If you’re developing a new web-facing application, creating a new website, or simply looking to transform the architecture of your internet presence, you may have heard of Content Delivery Networks – usually referred to as “CDNs” for short.
Not sure what a CDN is, how it works, or what are its benefits for your business? You’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
As the name implies, a content delivery network is primarily responsible for delivering content such as web pages, images, videos, and data to users globally, by using a network of servers distributed throughout a number of different geographic locations.
Essentially, a CDN allows you to duplicate and cache your most important web assets and data, and store them on a server that is geographically close to one of your service areas. When a user tries to visit your website, their traffic request is sent to the nearest server.
Let’s say, for example, that you are an American company looking to expand into Canada. To improve Canada-based users’ experience on your web platform, you could work with an existing CDN provider. They would duplicate your web platform’s data and store it on servers that are geographically in Canada, closest to the users’ location.
In other terms, the closer a user is to a “node” of your content delivery network, the faster their loading times will be, which will improve their experience on your web platform. In addition, the process of delivering a website through a CDN is nearly undetectable by users, so they’ll never even know that this is happening.
This also allows you to handle more traffic, and provides a number of benefits that we’ll discuss more in-depth in the next section of this post.
Sounds familiar? Content delivery networks are actually an implementation of edge computing.
Why Use a CDN? What Are the Benefits?
CDNs are used by almost every major company and website on the internet today, due to their key advantages, compared to traditional web infrastructure. Here are these benefits.
Faster Load and Response Times When Delivering Content to End Users
We mentioned this briefly above, but it deserves more discussion. Loading times are absolutely critical for the success of your website or web app.
Up to 79% of people who interact with a slow website say they are less likely to do so again, in the future. A 1-second delay beyond the expected loading time of 2-4 seconds can result in a loss of up to 11% of your traffic.
A CDN is the best way to speed up the process of loading your web pages, particularly when paired with other best practices like user web caching and image optimization.
Higher Scalability and Availability with Cloud Infrastructure
A CDN allows you to quickly scale up your number of available servers across a large geographic area. Popular providers such as WordPress or Cloudflare will allow you to set up a cloud-based CDN within the same day. This means more business flexibility and agility.
Fewer Slow-downs During Peak Traffic
Depending on the provider, you can benefit from better peak traffic management. As one node in the CDN becomes overloaded with users, it will quickly distribute traffic to other nodes that may be farther away, but still offer a better loading time. This provides more consistent web page performance, and keeps loading times down, even when traffic numbers are exceptionally high.
More Content Redundancy
Because your content is redundant and CDN servers can automatically shift traffic loads, there is a much lower risk of downtime and connectivity problems. Users will enjoy higher uptime, and fewer errors when communicating with your web platform. Data purging is also used to quickly get rid of outdated data and ensure that the entire CDN network is up-to-date. This eliminates errors and content delivery issues.
Better Data Integrity, Security and Privacy
Most leading CDN platforms provide users with powerful security and privacy tools, using HTTP/2, SSL tunneling, and integrated data backup tools.
For these primary reasons, a CDN is a great investment for just about any company.
What If Content Delivery Network Was a Business Opportunity?
There is clearly an opportunity to make a business out of the content delivery network concept. How so?
While there are already offers on the market, not all of them can satisfy any user. For example, there are emerging markets where major CDN companies do not have a presence. As a local cloud provider, you might consider filling that gap and offering CDN nodes. The good news is, it’s completely possible to create your own content delivery network offer with a cloud management platform like Ormuco Stack.
A private CDN consists of a number of different Points of Presence (POPs) which serve content only for their owner. These can be basic caching servers or reverse proxy servers that you set up in your location or data center. There is one thing you should never miss though. Your application delivery controllers should be able to redirect traffic to the appropriate server and make load balancing possible. Next, you would need to build the web application to offer access to your nodes and manage it.
Think About It, Content Delivery Networks May Be Your Sweet Spot
If you have the capacity to build a network of servers spread throughout a geographic area, you can definitely build a good case with content delivery networks. You can use Ormuco Stack to set up POPs quickly and easily, whether you’re using industrial-grade servers, or smaller servers built with commodity hardware. Start by studying the market to make sure you can make this your niche.
Got more questions, or interested in learning more? Contact us now! We’d be happy to discuss the details about Ormuco Stack, and how you can use it to build your very own CDN offer.