CDN or content delivery system is best described as a system of distributed server or network that provides webpages and other web-related content to a particular user depending on the geographic location, origin of the webpage and the content delivery server. It is a known fact that this is effective in hastening the delivery of content for websites with high traffic as well as websites that have an international reach. Understandably, if the CDN server is close to the user geographically, the content will be delivered faster. Additionally, CDNs also provide protection from substantial surges when it comes to traffic.

How CDN works

The servers closest to the website visitor will respond to any request. The CDN basically duplicates the pages of a particular website to a network of servers that are distributed geographically in various locations, caching the contents of the page. Once a user will request the webpage which is a part of the CDN, it will redirect the request from the original server of the site to the server in the CDN that is close to the user and deliver the cached content. The CDN will even communicate with the originating server to supply any content that was not yet cached. You have to take note that the process of bouncing via a CDN is almost transparent to the users. One way for the users to know if a CDN was accessed is if the delivered URL is different than the URL that was requested. In most cases, CDNs are utilized in B2B interactions as well as delivering content to the consumers. At the present, since almost everything is carried out online, CDNs are utilized to boost dynamic content, static content, ecommerce transactions, mobile content, games, video, voice and many more.

Selecting a CDN

Setting up a CDN is not only affordable, but can be easily completed in just a matter of hours. Majority of consumer-oriented CDNs are focused on delivering static content – images, CSS files, JavaScript. The CDN simply accompanies your hosting account, helping out with the workload from your server. There are two main providers of CDN – Amazon S3 with CloudFront and Rackspace Mosso. Both providers deliver the similar service and pricing.

How to use a CDN

For WordPress users, simply look for Amazon S3 or Rackspace Mosso plugins. If you are not using the two, there is a procedure that can help you out.

  • Upload files through a web interface or any application that is compatible
  • Check if the files can be viewed and the CDN is capable of serving them
  • The DNS settings can be edited to utilize a sub-domain name to point to the hosted files so that the CDN is visible

Benefits of using a CDN

It is essential to utilize a CDN since there are certain benefits that you will gain.

  • There is higher capacity and scale since the strategically-positioned servers can increase the network capacity as well as the users being handled.
  • You will enjoy lower costs on delivery since the tactically-placed edge servers diminish the load on the private peers, public peers and backbones, thus liberating the capacity as well as lowering the costs on delivery. With a CDN, it offloads the traffic on the mainstay network by conveying the traffic to the edge servers.
  • Lesser network dormancy and packet cost which provides the end users with minimal jitter as well as improved quality on streaming.
  • With higher availability, this is due to the automatic server accessibility detecting of a CDN along with immediate user rerouting.
  • CDNs could provide better control on the delivery of asset as well as the network load. With better usage analytics, the capacity per client can be optimized, show active regions, provide actual load and statistics as well as report precise viewing details.