What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

Published by Vijay Kumar || Listed Under:

All of us enjoy online TV shows and movies provided by Netflix, Amazon prime video, or any other OTT service provider. Also, we enjoy some comedy or gain some knowledge from YouTube, but have you ever given a thought about how this content is made available to us in a short period.

Have you ever thought about how we can upload videos or documents faster, or how we can view check our Facebook feed so quickly sitting at one corner of this world?

It is all possible using a CDN. A CDN is a content delivery network that is a collection of servers used for providing high-speed internet. They automatically reduce the air traffic and control congestion of packets across the web. CDN is also responsible for transferring HTML, JavaScript, CSS files from one server to another server.

A properly configured CDN may also protect your server from Distributed Denial of Server Attacks. So, using a CDN is very much suggested if you are planning to open a web server to provide streaming services to your customers.

So, on this basis, we can say that CDN is responsible for providing faster streaming of services to its users. However, it would be best if you remembered that CDN is not a web hosting site, but it keeps cache required for faster streaming.

Few examples of good CDN providers.

Working of CDN:

Many organizations use CDN's for delivering static, dynamic content across the internet. They used CDN for live stream, secure transactions, online games, etc.

As mentioned above, CDN is a collection of servers, so whenever a user sends any request to a site, the nearest server maintained by CDN responds to the request and provides information to the user. The CDN then stores cache from the site and makes searching easier. Now if any other user makes the same request, then CDN redirects the request from original site's server to its cache server and makes searching and streaming faster to its users.

Now, the user doesn't know when a CDN is accessed as CDN itself uses cache server; the user only knows if he switches to any other site that hasn't been earlier requested to the CDN.

By caching CDN is now safe, secure, and the most trusted way of providing services to the user. It also includes interruption-free services to the user.

CDN also reduces latency, the loading time of sites, reducing bandwidth, and also reduce spammers, attackers, hackers from your website, and even from the user.

Uses of CDN:

  1. Decreases the Loading Time of the Website

As discussed above, CDN decreases the loading time of the website; let's discuss how CDN can do so? We all know that CDN uses cache servers, possibly everywhere nearest to the user. So, whenever a user sends a request, the user is redirected to the nearest CDN cache server, and then the service is provided by the server.

Now, as the cache server is maintained, the web pages take less time to load, and the user can get faster access through websites.

  1. Decreases Bandwidth Costs:

Now, as there is no need for web hosting by using CDN's and based on CDN optimizations, the cost decreases and is reduced by almost half as there is no need for web hosting.

  1. Increases Website Security:

As CDN is a distributed collection of servers, and servers are spread all over the world, attacking these servers becomes very much, and it is almost impossible to attack the servers as even if one server is attacked, other servers are secured and difficult to break through. Thus, any DDoS attack can be prevented.

Data Security by CDN:

DDoS can attack a CDN, the man in the middle attack, data breaching, etc. Thus, CDN provides security by using TLS/SSL certificates in its servers. These security certificates are responsible for giving authenticity, integrity, digital signature, and confidentiality to its servers and also to its users. TLS means Transport Layer Security, which ensures that the data transferred from one source to destination is safe and secure; it is one of the best security protocols available. A TLS protocol provides authentication, encryption, and integrity of data.

SSL is Secure Socket Layer that is the first web encryption protocol that helps in securing web applications.

One way of recognizing a secure website is checking the address of the website if it contains http:// then it is not a secure site, a secure site contains https:// which ensures that the site is SSL protected.

Content Delivery Techniques:

As there are a wide variety of CDN's available many networking techniques are also available, and some of them are discussed here. Let's have a look:

  1. Peer-to-peer CDNs:

In peer-to-peer networks, the content user provides services as well so that the cost for producing and using the content is reduced. Thus, there will be more users on this kind of CDNs that cost less for providing best services. For example, bit torrents that help users to get free services.

  1. Private CDNs:

Now if the content creator is not happy with the type of service provided by other CDNs, he can create one. These are called private CDNs. These private CDNs contains a point of presence that helps in transferring content from one server to other servers. These points of presence serve only the CDN owner as they also act as cache servers that transmit data faster.

Some examples of CDNs are

  1. Telco CDNs:

These are CDNs maintained by Telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Telenor, AT&T, KPN, NTT, Packnet, China Telecom.

  1. Traditional CDNs:

These CDNs are maintained by individual online marketing companies or technical organizations such as Amazon Cloudflare, HP cloud services, Azure CDN, Instart, China cache, Cloudflare.

  1. Free CDNs:

These CDNs are available for free, some of them are JSDelivr, BootstrapCDN, Incapsula.


Thus, it brings me to the completion of the topic, so I hope you understood how the OTT channels are very much successful in providing content seamlessly without any delay in their services. Using CDNs might be very much helpful for you if you are a business, so think wiser and start using CDN.



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