Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have become widely popular in recent years. The business was worth USD 13.39 billion in 2019, and it is projected to be worth USD 49.61 billion by 2025. So,
What exactly is a CDN?
A CDN stands for Content Delivery Network which is a large, globally distributed collection of high-powered servers, or a collection of servers, that work together to deliver content quickly over the Internet.
By reducing latency, a CDN can improve a website’s performance, security, and reliability while maintaining a good user experience.
When you visit a website, you see loaded content from that server, and if you aren’t using a Content Delivery Network, you’ll be putting stress on that server, even if it’s just a teeny-tiny amount of stress, for it to render the pages and show you the content, and if you have a lot of visitors, this can really slow down your server and make it unresponsive. So, how do we go about resolving this? Yes, it’s possible with CDN!
One thing to keep in mind is that a content delivery network does not host a website on its servers; instead, it caches the entire content from the original web server and delivers it to users quickly by reducing latency.
What exactly does a CDN do?
It simply distributes your website’s static content, such as pictures and videos, to locations closer to the people to whom you’re serving the content, which varies depending on which content delivery network you’re using.
There are many content distribution networks available, and their services have servers all over the world, and what they do is store the contents on those servers, and then when a visitor comes to your site, it loads the images from those node servers instead of your personal server, reducing the load on your server and spreading it across the networks.
What if you don’t use a CDN?
If you don’t use a CDN, content origin servers must respond to every single end-user request.
If the traffic spikes are extremely high or the load is persistent, this results in a significant amount of traffic to the origin and subsequent load, increasing the chances of origin failure.
Benefits of using CDN
Users benefit from increased speed because CDNs are built with multiple redundant endpoints, allowing them to automatically obtain CDN assets from an endpoint that is close to them.
It’s not usually possible to serve up an entire site this way, except for the very largest companies; even large tech companies are unlikely to have more than two or three locations that host their public-facing sites.
CDNs are oriented around providing static assets, which are chiefly going to be things like images and other media files and scripts that don’t change frequently, e.g. a specific version of jQuery or something along those lines.
It’s likely to be inconvenient to change an existing file if it’s hosted by a CDN (it may take hours or days before it checks back for a new version and then propagates it out to all of its endpoints).
So they are normally only used for things like static images that aren’t expected to change. (Some platforms, including Ruby on Rails, automatically append a hash to every static asset’s filename so that when the file is changed the CDN sees it as a new file, bypassing the previously cached file.)
Aside from the CDN itself likely being closer to the user and therefore faster downloads, it has the additional advantage of simply being a separate server.
The protocol that the web is built on, HTTP, requires browsers not to attempt to download too many things from anyone server at a time, so if the browser is downloading the page, and several images on it, it’ll limit itself to only downloading four things at once.
By getting your static images from a CDN, you’re dividing up the page load across at least two servers, yours and the CDN endpoint, which doubles the number of simultaneous connections possible.
In terms of scalability, by offloading this portion of the burden to a third party, your existing equipment will accommodate more users than otherwise.
This can help small businesses delay the point where they need to start sharing the load across multiple servers, making everyone’s life easier.
Also, CDNs get their hosting cheaper than you do because of massive economies of scale, and it’s possible you’ll save enough on bandwidth costs to justify the switch; once you factor in the other savings — equipment, salaried hours spent maintaining that equipment, and so on — using a CDN is almost certainly a savings for anyone serving up websites with a lot of images or other rich media.
Summary: Why use CDN?
Content Delivery Network makes your website go faster from any location on earth by offloading by caching content from your network therefore the availability is increase and reduces the number of requests that go directly to your web server, which means you can save computing time for other things.
Also, To some degree can protect you from Denial Of Service Attack. So, Why not give it a go?