If you’re a consumer, have you ever wondered why you are just unable to load that free movie of yours? While everyone around you seems to be engaged in the supreme server speeds of Netflix, why are some unable to find the same bargain on a free website? They do seem to have a decent internet speed.
While there can be a multitude of reasons behind that, one of the biggest ones would be, in simple words, that there just might not be enough “helpers” in the world, to carry the movie from its home server, to the comfortable device in front of them.
And if you’re the owner of the freely accessible website, this is precisely where Content Delivery Network would come into play for you. Keep reading to know more about CDN, one of the single most digital tools for propelling your content and business across the world.
Table of Contents
What is a Content Delivery Network?
A Content Delivery Network or a CDN, as the term suggests, is a global network of geographically and strategically placed “nodes”, that helps distribute digital content from its base server to whomsoever is trying to access it.
Imagine yourself at a dinner table. Your mother is sitting way across at the other end of the table, holding your favorite dish in her hand. You keep demanding it until she’s forced to make that slow, frustrated walk to where you’re sitting. That’s basically how the“free” website works.
Now if Netflix or YouTube were your mom, she will have smartly placed multiple siblings all along with the table, each one of them, with a serving of your favorite dish. You demand it, and the sibling closest to you is there to serve it.
Converting this example to its actuality, a CDN includes this very distribution of content to the data centers across the world, for a global reach and a reduced “travel distance” between the requested content and the user. Without a system of efficient CDN, the original/home server of the content in demand will be responsible for carrying out every single request by itself. Which in turn, increases the traffic/stress on the server and will cause a subsequently high load time.
CDN and its basic terminologies
Cached data: CDN stores cached versions of its primary data across various servers. These are lighter and transient versions of the original data, stored to be immediately accessible by everyone at its proximity.
Point(s) of Presence: PoPs are the groups of CDN Edge servers (singular computer systems), located in a specific geographical location. They primarily serve the purpose of eliminating the aspect of lengthy “data trips” from the user to the original server.
Load balancing, SSDs (Solid State Drives), and RAM are among the basic tools put to use by CDN servers, to reduce internet traffic and improve data transfer speed respectively.
Why you should be using a CDN?
The benefits of integrating yourself and your business with the global “reach” that CDN provides you with, are virtually huge. From faster and efficient content distribution to higher sales and returns, it seems to spiral towards FIVE broad factors that have proved CDNs to be supremely beneficiary over the years, ensuring their prevalence among almost every single business corporation today, may it be on a local or an international stage.
- The factor of Speed
- Data Accessibility
- Cost Reduction
1. The factor of speed: Quicker load times, and an “impressed” Google.
An efficient CDN minimizes server latency and ensures that the content reaches the user, as soon as the request is made. The request’s transferred to the nearest Point of Presence, instead of all the way to the home server. What this would mean for the end-user, is a quickly rendered static image, a video that won’t buffer, a seamless dynamic webpage, and an ultimately pleasant experience.
Wondering how much of a difference “load time” would make for the respective business? Amazon recorded a 1% drop in global sales, for every 100ms increase in load time.
So low load times equal happy users, happy you, and yes, happy Google! As per the updates made in Google’s algorithm since 2010, the quicker your website loads, the higher your content would be placed in Google’s search result.
2. Efficiency: Bigger the sea, more the fishermen you need.
The argument is quite simple. The wider your market gets, the more crucial will your need be, for a globally efficient and effective distribution system. By positioning data centers all across the globe, CDNs aid in spreading your content, business or idea throughout the unexplored global market, literally opening up a whole world of opportunities.
3. Data accessibility: A global threshold for your data.
CDN vastly increases the “digital availability” of your website, and aids in making sure that your site and data never really go “down.”
The user’s request is transferred to his nearest ISP, which if down, is just bumped towards the next PoP. Moreover, owing to the global presence of CDN servers, a positive redundancy and reduplication of your data is guaranteed, significantly eliminating the chances of “downtime”; even at times of natural or induced traffic.
4. Cost Reduction: Reduced bandwidth and incurred costs.Bandwidth, in its simplest sense, refers to the volume or quantity of data shared per second. Owing to the ever-increasing global market of the Internet, bandwidth is something that’s ever at a rise, which in turn, is hugely priced. Along with caching your original data, CDN ensures the strategic placement of PoPs, close to peering points (Data exchange points), which increases efficiency, reduces bandwidth, and subsequently minimizes the incurred cost
DDoS attacks (Distribution Denial of Service attacks) are among the most commonly undertaken ones, among cybercriminals today. It primarily manages to overload a website or home server with huge volumes of traffic, generally managing to shut it down.
More than for how damaging it might be, a system of protection against it is required particularly because of how easy it is, to launch DDoS attacks on websites.
The very architecture of CDN is built to handle unfathomable amounts of data and eliminate overwhelming traffic, whether it be due to market fluctuations, or due to a DDoS attack. Atop that, modern-day CDN services come with built-in proactive measures against cyber-attacks of this nature.
So, what is the conclusion? Is CDN in fact beneficiary to your business?
The only question is, how can it not be? Whether it’s e-commerce, blogging, video streaming, or content creation, that you’re in the digital space for, an efficient Content Delivery Network would be supremely beneficial; and for a fast-growing business, necessary.
That being said, for all the benefits that CDN might provide you with, it is of utmost importance, that you primarily perform an analysis of the nature and the digital audience of your business, in order to get the most out of your CDN. There are 3 broad areas of focus that AWS suggests, prior to opting for a CDN service:
- The primary nature of the data you want cached and optimized- whether it’s Static or Dynamic. Different CDNs deal with each kind, differently.
- The geographical location and distribution of your target audience.
- Choose a CDN that ensures performative returns.
At its core, Content Delivery Network brings out everything vast and amazing about the internet and integrates your business with it. “Internet” in its traditional, basic sense, could not have expected to handle the current plethora of global markets and digital exchanges. It’s the network and system of CDNs, that ultimately turned the Internet from one giant cloud to the globally integrated and intricate marketplace it is, today.