- 1. What is CDN?
- 2. Is it Safe To Use CDN?
- 3. What Features Should a Good CDN Have?
- 4. What are The Building Blocks of CDN?
- 5. How Does CDN Work?
- 6. What Are The Benefits of Using CDN?
- 7. Who Should Use CDN?
- 8. What are The Most Used CDN Providers?
What is CDN?
A CDN refers to content delivery services and it exists to ensure that websites are able to load quickly, wherever they are in the world and no matter how far away they are from the origin server. This large network of servers is able to cache certain requests and content easily by connecting to the server nearest to wherever you are. CDNs can be thought of as a way to move information closer to the user without compromising the quality of the information. If this content delivery service did not exist, websites would take hours to load, as they would have to be cached from an origin server, no matter how far away it was! Along with speed, CDN software also ensures that many different users are able to access the same content without the website becoming backlogged and slow down, it can be thought of as a traffic router who is routing traffic in the best possible direction to get to where it needs to be faster. If all traffic was directed in one direction, you would get a traffic jam, whereby access is slow.
Is it Safe To Use CDN?
Yes, CDN is very low risk, and the networks that transfer data and information are secured. Through optimisations and encryptions, the integrity of the network is always ensured, thus making it a secure network for users to use. Public CDNs are able to cache images and data easily and they are secure, if you are however worried about the information and data that is being transmitted through a network, it may be in your interest to go through private servers. For the average website owner however, public CDN networks are completely safe and will provide your users with the information they need quickly!
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What Features Should a Good CDN Have?
As with any online platform, there are a variety of features and characteristics that CDNs need to use to ensure that both the client and the user are happy. The following are just a few of the best features that every good CDN should have.
- Pullzones: CDNs are originally built to push data to users, but as apps and websites have developed, there is often a need for data to be pulled back to the website or application. Pull Zones allow for this to happen and they refer to zones where information can actually be pulled back along with being pushed forward. The best way to think about pullzones is to consider a CDN a street, very often it is only a one way street, where information can only go from a website to a user. A pull zone creates another street whereby information can al;so be pulled back.
- ad-blocking neutralisers: Though users may find them a bit annoying, it is important that advertisements still be processed through CDNs. Advertisements are a great way for websites and apps to make money, and it is imperative that CDN websites have features that will neutralise ad-blocking technology.
- Image optimisation: Depending on the device that you are using and the type of connection you have, high resolution images are often a hassle to load, with different devices needing different sizes and different resolutions when it comes to the images that they use. CDN images are better quality and they load much faster compared to webpages who do not use one of these platforms. A good CDN will have built in optimisation that can ensure that the image will be uniquely changed according to the device that the user is using, be it mobile or a laptop.
What are The Building Blocks of CDN?
There are different parts that make up CDN hosting and they each need to work and function according to the best practises suited to your own website. In order to make the most of CDN, having each of the building blocks strategically optimised will ensure that your website will function well. The following are the building blocks of CDN to consider.
Points of Presence
In order for a CDN to work properly, there needs to be data centres near to where users will be accessing the information. They should be located strategically, either within a certain city or region, where the most amount of traffic comes from, or even all over the world for larger websites. They work by bringing the content that websites provide closer to the user, ensuring that they have quick access to it.
In order for a CDN to work, there needs to be a caching server where files can be stored. Cochin servers work by storing already cached files as this ensures that website load times are reduced and they also reduce the amount of bandwidth that is used. Caching servers are an important aspect of CDN and without them caching and storing files, the networks would not be able to send and receive files.
SSD/HDD + RAM
The cached files have to be stored somewhere and this is where SSD/HDD and Ram come in. Caching servers store information and data on SSD/HDD or ram drives, as this ensures that there is enough space for these cached files to be kept. It is important that you decide which of the storage mediums to use as there are differences between them. If the cached files that are being held in the chachin server are used often, it is recommended that RAM be the storage medium that you use as it is the fastest.
How Does CDN Work?
A CDN works by transferring data through a network of servers and its main goal is to deliver the data that it hosts as quickly and as safely as possible. At different points around the world, a CDN server sits at points of exchange, where information can be delivered quickly, as opposed to just being sent through an origin server. This network helps to speed up web pages and offers a more reliable way for information to be sent and transferred across a network. The points where data is exchanged refer to internet exchange points and they are located in different regions. CDN pricing is dependent on the type of provider that you use and differs across different brands, with many having different pricing plans and offers ranging from free to premium plans!
