How CDN Has Helped Protect and Secure The Internet

HOW CDN HAS HELPED PROTECT AND SECURE THE INTERNET

Having vulnerable files, plugin, software, or misconfiguration on your server can expose to security risks, which may have financial and reputational losses. Two metrics are therefore key to the world wide web – Performance & Security and implementing the right content delivery network CDN solution has protected and secured millions of websites. It is little wonder that CDNs are now an integral part of the internet, and they keep hosts and users safe and happy. This post chronicles ways in which CDNs protect and secure the users and ultimately, the internet.

What is a CDN

A CDN is a network of servers geographically distributed globally which work collectively to provide quick and efficient delivery of Internet content. A CDN facilitates the immediate transfer of contents needed for loading internet content, including javascript files, HTML pages, stylesheets, videos, and images. The popularity and use of CDN services keep growing, and most of the web traffic is routed through CDNs, including traffic from major sites like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon.

How CDNs protect and secure the internet

CDNs deploy various ways to protect the contents. Many CDNs also double as online security specialists and provide their clients with robust performance and security services. In fact, most of these protections are under the hood that clients don’t even know they are running. Below are some of the way CDNs protect and secure the internet.

CDNs provide Reliability and Redundancy

Uptime is a critical component for people conducting services over the internet. Spikes in traffic and hardware failures as a result of just a boost in popularity or malicious attacks can and have brought down web servers and deny users access to content and service. Top CDNs have several features that will minimize downtimes such as load balancing and intelligent failover. All of these have contributed to the efficacy of the internet, ensuring its continued availability.

CDNs facilitate load balancing

The purpose of a load balancer is to distribute network traffic equally across several servers. A CDN uses load balancing in a data center to distribute incoming requests across the available server pool to ensure that spikes in traffic are handled in the most efficient manner possible. By efficiently using available resources, load balancing can increase processing speeds and effectively utilize server capacity. Properly load balancing incoming traffic is a crucial component in mitigating spikes in traffic that occur during atypical internet activity such as when a website is experiencing an unusually high number of visitors or during a distributed denial-of-service attack.

CDN allows for failover between servers

In computer systems that require a high degree of reliability and near continuous availability, failover is used to prevent traffic from being lost when a server is unavailable. When a server goes down, the traffic needs to be rerouted to a server that is still functional. By automatically offloading tasks to a standby system or another machine with available capacity, intelligent failover can prevent disruption of service to users.

CDNs protect from DDoS attacks

One of the most substantial security vulnerabilities of web properties on the modern internet is the use of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Over time DDoS attacks have increased in size and complexity, with attackers utilizing botnets to target websites with attack traffic. A large and properly configured CDN has the potential benefit of scale as a protective factor against DDoS; by having enough data center locations and sizable bandwidth capabilities, a CDN can withstand and mitigate an amount of incoming attack traffic that would easily overwhelm the targeted origin server.

CDNs enhance SSL/TLS encryption

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is an internet protocol used for encrypting data that is sent over the Internet. Any web site that you starts with “https://” rather than “http://” uses TLS/SSL for communication between a browser and a server. Proper encryption practices are a necessity to prevent bad actors from accessing important data. Because the internet is designed in such a way that data is transferred across many locations, it is possible to intercept packets of important information as they move across the globe. Through the utilization of a cryptographic protocol, only the intended recipient is able to decode and read the information and intermediaries are prevented from decoding the contents of the transferred data.

To enable TLS, a site needs an SSL certificate and a corresponding key. A CDN has the added benefit of providing security to visitors of contents hosted within its network using a CDN provided certificate. Because visitors connect to only the CDN, an older or less secure certificate in use between the origin server and the CDN will not affect the client’s experience.

Brute-Force Protection

A brute-force attack is a trial and error method used by hackers to decode encrypted data like passwords through exhaustive effort (using brute force) rather than employing intellectual strategies. Brute Force attacks have been known to take down websites, disrupt services, and cause monetary and reputational damage if they get access to your website server or the users account. However, CDNs provide complete website security and performance solution which protects from brute force and many other vulnerabilities. Many CDNs incorporate captchas, multi-factor authentication, and many other features that protect your contents.

