what is cdn
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CDN, stands for “Content Delivery Network”, refers to a group of servers capable of working together. These servers are distributed geographically to be able to deliver the content faster online around the world. A CDN doesn’t host the content, instead, it helps cache content at the network edge, improving the website performance in the different regions.

CDNs not only help websites to reduce loading times but also reduces hosting bandwidth. It also protects websites against common attacks, such as distributed denial of service attacks. It was invented to eliminate the network congestion caused by rich web content. Instead of transferring the content from the main server to individual users, CDN brings the content closer to the users around the globe.

How does a CDN work?

The main purpose of a CDN is to reduce latency, which is the delay users experience while trying to access online content. Some CDNs reduce the physical distance that the data travels before reaching the user. However, most popular CDNs deliver the content more quickly and reliably as close to the user as possible. CDNs are capable of finding the ideal server on their network, which is usually it is the closest to the user’s physical location. The content is cached and remains on the server for other users in the same region. Thus, all users can get the same content from the CDN’s server, instead of getting the data from the server where it is hosted originally. If the content requested is now available in the CDN’s server, it automatically fetches and stores it for future requests.

Why is CDN used?

There are various benefits of CDNs services that are crucial for websites. Most importantly, by distributing content to regions closer to users, a CDN drastically reduces the website load times. Since page performance affects its SEO results, it also affects the website’s success. A CDN also allows the website owner to reduce the website’s bandwidth costs by using caching and other optimizations. It increases content availability and redundancy. Since it handles more traffic and withstands failure better than origin servers, it helps websites avoid unwanted interruptions. Finally, CDNs also improve the website’s security with their DDoS mitigation features.

Is there a free CDN?

There are various free CDN services that can help website owners to improve their website’s performance. However, most of these free services are lacking some important features. Thus, depending on the website’s size and field, you can consider switching to a paid plan. Some of the most popular free CDN services are:

  • G-Core Labs
  • Cloudflare
  • Fastly
  • Photon by Jetpack
  • Swarmify
  • AWS Cloudfront
  • Google Cloud CDN
  • Microsoft Azure CDN
  • W3 Total Cache
  • LiteSpeed Cache

Who uses CDN?

CDN services can be beneficial for any website owner. Since CDNs’ benefits are crucial for most websites, even small websites can use free CDN solutions to protect themselves from DDoS attacks or reduce bandwidth costs. If the website has visitors from all over the world and SEO is very important for the website’s success, then you can consider switching to a paid plan. By increasing the website’s page loading speed, a website can improve its SEO results and reduce bounce rate. Also if the content of the website can be considered rich web content, such as high-quality graphics or videos, CDN can be very beneficial for the website’s performance. CDN usage is very popular among these sectors:

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

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