What Are The Benefits of Using CDN?
Improve Website Load Times
One of the main CDN benefits is that it speeds up the load times for web pages, improving the quality of your website and also ensuring that users have a good experience with your webpage. This is extremely beneficial when it comes to SEO and it is something that can improve your performance and help you to rank higher than the competition. Load times are one of the top ranking factors and search engines like Google take them into consideration when indexing your webpage.
Reducing Bandwidth Costs
Another reason why using CDN has become so popular is that it reduces the costs that website owners will have to spend on Bandwidth. This is one of the main costs involved and if your bandwidth consumption is high, you could be spending a lot of money on this aspect of your website. CDN caches data and therefore reduces the amount of information that the origin server has to provide. This reduces the amount of money that website owners need to spend on hosting costs!
Increasing Content Availability And Redundancy
When functioning only on an origin server, hardware issues and too much traffic at one point can cause pages to crash and issues to arise. Due to the fact that a CDN works by transferring data out of the origin servers and through a network, the chances of these issues arising is very small, and CDNs are able to withstand more hardware failure and more traffic far better than origin servers.
Improving Website Security
Through various optimisations, a CDN can actually end up improving the security on your webpage! This ensures that the users who visit your website are safe and that information is distributed through a network without disruption.
Who Should Use CDN?
While anyone with a website is able to use a CDN, it is generally more beneficial to larger and more complex websites, those who would have users from all over the globe accessing and using information and having more than one user on a page at a time. They are also very important for those brands and businesses focused on mobile apps, as these kinds of platforms often have a ton of dynamic and complex information that would take a long time to send and receive if it is just working from an origin server.
What are The Most Used CDN Providers?
StackPath is one of the best CDN providers as it comes with a reliable network of data centres that are located all over the world. This CDN provider is extremely easy to set up and it comes with a few added benefits in the features that it offers its users, things like a free EdgeSSL certificate and analytical programs that help you to monitor your data and where it is being accessed. One of the most unique features that this CDN provider offers is built-in CDN security, with things like firewalls and clocking systems already in place. The provider gives around 1 terabyte per month if you are on the most basic plan, so you will have more than enough storage!
Known to be the best cdn for wordpress and bloggers, this free to use CDN provider is popular with smaller businesses as there is no limitation on the amount of bandwidth you can use. This provider has data centres located all over the world, ensuring that data will be able to reach users as quickly as possible. there are over 180 routes that information can take to reach the user, ensuring that there is no back lo when it comes to accessing information. The one downfall to using CloudFare is that the security features are not included, and in order to obtain them you will need to upgrade from the free plan to the premium one.
KeyCDN is a uniquely proceed CDN provider and it works on more of a pay what you use basis. This means that smaller businesses will not have to pay for large fees if they are not using certain features, though for bigger websites the amount per month may increase as more users visit a site. The KeyCDN has a ton of useful features that ensure that data is easily sent through the network, with file compressions and real-time reporting features just to name a few!
Google Cloud CDN
For those who function on the Google cloud platform, one of the best CDN providers to use is Google cloud CDN. This system integrates data from the Google cloud platform, ensuring that all of your data and information is easily transferable. This provider has around 90 networks around the world, ensuring that data can be sent to any location in a short amount of time. The provider also comes with built in security to ensure the safety of the information you provide and the safety of users.
MaxCDN is a great CDN to use and has built up a reputation as being one of the top products in the industry! The CDN has a ton of different features that ensure that users are equipped with all of the tools they need to keep their website running and ensure that users are able to easily reach their platform.
CacheFly is the one of the oldest CDNs to use and it is unfortunately also one of the more expensive products on the market, with their basic plans starting at around $300 per month, which could be quite expensive for smaller online businesses and brands. This CDN is mostly used for those websites who are streaming podcasts and videos and the interface is incredibly easy to use and understand. The CDN alos comes with built in security that ensures your website will remain secure for your users.
Though MediaNova CDN was previously known to be a CDN that functioned only in Turkey and the middle east, it has grown over the last few years and has taken its place as one of the top CDNs in the world! This CDN started in the online gaming market, providing CDNs to websites that stream live football matches, but has grown to cover markets relating to all video and streaming sites!
If automation is what you are looking for when it comes to your CDN, the NitroPack CDN is the perfect provider for you! This CDN does not require you to set anything up, and it comes with built in services that are set up to increase the page load times of your website. It is also one of the more inexpensive CDNs and is a popular choice among small brands and businesses!