CDN stands for Content Delivery Network and is a means of distribution on the Internet platform. This is the best technology when it comes to providing information to users in the fastest and most efficient way. In this set up, the client and server systems are distributed across the globe, which helps in improving the reliability and performance of many applications on the net.
Let’s take an example of a website that has content at only 1 location in the USA. If a user sitting in Australia wants to access the site, it will take more time to load considering the distance between the networks in Australia and USA. Now, if the website has deliverable content hosted in multiple locations including Australia, it will take only fractions of seconds to load the website. This is done by a CDN service.
How does it work?
A CDN provider has its own servers installed at multiple geographic locations across the net. These locations are called PoP (Points of Presence). Now, various servers across the world synchronize the copies of their content with CDN servers through replication. In other words, a CDN server acts as a data cache server. And this is done so that the distance between the visitor and the website’s server is reduced.
For a host, CDN replicates the content of your website at multiple locations across the internet. This helps in reaching out to multiple users quickly. In the above-mentioned example, an Australian user will access American website through a local Australian PoP.
For a user, the data will load from the PoP that is nearest to him. This can be his own geographic location, or any other location that is closer. And thus, data is transmitted to users very quickly. This is much better than the request and response traveling long distances.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Like any other technology, even CDN also has its share of pros and cons. If we talk about pros, CDN is beneficial for all the stakeholders, that is, the content providers and clients. The load on the internet decreases, and hence efficiency increases. The host’s quality of service gets improved when content is delivered quickly. Customer Satisfaction increases proportionally. People enjoy faster downloads for CDN enabled content like videos and images.
Coming to the cons, the cost of hosting increases. As the volume of website increases, CDN providers start charging more, leading to an increase in overall cost. If you are using CDN, you tend to start relying on the third parties more for your business. Another direct impact can happen if there are issues in the infrastructure of CDN provider. People may suffer network timeouts or unnecessary video buffering due to technical issues.