Digital Content Delivery With and Without a CDN
In the era of digital content, CDNs are essential. A CDN works through a network of servers which are strategically located in various areas, with the purpose of reducing the physical distance between content and its users. Through these servers and a number of features — content caching, cache control, load balancing, file compression, data protection, etc. — a CDN helps content providers improve their content performance and provide better user experience. However, do CDNs really make a difference?
Let’s see what actually happens when a content provider operates without and with the support of a CDN.
Without a CDN
Digital content providers serve large market areas — not only regionally but also globally. Unfortunately, the wider the market reach, the larger the challenges. Quality of experience declines with the distance the content must travel, so if their users are located far from the content’s origin servers, they may experience lag, slower loading time, and bad quality content due to high latency. Even if the distances are moderate, network conditions can cause great damage. These issues with latency may lead to poor user experience, traffic drops, and poor SEO rankings.
Without a CDN, content origin servers are also prone to overload during traffic spikes. Without the help of CDN servers, origin servers must respond to every single end user request, so whenever the traffic spikes and the load is high, the chances for server failure increase. In addition, the issues with overload may cause an increase in bandwidth usage leading to bigger cost.
With a CDN
CDN servers are geographically dispersed — closer to users than the content’s origin server — and have a content caching feature. Each server stores a cached version of a content and is responsible for delivering that content to users within the area. This way, a CDN eliminates the distance between content and users and overcomes the latency issues, improving content delivery time and performance. A CDN also ensures all users get the same experience and quality of content regardless of where they are located. Besides improving user experience, better loading speed also improves SEO rankings and increases traffic.
In the case of traffic spikes, a CDN’s load balancing feature allows visitors to access content from every server in the network. Even when the closest server fails, they will be routed to the next closest, preventing any overloading. Moreover, a CDN enables fewer data transfers from the origin server and reduces a company’s bandwidth consumption and costs.
That is why, various organizations that utilize content can benefit from using a CDN. However, most CDNs, including neuCentrIX CDN, are especially targeted for organizations that operate heavily around content delivery, so CDN services are generally divided into two categories.
CDN as Traffic
A CDN as traffic mostly benefits Internet Service Providers. By being connected to a CDN service, an ISP will be able to get better access to content from the content providers.
CDN as a Service
A CDN as a service empowers content providers, such as user generated content platforms (Instagram, TikTok, etc.), OTT content providers (Netflix, etc.), and ecommerce platforms (Tokopedia, Shopee, etc.). These platforms handle high-quality content of various formats which can be challenging to deliver due to their file size, and a CDN overcomes the latency and scalability issues. CDN as a service offers three main features.
This feature helps platforms improve their performance through proxy servers which reduce access time to a website, filters which leave out undesirable aspects such as ads, the ability to cache content, and custom cache policies.
This feature applies to platforms that provide download services. It has the capacity to solve 3 of the biggest and most common problems for file download: low speed, broken downloads, and downloaded file management.
This feature is for platforms that provide on-demand video/audio services such as online education websites, online video sharing websites, and internet VoD platforms.
All in all, evidently, it is more beneficial for content providers to operate with a CDN rather than without. Through all the capabilities and extensive features, a CDN empowers various types of content providers to deliver high-quality content to their users with excellent performance.