Other protective functions

The protective features offered by CDNs are not limited to the above alone. They offer a lot more features. For instance, CDNs

  • analyzes all the incoming requests to your site and allows only legitimate traffic, stopping in the process attackers, bots, spams and malicious requests at their edge network
  • allow or block requests based on IP, country, URL/URI
  • provide real-time insights of security events including top threat origins and action, a detailed event with IP, action, country, timestamp, triggered rules
  • Spambot protection
  • CAPTCHA security
  • comment spam protection
  • Real-time statistics, uptime monitoring, weekly report, traffic stats
  • Web Application Firewall
  • origin shield
  • Intrusion Detection System
  • Intrusion Prevention System
  • SQLi protection,
  • Page rules
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS) protection
  • IPV6 support
  • HTTP/2 and SPDY support
  • Caching, Compression, Minification, Image Optimization
  • Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) support
  • protection for application-specific vulnerabilities like WordPress and Joomla
  • prevention of fake search engine (Google, Baidu, Yandex) bots from crawling
  • HTTP Flood protection and many more.

How-To: Enhance Your Video Streaming Quality

HOW TO ENHANCE YOUR VIDEO STREAMING QUALITY

The use of video on the web is on the rise as technological devices and networks become faster and much more capable of taking video content. Recent researches have shown that sites with video contents maximize engagement by up to 80%. Sites for e-commerce containing video have far higher conversions than sites lacking video content. The existence or inclusion of video content on the web maximizes customer interaction and satisfaction.

This article, therefore, examines the essential processes of balancing performance and video playback on the web to avoid video quality problems like buffering, lag, poor resolution, and improve streaming quality for all your viewers.

  1. Maximizing Your Video Quality Up Front

Problems encountered by your viewers while viewing videos are quite enough, and viewers would view your brand more negatively if you publish poor or low-quality videos. However, before describing quality improvement, it is noteworthy to identify the two different types of existing video quality issues. There are those you can influence, and there are also those you cannot.

You can only influence the initial quality – quality in – you do not exercise much control over the viewer. They may be hampered by slow internet connectivity or an obsolete device. There is not much you can influence to assist your viewers in this sense. Regardless, viewers dislike seeing poor quality videos, which reflect poorly on the brand. Good quality video in the will, therefore, check some of the issues associated with video streaming.

  1. Camera

Videos recorded with phones are usually of poor quality. Moreso older cameras may have poor resolution and image processing. Just as it is said, “garbage in, garbage out.” That is mostly so in low light recording. If your initial recording is low quality, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to fix the recording.

As such, making use of a good quality camera will deliver the best possible image at the exact beginning of your streaming. In contemporary times, you don’t really have an excuse for not using a full HD or 4K camera for your streaming.

  1. Encoder Settings

The function of an encoder is to transmit almost all live streams.i.e. an encoder is a technological tool either software or hardware that transcodes videos into streamable formats. From there, your video contents can reach your website to stream live or as requested for by your streamers.

Listed here below are some encoder settings recommended by us.

The Video Content Codec: H.265 The Main/High Profile

The Audio Content Codec: known as  AAC

The Variable Bitrate: On

The Per Second Frames Interval: 30 is the recommended level

The Keyframe Intervals Per Second: recommended – 2 seconds

Other various relevant encoder settings include the video resolution, video bitrate, and audio bitrate setting.

  1. Upload Speed

When a streaming video is being broadcasted, you require sufficient internet speed to maintain the streaming. In the case of a live video, your upload bandwidth is supposed to be at least double the bitrate in the broadcast.

To correctly determine the bitrate in your broadcast, include the video bitrate to the audio bitrate. All of them should be added together if your broadcasting is in multi-bitrates.

Stated here below are few recommendations for getting the best out of your connection:

  • It is recommended to use a wired Ethernet connection if possible because a WiFi connection can be unstable
  • If there is no other choice other than the WIFI, it is better to move closer to the router to ensure a clear and strong signal as possible.
  • Close all unnecessary browsers and software applications to free up the bandwidth.
  • Remove all other unneeded devices connected to the network, because every additional device connected to a network takes more of the available bandwidth.
  • Also, if needed, purchase a faster and more dependable internet plan and don’t forget that for the upload speed may be far more critical than the speed required in download.
  1. Selecting the Right Online Video Platform

The next and one of the most vital methods to increase video streaming quality is to pick the right online video platform. Online Video Platforms (OVP) provide streaming solutions needed for the management and hosting of web video content. It is quite possible for them to also offer other solution tools like monetization of content, security, and the likes.

The three ways through which Online Video Platforms can directly influence the quality of videos are examined below. The first way is content delivery. Use an OVP that makes use of a large and well-respected CDN the likes cdn.net. A network of this kind ensures a rapid distribution of content. Also, it smoothly scales to a vast number of audiences.

