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There are almost no businesses today that can grow without the internet, and the internet entirely depends upon both static and dynamic content. Whether it’s online retailers offering their products, or media and publishing companies offering the latest news or live videos, content makes the internet go around. Have you ever wondered how you are actually able to receive this information from your servers and send to the end user in just one click? The answer is usually a content delivery network (CDN) or CDN provider.
A content delivery network solution refers to globally distributed servers working together to ensure quick and seamless delivery of any kind of content over the internet with minimal delay. A CDN makes all this possible while bringing content closer to where users are through Points of Presence (PoPs) or strategically located data centers. It also includes caching servers which aim at accelerating webpage loading times and performance. Businesses rely on many different CDN services such as request routing, web caching, and server load balancing.
For example, some large video streaming companies utilize the network to deliver all the requested content by millions of users in a very short span of time or just a click.
This guide will give you a glimpse of the content delivery network landscape so that you can better understand which choice is right for your organization.
Here’s what we'll cover:
- What is content delivery network software?
- Common features of content delivery network software
- What type of buyer are you?
- Benefits of content delivery network software
- Key considerations
What is content delivery network software?
The software also provides end users with a distributed network of servers to ensure loading times for content and websites remain consistent throughout the world. These solutions can also help to protect websites from some basic malware attacks including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Common features of content delivery network software
Each system offers a unique mix of features. However, there are some common features in all content delivery network software solutions.
|Application programming interface (API)||Allows the integration of the functionality of the platform with back-end services and databases.|
|DDoS protection||Secures websites, applications, and entire networks without compromising legitimate traffic performance.|
|Configuration management||Identify and maintain the components of the system (servers, configuration, or software) with problem configurations and reconfigure them to your desired state.|
|Data encryption||Encrypt your business data so it can be accessed or decrypted only by users that have the encryption key (i.e., a password or passcode).|
|Load balancing||Allows users to evenly distribute the network load (incoming network traffic) across a group of backend servers to improve data utilization, facilitate data scalability, and ensure uninterrupted services.|
What type of buyer are you?
CDN solutions are relevant to those businesses that have a website or mobile application that caters to a wide audience spread across the world with a large amount of dynamic content; in other words, they are especially useful to large businesses with complex websites.
This doesn’t mean that all businesses require the services of a CDN solution at the same level. However, some organizations benefit from more robust features in a particular area:
- Financial institutions: Theft is the biggest threat facing financial institutions. Hackers impersonate customers to access their sensitive data online. These buyers should look for CDN solutions that offer a fast, secure, and reliable infrastructure for storing user-sensitive data.
- Media streaming houses: Leading media houses face an immense challenge producing high quality streaming services. If you want to compete in this space then you need to deliver a great video experience to your users. To address this challenge, media streaming houses should look for CDN solutions that can deliver content in real time to your users without any disruptions.
- Ecommerce: Online retailers offer their products to customers across the world. In return, the global audience requires a high quality website experience in terms of content delivery, site performance, and speed. Online retailers can prevent any issues in these areas by looking for solutions specifically designed to deliver content quickly and efficiently while experiencing heavy website traffic.
Benefits of content delivery network software
Here are the biggest benefits you will see from using content delivery network software in your organization, regardless of your business size or needs:
- Minimizes risk of traffic spikes: There are certain sites and online platforms where user traffic tends to follow seasonal peaks. During such times, the CDN’s widely server-distributed infrastructure scatters the user requests to minimize the load. This helps in preventing failures and poor end user experience.
- Decreases server load: CDN tools receive and distribute the traffic loads to the nearest available servers to maintain consistency geographically. This helps not only minimize page load time but also improves data transmission ensuring quick connections to each visitor visiting the website.
- Reduce bandwidth cost: Websites are primarily charged based on bandwidth consumption. The higher the bandwidth consumption, the higher the bandwidth cost. Businesses can cut down on these expenses with the implementation of CDNs, as they reduce the amount of data an origin server has to offer by data caching.
- Improved SEO: Search engines, such as Google, score websites based on different parameters, including website performance, user experience, and page load time. With the implementation of CDN software, you can directly improve the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking of a website.
Choosing which content delivery tool meets your exact content distribution needs can quickly become overwhelming. To narrow the search list, here are some key factors to keep in mind when you evaluate different products:
- Geographic distribution: It is essential that the software offers enough points of presence (PoPs) or servers dedicated to your resources. If your content is to be delivered globally, then the software that you select should have a good network coverage across the globe.
- Robust customer support: Customer support is important in setting up a CDN, as delivery agents may not be technically sound and require help with questions about the software.
- Performance: Be sure to check the content delivery speed for different types of content, such as static web content, dynamic content, and streaming media content.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.