What Is a Content Delivery Network? Find Out the Benefits and Risks of CDNs
A content delivery network is a network of servers around the world that supercharges website load speeds as it reduces the distance between the internet users and the website servers. You can choose to use CDN or a traditional web hosting service and each of them has its advantages and disadvantages.
Since websites have evolved and are more interactive and immersive, they are faced with slower download speeds while targeting global audiences. With CDNs, assets like HTML pages, videos, images, videos, and interactive elements on a website are transmitted to users in every location around the world at a faster speed than a stand-alone server would.
Popular websites that have a large number of users like Netflix, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook depend on the speed that CDN provides to improve user experience. Without CDN, web users and visitors to those sites would all have to connect to a central server whose location may be miles away from the user. Such distance causes insignificant spikes in traffic, server downtime, and slower load speeds.
CDNs first emerged about 20 years ago with Akamai in the lead. After that, there have been competition from other companies like Telstra, AT&T, and Deutsche Telekom. Today, most internet traffic is from CDNs and it is increasing as there is an increase in the number of cloud computing apps, web streaming services, remote access tools, and others like this.
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How Content Delivery Network Works
Just as the name implies, a CDN is made up of a network of servers that are interconnected and work to the same end; content delivery. The deliverables include software downloads, OS updates, cloud-based services, 4K video streaming, and data records. It does this quickly, efficiently, cheaply, and with security. With the network of servers working together, CDN reduces the time it takes for your device to load a web page.
With CDN, cached versions of a website would be stored in servers around the world. The servers are also known as Points of Presence and the server closest to the user is that which handles the requests. This proximity reduces the cost and time it would take to transmit data compared to a central server which may be far away from the user. The second person to load a page is the one who enjoys the speed of CDN as the cached version of the page would have been saved by now.
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Benefits of Using CDN
The performance of a website has a direct effect on the way a user rates the brand, the sales the website makes, user engagement, and also user experience. Once a person opens your site, their impression of the site makes up their mind on whether they should proceed or leave as a crappy site could be seen as a sign of incompetence. It takes only about 50 milliseconds for a user to make up his mind about your site so if your site loads slowly, expect a negative impression on the minds of your potential customers.
CDNs provide other benefits which include:
1 . It reduces the cost of bandwidth. As they are programmed to optimize the amount of data that would pass through the server, they reduce the cost of hosting. This is possible by caching large amounts of the data and it’s useful especially for large internet companies and content providers that have to process large amounts of data daily (in terabytes).
2. CDNs improve website uptime. Without it, the website administrator would depend on a sprinkling of in-house servers to meet the needs of users across the globe. This puts them all at risk of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. But with the spread of server load through the use of multiple servers, hardware failure wouldn’t cause as much harm and cyberattacks would be more effectively avoided.
3. By using CDN, website security and authentication would be better maintained as the CDN servers issue new TLS/SSL certificates for continued high encryption standards.
CDN and Associated Security Risks
The benefits of using CDNs are obvious and very vital to the growth of your business. It boosts page loading time and makes your overall internet experience better. As perfect as this may seem, the centralized system makes security breaches more devastating if and when they occur. If all CDN servers go offline due to a cyberattack, it would affect all internet traffic that goes through the content delivery network.
Even though CND isn’t perfect, it is still a highly recommended tool for online businesses. Internet user experience can be likened to the ease at which a customer who walks into your shop can move from point to another without having to go through stress. If your web pages load slowly and visitors find it difficult to access the pages they want, they may just leave.
Before choosing a CDN provider, confirm its security credentials to be sure of your safety.
Online retail stores need to have a lot on the ground to ensure smooth operation and customer satisfaction. Over time, the content delivery network has been used to provide improved user experience as the spread of servers across the globe leads to faster loading time. This is in contrast to the loading time of the traditional centralized server that may be far away from your location, leading to slower loading time. Even though CDNs are fast, they have some security risks attached to them thus no one is truly safe in the event of a cyberattack.
You can stay protected despite whatever happens by connecting to a VPN before sending requests and going online. LimeVPN provides you with great security by the AES 256-bit encryption, and it also keeps you anonymous so we highly recommend this service if you want to protect your data while you are online.