reading the post, you may anticipate that plenty of people will visit your website right away. The volume of traffic may experience an even greater increase if you work with influencers that have high audience engagement rates. Can you guarantee that this sudden increase in volume won’t overwhelm your origin server?

In this case, CDNs can assist in distributing the load among the edge servers so that everyone receives the response. Your servers won’t face heavy traffic spikes, 502 errors, or congested upstream network channels because only a small portion of requests will reach the origin.

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