Content Delivery Network: Why Use It?

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You may be one of those individuals who can’t let a day pass without interacting with numerous applications and websites. Do you know that many of these sites and apps are in one physical location only? However, if you’re accessing content from software or website from across the globe, your data needs to traverse wires from everywhere.

For instance, you’re in a city in Asia. If the app server is in the USA, you’ll discover that the content takes a longer time to reach you than those individuals in California. If you’re farther away from the data center, you’ll experience slower load times. It can be a frustrating and inconsistent experience.

Generally, mobile and web users can’t tolerate lag times because they want digital experiences in real-time.
LoadStorm released a report that includes the following:

  • 25% of users won’t wait for more than four seconds for a website to load
  • 74% of users won’t wait for more than five seconds to load a mobile site
  • 46% of users will find other websites if they discover a site has unsatisfactory performance
  • Content delivery network (CDN) can fix these issues.

What is a CDN?

A content delivery network is simply a delivery method for content from your mobile app or website to the visitors efficiently and quickly, depending on their geographical location. It has a network of servers in various places around the world.

An edge server is the closest to the user. If you want to request content from a website in a content delivery network, you connect to an edge server nearest you to ensure that you gain a superior online experience.

If you have content, you can have a content delivery network to deliver it from an edge server to your user quickly. If a person wants to access content from your mobile app or website, he can request it from a nearby server. Data doesn’t need to travel from your origin server to his geographical location.

A CDN can also update your content continuously, so users access the most relevant and current data. Content invalidation is the process of purging your content as often as necessary so that you can update it when needed.

Benefits of a Content Delivery Network

  • A content delivery network has numerous benefits for your website. Here are some of them:
  • Speedy load times for mobile and web users
  • Prompt scalability during heavy traffic
  • Secured site stability by reducing risk of traffic spikes at the origin server
  • Reduced infrastructure costs because of traffic offloading
  • Enhanced site performance

Difference between conventional and modern CDNs

The late 1990s ushered in the CDNs; however, the traditional ones have lagged in technology and hardware advancements. Thus, they can’t offer similar benefits to their modern counterparts. Legacy content delivery networks don’t use agile software environments that allow companies to iterate constantly, improve their product, and incorporate customer feedback. The traditional CDNs haven’t experienced much change for at least five years already.

Purging dynamic and static content

Conventional CDNs cache static content only because they can’t update based on the user’s input. For example, static content comprises of Javascript, CSS, videos, and images. Dynamic content, however, includes content requiring server logic such as filling up a shopping cart or transacting using a credit card. It isn’t possible to cache these transactions because they need to pass through the origin server because of sensitive data.

Some dynamic content can be cached, especially if the content doesn’t have personal data. However, such type of content is still frequently changing and unpredictable. It is event-driven based on an action by a machine or human. Examples of this content include user-generated comments, news headlines, sports scores, or stock prices. For many CDNs, this type of transaction is “uncacheable;” however, it is possible to cache these transactions.

The edge server

Classic CDNs offer limited edge because they depend on spinning hard disks. They prioritize caching of content at this type of server. The consequence in prearranging content is that smaller websites may not have comparable priority as the more substantial sites. On the other hand, modern CDNs use solid-state drives (SSDs) and don’t need to prioritize caching. Everyone benefits equally.

Reverse proxying

Another advantage of state-of-the-art CDNs is reverse proxying. Customers of traditional CDNs need to upload content initially to the cache servers. On the other hand, with modern CDNs, they only need to upload it at the origin server. No frontloading of content at the cache servers occur in contemporary CDNs. Dynamic content at traditional CDNs resides in the origin content. As such, users can experience slow loading because of traffic spikes.

Who benefits from CDNs?

Individuals and institutions with mobile application or website with various users who access it simultaneously must take advantage of a content delivery network. However, CDNs are primarily useful to websites and software with comprehensive dynamic content accessed by worldwide users.

Moreover, content delivery networks have specific advantages to numerous types of organizations and businesses.


A CDN site can deliver content efficiently and quickly even during heavy traffic like holidays and Black Friday shopping.


Government websites that provide numerous contents can offer vital information efficiently and quickly through a content delivery network.


Banking institutions can use content delivery networks for reliable, secure, and fast distribution of sensitive data to analysts and consumers.

Media and Publishing

Media websites must deliver updated information promptly. A content delivery network can help them update their news and headlines homepages in real-time. Moreover, it deletes outdated data.

Mobile applications

Mobile apps that have dynamic content can use CDNs to increase responsiveness and reduce load times.

SaaS and Technology

Users often access daily content from technology websites anywhere in the world. If these sites use content delivery networks, they gain excellent experience.

A content delivery network or CDN is an essential service to mobile app developers and website owners. It enhances the user experience even though they provide overflowing information. If you have a mobile software or website with thousands of global users, you can harness its power.


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