The other effect of OVP deals with quality limits. Go for an OVP which allows broadcast in 1080p full HD. In the following section, we will examine the third way is how your choice OVP influences the streaming quality of your video.

  1. Transcoding and Multi-Bitrate Streaming

Another possible means through which your OVP can control video streaming quality is through the process of transcoding and multi-bitrate streaming of content. Video players are now adaptive, i.e., they automatically detect internet speed and adjust accordingly. Viewers on a slow internet connection will be delivered a lower quality video, while those on a fast internet connection, will get a high-quality video.

However, this feature is solely dependent on your OVP’s offering of transcoding and multi-bitrate streaming of content. Multi-bitrate content streaming refers to the method of broadcasting a live stream in multiple distinct qualities at once. Transcoding does the same thing, with exemptions to Video On Demand plus for which transcoding occurs in the cloud. To improve your quality of video streaming, Be sure that your OVP supports these features.

  1. Test Thoroughly

Skipping testing is a terrible idea. Streaming video has many parts in motion. We, therefore, recommend that you make sure to engage in a thorough testing process before you launch your contents. Some things to test are:

  • Detailed test video embedded in your website. Does it appear correctly?
  • If you use the multi-bitrate content streaming, test video quality at different levels of bitrate, are the different levels available and streamable?
  • Examine videos on both a slow and a fast internet connection. Are the buffering minimal?
  • Conduct a transitioning test between a fast and a slow internet connection. Is adaptability seen in the video player?
  • Perform stress testing for the encoders, the cameras, and other relevant equipment. Determine if any equipment will fail/collapse under weight?
  • Test the total overall workflow. Perform a private live stream test. Is everything functioning well?
  1. A 24/7 Customer Support Service

Customer support service is very critical for video streaming quality, because, in case of a problem, you cannot waste a long time waiting or hoping for a solution. Therefore, to avoid this, you must provide a ready-made solution to cater for unforeseen circumstances.

Several video streaming solutions offer minimal technical support, while others don’t even bother at all, even though you need a ready platform that includes and offers 24/7 tech support to them. Tech supports should also be made available via phone, chat, and email. You do not want to have to chat with a robot or to submit feedback for compliant and wait for a later response, all while your video streaming is in jeopardy.

Conclusion

Quality video content on the web maximizes customer interaction and approval. The same effect can be observed in pages that load quickly. However, the inclusion of videos to your website will slow down the page loading time, thereby necessitating the need for a balance between the overall page load and the web video content. To minimize the size of your web video content, make sure that you have the versions sized adequately for mobile devices dimensions, and use shorter videos at all possible times. Better still, use an excellent CDNto deliver videos quickly to your viewers.

How CDN Mapping Can Improve Your Content Delivery Speed

You own a successful website that receives high volumes of traffic or you expect to get higher traffic, you definitely should get a Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to make sure your website’s performance is at peak. CDNs have many uses. Without a CDN, it is difficult to maintain the user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and performance of globally-distributed websites and web applications. CDNs by their very nature improve global availability and reduce bandwidth, as well as reduce latency because they shorten the time it takes a server to receive, process, and responds to a static request.

Yet, many people overlook how CDNs’ mapping technology, which is behind directing users to the right CDN edge server, improves latency, throughput, content delivery speed, and user experience. This article explains in details how CDN mapping works and the enormous advantages it offers you.

What are CDNs and Mapping Improves Speed

CDNs deliver much of websites, video portals, e-commerce applications, social networks, and file downloads. CDN hosts and delivers content on your behalf, including business services, financial services, travel, manufacturing, automotive, media, entertainment, e-commerce, software, gaming, the public sector, and many more. The purpose of a CDN is to host and deliver your content and applications to clients around the world with high availability, performance, and scalability. CDNs achieve these goals by deploying a large number of servers in hundreds of data centers around the world, in order to be “proximal” in a network sense to clients.

“Mapping” is the algorithm a CDN uses to decide which server is “closest” or most proximal to the user requesting the content. This is very important because proximity on the internet is not always geographic miles, but based on round-trip time (RTT) which is the length of time it takes for a signal to be sent plus the length of time it takes for an acknowledgment of that signal to be received. To minimize the distance between the user and your website’s server, CDNs store a cached version of your content in multiple geographical locations (also Points of Presence (PoPs) or edge servers). Each PoP contains several caching servers responsible for content delivery to visitors within its proximity.

