The Breakdown

What is Content Delivery Network (CDN)? How CDN Works?

It’s quite possible that you have heard something about the content delivery network, but the chances are very less you know what exactly it is. In short, content delivery network or simply CDN is a system of distributed proxy servers or say networks which help in delivering pages and other web contents to a user according to the geographical locations of the user, the origin of the web page and also the content delivery server.

What is a CDN?

The actual aim of the CDN is to deliver service spatially relative to end users to perform highly and also be highly available. A large fraction of the Internet today is being served by the Content Delivery Network. Web objects like text, graphics, and scripts; downloadable objects like media files, software, documents; applications like e-commerce, portals; live streaming media, on demand streaming media and also social networks are the most of the internet contents available today which is being served by the help of CDN.

CDN as might name short but it is an umbrella term which just spans different type of content delivery services. The content owners such as the media companies and the e-commerce vendors pay the CDN operators to deliver the contents to the end users. So in a turn of events, we can say that the CDN pays ISP’s, Carriers and the Network operators for hosting its servers in their data centers.

CDN’s are the hidden backbone of the Internet world where they take care of the content delivery. As I have mentioned earlier that CDN’s are required on a daily basis for the Internet, thus, it can be stated that every one of us around the globe interacts with the CDN’s on a daily basis. It can be by just watching a YouTube video or shopping online or even expressing what you feel on Facebook or just checking out the news.

No matter what you do, or what kind of content you put in, you will find CDN’s behind every character of text, in every pixel of an image and every movie frame which gets loaded into our smart phones, tablets or even the PCs.

Understanding CDN

To understand of CDN’s wide usage, you first need to understand and also recognize the issue they are designed to solve. It is called as the Latency, which is that annoying delay which occurs from the moment you type in a request in the search tab to load a web page the moment its content appears in front of the screen.

This delay is mostly because of some factors mostly because of the web page loading. But, in most of the cases, the delay is because of the impact of the distance between the website’s hosting server and the user physically. The mission of a CDN is to shorten that physical distance virtually.

How CDN’s Evolved?

CDN’s have been around since the 90’s. Like any other evolution, the CDN’s also went through several evolutionary stages before becoming to something that it is today with a stern application delivery platform.

The path of this CDN development was shaped by the market forces, which included new trends in a large connectivity advancements and content consumption. The large connectivity advancements have been enabled with the help of fiber optics and other new types of communication technologies.

In all together we can say that the evolution of CDN can be segmented into three generations where each of the generations introduces new capabilities, technologies, and concepts to the network architecture. Every generation saw that the pricing of the Content Delivery Network services plunges downwards, which could mark the transformation to a mass market technology by time.

The CDN’s of each generation was named as:

  1. Static CDN

In the Static CDN, the content served was a static HTML and the files were downloadable. The network topology was being scattered with the past agenda being only the performance. The pricing was very much expensive which was mostly dealt by the corporate sectors.

  1. Dynamic CDN

The Dynamic CDN, on the other hand, served content which was static and dynamic which included rich media. The network topology of this was consolidated with the motto of proving not only CDN’s performance but also its availability. Although the price still seemed expensive, it was ok as the CDN’s customers were business sectors.

  1. The Multipurpose CDN

The Multipurpose CDN is what we find in today’s time and will maintain to perform better and advanced for the future. The network topology is highly consolidated so we can conclude from it that the agenda of CDN is highly secure, with high performance and also highly available. As in the past CDN gets highly used and available for every internet usage and thus the pricing is easily available. In the past, the customers to CDN were either corporate sectors or business sectors. But now anyone with a website is frequent customers to the CDN.

Who Uses the CDN?

So as we have mentioned above, the Multipurpose CDN is the one which is highly evolved and which is used presently in a very large scale. Today there are about every little thing found on the internet which uses the CDN.

About half of all the traffic is used and being served by the CDN’s. The numbers are moving upwards and trending with every passing year. The truth part is that if any of the parts of the business is online, then there are a few reasons where you need not use a CDN especially when all of them offer their services free of cost. But since everything are of free of service, it doesn’t mean that it is for everyone.

CDN yields little benefit if it is used locally, i.e., in the sense if you are authorizing a website which is strictly a local geographical area where even your users are present in a geographically local area then this does less benefit.

So it can be said that using a CDN for such local geographical area will worsen the website’s performance by the introduction of an unessential connection between the visitor and the already present nearby server.

Even though most of the websites operate on a larger scale, the usage of CDN is still a popular choice for many users hailing from various sectors. They are listed below as follows:

  • Advertising
  • Mobile
  • Healthcare
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Online gaming
  • Higher education
  • E-commerce
  • Government

How Does a Content Delivery Network Work?

To cut the distance between the visitors and the user’s website server, what a CDN does is, he stores a cached version of the website’s contents into multiple geographical locations also said as the points of presence or the Pop’s. Each of this PoP contains some caching servers which are solely responsible for the content delivery to the visitors within its proximity.

In short, it can be said that CDN places your content into various places all at once which provides superior coverage to the users. For example, If someone is in London who accesses your US-based hosted website, then this is done through a local UK PoP. So, in short this is how Content Delivery Network works.

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