We are in a digital era where the market has become globalized, and companies offer their products and services anywhere in the world. Getting a website to work optimally regardless of the place from which it is accessed is possible thanks to content delivery networks.
CDNs have become the best alternative to offer a quality service to the user, with agile and secure access to the web content provided by a company, either through its website or e-commerce.
Next, we will see what CDN is, how it works, and why it is essential to use it in a web project.
What is CDN
A content delivery network or CDN (Content Delivery Network) consists of a set of interconnected and distributed in different geographical areas to provide cached Internet content from the location closest to the user.
Using a CDN increases the performance of a web page by reducing the transfer time of its content. This type of distribution network also considerably reduces latency, a fundamental factor for carrying out processes over the Internet such as real-time video conferencing or streaming.
If a Content Delivery Network is not used, the data path when a user from a distant location to the web server makes an access request is much longer, making the content loading time much longer and affecting the performance and fluidity of the website.
How a CDN works
The process that a CDN follows is simple. When the user accesses the content of a web page, the CDN software dynamically selects the server that is closest to their location and sends their access request. Before delivering the requested content to the user, the destination server checks that there are no modifications to the content it caches concerning the original server to ensure that the final delivery to the user is up to date.
If you need help connecting a CDN, you can find cloud engineers who can promptly help with this issue.
This process eliminates the distance the data travels to the user’s location by delivering it from the closest possible server.
CDN providers also rely on load balancing systems, high-speed solid-state storage drives, and intelligent data compression to help get data to the end-user even faster.
Types of CDNs
Two types of CDNs can be used on a website:
- Reverse proxy CDN. In this type of CDN, one to several servers are configured to act as if they were the original server, protecting it from external attacks and speeding up delivering content to the user.
- Subdomain CDN. With this type of CDN, an almost 100% availability is pursued using a Host Anycast (solution to raise backup servers instantly if any server with a copy of the content goes down).
Advantages of a CDN
Using a Content Delivery Network service for a web page or virtual store provides numerous benefits, among which we can highlight:
Improved load times
The end-user always connects to the server closest to their location, significantly reducing load time and latency. It is ideal for reducing the bounce rate or the number of users who abandon a website before interacting, mainly because it takes too long to load. Not only because users connect to the geographically (or in terms of network proximity) closest server, but also because the origin server is offloaded by the use of CDN both for web requests and, for example, because the CDN often also acts as SSL termination.
Increased security level
With a CDN, web security is raised to a new level, with systems for mitigating denial of service attacks (DDoS), WAF protection (against fake sites and XSS scripts), or bot mitigation.
CDNs can support large amounts of web traffic, use distributed servers, and have systems to prevent server failures from affecting the delivery of content to the user.
With a CDN, the availability of a website is almost 100%, ensuring that users can always access the content regardless of their location or access time.
Web content optimization
The website is cached on different servers for fast delivery to the end-user. In addition, a combination of services is used to optimize web content and ensure fast and secure delivery (load distribution, minification of certain content, recompression of other content, etc.).
Facilitates the internationalization of the company
For businesses that want to take the leap and start doing business beyond their borders, CDNs allow them to offer their digital services with the same performance and speed as their local or national customers.
By speeding up page loading and improving response times, the user experience for customers in other countries will be optimal.
We have seen the definition of CDN, its types, and its advantages. By using a CDN, you get a lower load time, higher availability, and a high level of web security.