A content delivery network (commonly known as CDN) is, in its most basic terms, a network of computers that holds copies of data. This results in faster access to data in most cases. For example, if you load a website, data held by the CDN hosting provider may be directed to you via the closest server to your location.
These speeds are achieved by having multiple copies of the data across the network of computers, ready to be accessed according to the user’s geographical location. A large CDN might have thousands of computers in its network, this is usually the case with larger companies that have to deal with spikes and surges in web traffic.
Users that like to stream videos are an example of people that see great benefits from a content delivery network. With a standard server, people closest to the actual location may be the only users to get the full speeds available to them. With CDN, the data they want to access is duplicated over multiple locations, making it far quicker to browse the internet for example.
Why do so many companies opt for CDN hosting?
The Internet has become an integral part of daily life for almost everybody. As time goes on, people want to consume more, and consume it quicker. People expect to be able to access information instantly and the presence of a CDN allows this by maximising the bandwidth available to users. Large companies will also have access to state of the art datacentres, further maximising the performance and security of their CDN servers; this passes on even more benefits to the end user. If a company has a website with a lot of content, for example RSS feeds, videos, images and text, then they may use CDN hosting to ensure that spikes in usage are catered for. This is particularly important for sites that provide time sensitive information like breaking news for example.
The basic benefits for the end user are obvious – as a consumer you want to gain internet access as quick as possible and with CDN this entirely possible regardless of your location. No more waiting for that video stream to buffer!
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