What is a Content Delivery Network?

(Last Updated On: September 30, 2018)

Content Delivery Network!  how does it work?


                                    Whether we are aware of this fact or not, but each of us communicates with content delivery network every day. While we are surfing an article on a website or watching YouTube videos, Online movies, online shopping, each of this made us interact directly or indirectly with the content delivery network.

It does not matter what you do, the chances are that you will find a content delivery network behind every single content you consume from the internet. It is the backbone of the internet. The content delivery network delivers contents to the user using caching services.


content delivery network



What is Content Delivery Network?

A content delivery network (CDN) is a huge collection of high powered servers that are globally distributed or I should say a collection of servers which work together to provide fast delivery of content through the Internet. A CDN can improve the performance, security, and reliability of a website while maintaining a good user experience by reducing latency.

One thing you need to understand clearly, a content delivery network does not host a website in its server, but rather it caches the whole content from the original web server and provides fast delivery of that content to the users by reducing latency.



Why does CDN exist?

Now when you know a little bit about the content delivery network, now you might be wondering that why does it even exist? What makes them create this concept? etc.

So let me just tell you something, before understanding about Content Delivery Network you need to know what were the issues they have to face before thinking about something so enormous as a CDN concept.

The main reason behind it is “LATENCY“. Are you familiar with this term? don’t I am going to cover everything in this article.

Just think how many time did you press the back button while surfing the internet and opening a website content? We just hate waiting, so if a website is taking longer to load properly then the chances are we are going to switch to other pages by pressing the back button.

This is the worst thing that can happen to a website and this is what we call Latency. There might be several reasons behind it but one of the important reason is caching issue, which made this thing to happen the most.

So the general theory is that if you want to provide a good user experience then your website must be loaded under 3-4 seconds, and using a Content Delivery Network really help on that note. Studies have shown that just a second-long of delay causes a whopping 7% drop in conversions, So every second count.


content delivery network


All the Content Delivery Network companies have globally situated data centers. Within these data-centers, there are thousands of servers that help to accelerate the speed of the content is delivered to the end user.



Evolution of Content Delivery network

Over the time CDN has evolved a long way after it has started in the year 1997. We can segment it in three generations depending on its content serving capacity, caching method, pricing, etc.


  • Static CDN  (1st Gen)
  • Dynamic CDN  (2nd Gen)
  • Multi-Purpose CDN (3rd Gen)


Static Content Delivery Network

The first generation of CDN is called as Static CDN has a time period of 1997 – 2001. This type of  CDN can serve Static HTML and downloadable files over the internet to the user while using the ” Origin push” caching method.

It had minimal performance compared to what we use today and the pricing was also very high. Only from the Corporate sector customers can afford this type of CDN. But you must consider the fact it was just the beginning of an era.


Dynamic Content Delivery Network


This type of  CDN is considered to be the second generation Content Delivery Network. Dynamic CDN mainly used between the time period of 2001 – 2010. This type of  CDN could serve Static and dynamic content, including rich media over the internet to the user while using the ” Origin pull” caching method.

With high Performance and availability and with moderate pricing, Dynamic CDN becomes very popular day by day. People from small to medium business could afford this type of CDN and get all the benefits from it.


 Multi-Purpose Content Delivery Network

The most popular among all the CDNs is this one called as the third generation Content Delivery Network. It has been running from 2010 – present has improved a lot over the time.

It can serve Static and dynamic content, including mobile and rich media with caching service most are “origin pull“. While using highly consolidated network topology it has made remarkable improvements in security, performance, and availability.

And most importantly this type of CDN is affordable for all as it has a price range which is most affordable for all type of businessmen as well as an individual.



Companies that provide Content Delivery Network service

There are several companies that provide Content Delivery Networks services, So I am going to mention some of the most popular companies below.


  • Akamai
  • MaxCDN
  • Incapsula
  • Rackspace
  • Cloudflare
  • Amazon’s AWS
  • Verizon
  • Limelight
  • Highwinds
  • Internap
  • aiScaler


Benefits of using a CDN?

There are a quite a few numbers of benefits when you consider using a content delivery network for a website, some of them are listed below.


  • Improving website load times
  • Reducing bandwidth costs
  • Increasing content availability
  • Increasing content redundancy
  • Improving website security




So, guys, Although this a basic overview about a CDN. But I have tried my best to simplify things about Content Delivery Network so that you can have a better understanding and user experience. Now it’s your turn to pay me back.

Now I am expecting your responses. If you like this content or even dislike,  just leave a comment. Your responses will motivate me to do better and deliver better. I will try my best to enrich my skill.

So thank you guys, Have a good day.

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