In today’s world where everything must be fast or just not exist, time is the last thing that anyone has to spare. This holds true even more in the world of business. Where even a few seconds could mean the loss of a customer. Especially when it comes to services on the internet and latency, customers expect speed and efficiency at its best. It’s all about giving people access to content that they want, at the time that they want to read or see it. This becomes especially difficult given the fact that you are trying to reach customers across the globe, providing them with the same level and quality of service.
In a common scenario, The content you want to provide to the people visiting your site is hosted on your server. If your site visitor is located in a region close to your server, the site will load quickly providing content rapidly, delivering a favorable user experience. If the user is at a far off location, he will face latency depending upon the geographic distance. This being the case, CDN becomes a valuable resource to invest in.
.CDN(Content Delivery Network) is basically a network of servers, including one origin server and multiple edge servers. Your content is hosted on the origin server and copies of this content are available on the edge servers placed in strategic geographic positions, all over the world. So when a visitor requests content, he is directed to the edge server closest to him, ensuring considerably reduced latency and a much better user experience.
The working of a CDN is simply explained. When a user searches for content, the browser makes a DNS (Domain Name Server) request, providing a domain name to the DNS server, and expects an IP address in return. Using this IP address, the browser can now make a direct request to the Web Server. This process changes slightly in case of CDN. When the DNS server receives a domain name, requesting an IP address, a url saved along with the domain name, i.e the url of the CDN is found. The CDN then checks the closest edge location to the user and routes it. This way the content is delivered faster as the delivery node has a cached version of the data and does not need to render it from the main server. This improves User Experience.
5 reasons why to invest in a CDN:
1) CDN allows you to maximize speed and reliability. When a browser requests for an IP address, it is directed to the edge server geographically closest to it. The content requested thus has to travel by the shortest route possible to reach its destination, reducing time taken to load. This ensures that the user is not kept waiting and can view much more of your content, making for a better user experience. Every time the edge server is requested for content, it makes sure that the content is the latest version available. If the content has expired, or a different combination of content is requested, the edge server requests it from the origin server and then replies to the user’s browser request, always delivering reliable content.
2) Lower cost of Delivery. The edge locations help to reduce the load on your server. This means that you do not need such an expensive web host as all the downloading will be done from the edge server. Most CDNs use cloud, so resource allocation is optimal and since you only pay for what you use, no unnecessary cost is incurred.
3) Your Site will load faster and perform better. Content is requested from the closest edge server and so the site loads quickly. This enhances user experience and a larger number of people are able to access your content. This in turn gets you better ranking by search engines, helping you reach out to more people.
4) Higher Capacity and Availability. Well distributed servers increase the capacity and reliability of the network, while supporting multiple concurrent access. CDN dynamically reallocates assets to servers sensing redirection of traffic, ensuring that requests are supplied with the required content smoothly even in case of increased traffic.
5) Allows Better Analytics. CDN gives accurate information about capacity per customer, accurate views of real time load and statistics, shows active regions, etc. and generates reports. A CDN enables better content delivery and user experience and helps to maximize Return on Investment(ROI).
Amazon CLoudFront is the CDN provided by Amazon Web Services(AWS), considered among the best CDN providers. It allows delivery of an entire website, all its static and streaming content. Amazon CloudFront works in tandem with other Amazon Web Services, but can also work seamlessly with any non-AWS origin servers. Using Amazon CloudFront does not require any contracts or monthly payments. You can pay as you go, depending upon the amount of content you use Amazon CloudFront to deliver.
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Credits for Images:
Content Distrbution – Zycon.comWorking of Content Distribution Network – excitingip.com