To determine the closest CDN edge server, when a user accesses a web page, the domain name of the web page is translated to the IP address of a server that is live, has sufficient capacity, and is proximal to the client by the CDN’s mapping system. The client then requests content from the PoP assigned to it by the CDN mapping system. If the edge server has the content the user required cached, it serves the content to the client. Otherwise, the server will request the content from the origin servers operated by the content provider, caches it and and delivers it to the client.

A central component of a CDN is its mapping algorithm system. The goal of a mapping system is to increase the performance experienced by the client by ensuring quicker downloads of the accessed content. As noted earlier, to speed up the downloads, the mapping system directs each client request to a “proximal” server that can be reached by the client with low latency and loss. Furthermore, the mapping system ensures that the chosen server is live, not overloaded, and is likely to contain the requested content. The last consideration reduces the probability of a cache miss at the PoP that would result in the content being fetched from the origin server with longer response times. CDNs route traffic in a variety of ways, and most have proprietary methods of directing to proximal servers.

Benefits of a Content Delivery Networks with Great Mapping Algorithm

Just one second of delay in content delivery can cause up to 7% loss in customer conversions, which translates to a loss of money for you. This is where a CDN mapping comes in. It is therefore, good business practice to use a CDN with an outstanding mapping architecture. The significant advantages of using one are:

It increases your global reach

56.1% of the world’s population has internet access, and this is growing exponentially. Using CDN creates an opportunity for you to enhance your global content delivery reach. CDNs reduce latency and RTT issues by cloud acceleration with local POPs in various geographical locations across the globe. This comprehensive coverage opens a business to all corners of the world by eliminating problems that may be interrupting long-distance online transactions and affecting sales, a critical step in exploring new markets.

It decreases latency and improves user experience

Since CDNs duplicate contents and route traffic to servers placed at popular locations across the world, the RTT is significantly lowered as users are close to one of those servers. As such, the lower the latency, the faster your users can load contents. Your content won’t have to make trans-continental hops, which result in faster downloads, and ultimately, better user experience.

Lower Network Load

Lower network loads equal higher network and bandwidth performance. Network loads are usually higher during peak times as a result of the number of visitors on an origin server consuming resources and thus decreasing throughput performance for all others. Routing visitors to PoPs balances the network load, and less network disruption equals faster content delivery and better user experience.

Increased reliability

A content delivered through a CDN is very reliable, especially when delivery feature-rich contents or streaming high definition quality videos. Employing CDN improves qualitative service as content delivery is faster through the CDN’s acceleration technology. This further increases the performance and reliability of all content on the website, resulting in better customer satisfaction.

CDNs provide data analytics

CDNs provide file usage reports since they usually charge per byte. Some like cdn.net even offer tools to monitor how content is being delivered to users. These reports and your website analytics provides the necessary data to evaluate your performance metrics and improve. Valuable analytical information also helps to discover trends that could lead to advertising sales.

CDN Saves Cost

CDNs ultimately reduce your operating and overhead costs. Using a global CDN reduces costs since you don’t have to pay for expensive foreign hosting. Even more, a global CDN provides a single platform which works throughout the world and is priced reasonably. This is especially helpful for small companies with tight budgets as it is the most cost-effective way to improve web performance across the globe. Furthermore, since the burden of loading all traffic is not placed on one server, but distributed to edge servers too, you can cut your content delivery costs.

CDNs protect against Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks

A Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack is a cyber-attack in which the perpetrator seeks to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its intended users by temporarily or indefinitely disrupting services of a host connected to the Internet. It causes substantial economic losses and reputational damage. However, a CDN takes on the traffic and keeps your website up and running. CDNS have tools in place designed to stop DDoS attacks before it reaches your data center. As such, you need not worry about DDoS impacting your business.

In conclusion, having a CDN for your content delivery is a must. If you care about performance and your users’ experience, CDN will indeed speed up your content delivery a lot. Managing the CDN service properly is also paramount to its performance. It is, therefore, best to choose a CDN like cdn.net, which packs many features at a reasonable price.

HOW-TO: MONITOR AND OPTIMIZE YOUR CDN

CDNs are invaluable for a thousand and one reasons, but they are not fail-proof, sometimes causing end-user performance degradations. Considering that the global CDN market was around USD 10.9 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach approximately USD 24.9 billion by 2025, it is evident that business concerns spend a lot on it. It won’t, therefore, be reasonable to have their users tweeting about downtime and complaining online. It is, therefore, necessary for you to consistently monitor your CDNs and identify and leverage opportunities to optimize performance, to maximize your investments.

This article explains how to monitor and optimize the impact of a CDN on your website performance.

