CDN is a short form of content delivery network. It was first established in the late 1990s, but they were very expensive at that time. Today things have changed and many hosting providers offer CDN services as a checkbox add-on. CDN development was forced by new trends in content consumption and vast connectivity advancements.
CDN is a network of distributed servers that deliver pages and other Web content to a user. It depends on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server. The delivery gets fast if the user is closer to the CDN server geographically. It also provides protection from large spikes in traffic. This service is very effective in speeding the delivery of content of websites with high traffic and websites that have global reach. Content delivery networks are also used for B2B interactions.
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Perhaps, you may not be aware of it, each one of us is interacting with CDN almost daily. It is widely used. Guess it! Here is the news of the day. Reading news, and articles on news sites, doing online shopping, following social media feeds and watching videos on YouTube are some of the examples. CDN delivers all this to your PC and mobile browser.
The moment, you request to load a web page, to the moment, its content appears onscreen, takes time. Sometimes, it gets delayed. So, CDN is designed to avoid this delay. This issue has been termed as latency.
It is affected by several factors, and many being specific to the required web page. However, in most of the cases, the physical distance between the user and that website’s hosting server, is the main culprit. Therefore, the main aim is to cut short that physical distance, to improve both the speed as well as the performance.
When a user requests a page on a website, CDN puts a cached version of its content in multiple geographical locations at once, providing superior coverage to the users. Thus, it minimizes the distance. Each point of presence contain several caching servers responsible for content delivery to users within its proximity. That is how the delivery gets fast.
Almost everyone is using CDN. However, if you have a website, serving local people, then it has no benefit as the website’s performance gets worse by introducing another unrequired connection point between the user and an already nearby server.
CDN becomes a popular choice if it is operated on large scale, for example in the following areas like Advertising, Media and entertainment, Online gaming, E-commerce, Mobile, Healthcare, Higher education and Government
One can also handle many IT tasks with CDN, like:
Most of the organizations have started using CDN to accelerate all type of contents, as more users are coming online. In a very short time, CDN would become an integral part of all websites.