What Is a CDN?

Written by Web Hosting Expert

February 28, 2022
What Is a CDN?

CDN is a network that is widely used in the online world. Out of the top one million websites, over 40% of them use a CDN. It rose in popularity in 2019 and 2020, and the majority of businesses and websites stuck with it. The United States has the most registered websites that use a CDN, with over more than 12 million websites using a CDN. Today's article will cover what a CDN is, how a CDN works, many more other topics.

What Is a CDN?

A CDN is a content delivery network that includes a geographically distributed group of proxy servers and their data centers that have the goal to provide fast content delivery over the Internet. A CDN is responsible for quickly transferring needed resources for the faster loading of Internet content. Some of those resources include HTML pages, javascript files, images, videos, etc. Some CDN services include video streaming, software downloads, web, and mobile content acceleration, licensed/managed CDN, transparent caching, and services to assess CDN performance, load balancing, Multi CDN switching, analytics, cloud intelligence, etc.

How Does a CDN Work?

A CDN improves the loading speed of Internet content and connectivity by placing servers at the exchange points between different networks. The IXPs or Internet exchange points are where Internet providers connect and allow access to each other to the traffic on their different networks. By connecting to these high-speed and highly interconnected locations, a CDN provider can reduce costs and transit times in high-speed data transmission.

There are other optimizations that CDN providers use to achieve their goal, like placing data centers globally at strategic locations, providing enhanced security, etc.

CDN Caching

Caching is at the core of a CDN service, and it works similarly to browser caching. So, CDN caching redirects your website's content to powerful proxy servers that are optimized for faster content delivery. CDN caching works by selectively storing website files on a CDN's cache proxy servers, where visitors browsing from a nearby area can swiftly access them.

So, CDN caching helps you cut down on bandwidth costs, improve the user experience, secure the reliable delivery of content, etc.

CDN vs. Hosting: What Is the Difference?

Today's websites are very different from the ones in the past and need more advanced and modern solutions, something that goes beyond what traditional hosting offers. To bridge the gap between modern needs and traditional web hosting, we have CDNs. It is essential to know. However, CDNs do not replace traditional hosting. Rather they enhance them and offer superior performance to the users.

All of the content of your website is in the hands of the hosting provider you chose. The way using a CDN enhances this is with CDN caching. With CDN caching, you get a multitude of additional servers located worldwide and containing saved versions or copies of the website's multimedia. Having saved versions of your multimedia worldwide means that your content is present in a location closer to the customer that will see your content. Furthermore, this means that the CDN provider can deliver the content quicker to the end user compared to the traditional hosting server. With traditional hosting, your website is hosted on one server, i.e., in one location, and all multimedia is distributed from that one server. Also, due to the popularity of CDN, it is easily integrated with most hosting providers like WordPress, and the WordPress CDN installation is quick and simple.

Additionally, we at Verpex provide integration with CDN. Verpex does this integration via Cloudflare under our cPanel licenses. We enable our users to use the Cloudflare add-on to connect Cloudflare to your cPanel.

Advantages of a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

  • Improving the loading times – CDN improves the loading times of a website because it can distribute content from a closer location to one of the visitors. CDN providers use servers and other optimizations to provide faster loading websites, which increases the likelihood of the visitor staying on the site longer, which is the goal of every website. A CDN can also reduce bounce rates, further increasing visitors' time on a website.
  • Decreasing bandwidth and hosting costs - The cost of bandwidth use for website hosting is a significant expense for businesses. CDNs can reduce the quantity of data an origin server must offer through caching and other optimizations, lowering hosting costs for website owners.
  • Better content availability and redundancy – CDN helps websites to handle more significant amounts of traffic and manage hardware issues better than many other servers. So, many big websites go for CDN because they experience significant traffic every day, and the CDN helps them avoid website interruptions and other such issues.
  • Superior security - Hackers use infected computers to overwhelm a website with fake traffic and media requests, causing it to slow down or crash. That is called a DDoS attack, and it's becoming more common among small businesses, which are less well-protected than significant corporations. CDNs help with protecting against DDoS attacks because they vastly improve the ability of your website to handle more traffic. Also, top-rated CDNs include a Web Application Firewall (WAF), which prevents suspicious traffic and DDoS attacks from ever reaching your web server.
  • Enhanced SEO – Most search engines like Google tend to rank slow websites lower compared to faster ones. So, having a CDN improves your website's ranking automatically and gives you an SEO boost. And seeing as SEO integration is highly important for all websites, regardless of size, a CDN only enhances your website's online presence.

