Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Short of all technical jargon, a Content Delivery Network (CDN) may be described as a network of servers specially aimed at efficient delivery of specific information to visitors. The basic idea is to speedily offer clients the updated information sorted out from a maze of complex content through a caching process.

Some examples of CDN service providers are EdgeCast Networks, Cachefly, Amazon CloudFront, PeerCast, Coral Content Distribution network, Akamai Technologies and many more.

An Example of CDN

Major Benefits of CDN

The chief purpose of CDN is to provide greater comfort to customers and obtain better sales through enhanced site performance.

  • CDNs cache web content from static websites and distributes the content across the network of servers that are positioned in a planned way across various geographic locations. Assuming a web server is located in USA, but most visitors are from countries like Egypt or Australia or France, the CDN immediately draws the visitor to the closest possible location through mapping.
  • A major attraction of using a CDN is scalability. It is a fact that today bulk of business transactions takes place over the Internet. Thus websites have to be in a state of readiness to handle large scale traffic and the CDN is an ideal tool to cope up with such situations. As stated earlier, the CDN will comprise of a lot of servers which can help distribute the load and minimize traffic to other busier locations.
  • A content delivery network provides the advantage of better availability. Due to traffic congestion, the website servers can suffer leading to HTTP 5xx Response Codes served to the viewers. This is certainly not a sophisticated way to manage incoming traffic into one’s site. Spreading of content rids the difficulty caused by heavy traffic in any particular area, and drastically improves website accessibility.

Yet another important benefit of the CDN might be ‘added offload’. When using a CDN, a good part of the static web content is cached on many CDN servers and continues to be served by the cache of the CDN servers till it exhausts. This will obviously lead to a better offload request from the basic infrastructure.

How CDNs Work?

The CDN, as explained earlier, is a method of caching that sends the client to the closest caching server, otherwise known as node. When the client accesses a particular website, they capture content from the node and not from the original server.

This process lowers the load on that server and speeds up content delivery. By what is known as On-demand Propagation, the content from the original site is immediately ejected to the caching server when request is made from a geographic area. This results in more efficient performance and also saves costs.

Internet web sites have today assumed vigorous dimensions and are unable to cope up with the ever increasing needs and demands of the Internet user. As traffic intensified, web sites also had to compulsively grow to serve their client base.

During initial stages, to reduce cost and other technical complexities, most web sites were content with a centralized system with a single point of presence. As the quantum of traffic reached unmanageable limit, servers and bandwidth were added. It is in this scenario that the CDN emerged to fulfill a felt need.

A CDN is an immensely beneficial system as it disperses copies of all the data to various points within a network and in a way enlarges the bandwidth. A visitor can accesses copies of whatever data from the closest server instead of crowding a single central server creating congestion.