CDN Security

CDN puts a big emphasis on security and data protection. CDN security provides users with TLS/SSL certificates which come with high-level authentication, encryption, and integrity. Also, CDNs provide more secure content delivery, which enhances the overall visitor experience on your website. Additionally, CDN security includes DDoS migration and other optimizations.

Encryption protocols make sure that the data is secure while it's being transferred from one computer to another. Another security feature that comes with CDN is password restrictions, which enables users to have authorized access to their accounts and other files.

Image CDN

Image CDNs refer to the transformation, configuration, optimization, and delivery of images. Image CDNs compress the image file size significantly. Image CDNs can be viewed as APIs used for modifying and optimizing the images you use on your website. An image URL that is loaded from an image CDN specifies not just the image to load from an image CDN but also attributes such as size, format, and quality. This makes it simple to produce image versions for various purposes.

In contrast to build-time image optimization scripts, image CDNs create new versions of images as needed. As a result, CDNs are more suited than build scripts for creating substantially modified images for each unique client.

Best CDN Providers

The CDN market is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 28% between 2020 and 2025. So, the fact that there are so many CDN providers available is no surprise, as the market is a large one that will continue to grow. Some of the top CDN providers of today are:

  • Cloudflare – one of the most popular CDN providers, used by more than seven million active websites. It is used by bloggers, small businesses, and professionals. Cloudflare has more than 180 data centers worldwide.
  • StackPath – a top-rated CDN provider that has multiple data centers globally. It offers users a private EdgeSSL certificate for free and is quite simple to set up. More than 170 thousand websites use StackPath, with US websites being the most numerous.
  • Sucuri – a security company that is also a CDN provider. It is known for its superior security features that protect against DDoS attacks, malware, and hackers. It also uses the latest hardware and software to boost your site's speed.
  • KeyCDN – offers users a pay-as-you-go method, meaning you only pay for the resources you use. KeyCDN offers users features like Gzip compression, real-time reports, instant purge options, two-factor authentication, DDoS protection, etc. More than eight thousand websites use KeyCDN.
  • Rackspace – a quality managed and dedicated cloud computing service provider that also offers a CDN. It helps boost the performance of eCommerce websites, web apps, etc. It also uses a pay-as-you-go pricing method. Out of all the websites that use Rackspace, more than 400 thousand are registered in the US.
  • Google Cloud CDN – an affordable CDN that operates on the network of Google. They have data centers in over 90 worldwide locations. It integrates smoothly with the Google Cloud Platform and offers users a free SSL certificate.


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Final Words

CDN is an ever-growing solution that many large and small companies use. CDN security is top-notch and is superior compared to traditional hosting. Also, it is a significant improvement to traditional hosting, but it is not a replacement for it, rather an addition. It helps to improve the performance, loading times, security, and overall content delivery of a website. So, it goes without saying that you still do need a traditional web hosting provider. However, the addition of a CDN will only enhance and boost your website's performance, the user experience for the customers, security, and much more! Also, CDN reduces the hosting costs you will incur, as it decreases the bandwidth that your website will use. So, it is definitely worth investing and getting a CDN.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I produce high-quality content for my blog?

To create amazing content for your fitness blog, you will need to do proper research and take your time. Write fewer posts, but make sure that the ones you’ve written stand out.

Am I going to be able to host high traffic websites with self-hosting?

No, your home computer will not be able to handle a website with a lot of traffic.

Is web hosting free?

There are some web hosting providers that will host your site free of charge. However, there’s a catch to this type of arrangement. There are many limitations to free web hosting. The shared resources mean that the server won’t have enough power to keep everything running smoothly, and it isn’t reliable enough.

What is web hosting bandwidth?

Bandwidth means the data amount that can be transferred from the webserver at any given point in time.

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