Monitoring and Optimizing Your CDN

A CDN that can troubleshoot some of the most common issues is excellent. What is better is a CDN that provides you tools to monitor your content delivery. However, this alone sometimes cannot entirely prevent the worst possible scenario. Proactive monitoring is, therefore, necessary. You must take care to identify a problem before users find out and degrade your brand on the internet. Besides, if you pay for CDN services, it is only right that you monitor it to evaluate if you are getting the promised services.

Apart from these, there are plenty of other good reasons why monitoring is essential regardless of the automation promised. These are examined below.

Monitor Your CDN with emphasis on Users Location

It is vital for you to monitor and optimize your CDN to tackle issues specific to certain locations. The very fact that a CDN is a CDN is an important reason why it should be monitored and optimized. Since content delivery is no longer done on just one server but distributed across various locations, it’s impossible to understand user experience in different geographies without monitoring. It is therefore probable that one of the edge nodes of the network to be down while the central server and other edge nodes are working perfectly fine. Another scenario may involve the CDN working well in urban areas, but not in rural areas, or the CDN not being compliant with the protocols used by a mobile phone network operator.

Therefore, if you only know the performance in a region, you may incorrectly assume that it is the same everywhere, thereby overlooking many of your users in other areas. Monitoring your end-user experience over a stable connection from each region where your content is being viewed is the best way to understand if you’re getting what you paid for with a CDN.

Optimize and Monitor Your Front End

If you don’t optimize your content before you ship it off to CDNs, of course, the consequence is unoptimized and underperforming contents for your users from your CDN. This negates the existence of the CDN since moving content closer to the end-user is meaningless if the content is unoptimized for an optimal experience. Using an optimizing CDN system like cdn.net may alleviate this issue by taking dynamic action on whatever content you have provided them to create the best experience. However, if it is a grave error or even a human one, the CDN can only do so much.

Some of these errors are requiring the CDN to host overly large webpages, oversized images, unminified scripts, etc. Making sure your content is optimized is very important before you host it with CDN.

Examples of front-end optimization you can do are file compression and minification by making your webpages lighter and more manageable. This can be achieved by removing unnecessary HTML, CSS, and JavaScript characters. When the files are compressed, this reduces the total downloaded bytes, which save bandwidth and speeds download times.

Another front-end optimization you can incorporate is image management, which automatically transforms images based on the end-user device. Pre-fetching (Server Push) will also increase front-end optimization, and your users’ browsing experience can be significantly improved. Prefetching is the bundling of images, JavaScript, CSS, and more so end users can quickly navigate between pages while saving on load time. Pre-fetching also allows edge servers to send assets to end users before the request is even made.

Reducing external HTTP requests will also increase the loading time for your users. This includes eliminating features that may not be additive to the end-user experience, such as unnecessary JavaScripts, images, plugins, and excessive CSS.

Ensure CDNs are Mapping Properly

“Mapping” is the algorithm a CDN uses to decide which server is “closest” to you. This is very important because “closest” on the Internet is not always geographic miles but fiber/internet connection. CDN mapping is, however, a very complicated process that depends on various factors at any given second. Furthermore, many enterprises don’t have access to the working of their CDNs’ internal routing dynamics. Regardless, you can detect when your CDN’s mapping patterns is suboptimal and raise this to their attention. You can do this by measuring end-user performance to reveal what end users are experiencing. If there is a significant discrepancy in the time it takes to download similar content for a different user, then this is a sign the CDN’s mapping patterns are likely misconfigured.

Tools for Monitoring

There are quite a few ways in which you can monitor your CDN. You can use your CDN native monitor, use an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Tool or a Real User Monitoring (RUM) Tool.

A good APM monitors your users’ quality of experience, assesses the impact of errors, unavailability, and degraded application response times on the user, pinpoint the origins of incidents, identify the causes of incidents and optimizes it.

On the other hand, a good RUM analyzes the performance of native, web, and hybrid apps and websites based on their real traffic and quality of experience. Measurements are made from the user side, and the RUM collects the response times of each page and compares them by users’ location and by users’ hardware and software (including browser) configuration. It also correlates performance with the number of visitors to identify any degradation during peak traffic periods.

Conclusion

No doubt, a CDN improves overall performance when it comes to content delivery. However, it would be best if you were on top of the game when it comes to managing site performance and user experience.

You can now use www.cdn.net to optimize for global delivery easily with external monitoring tools.

Essential Features To Consider In a CDN For Live Streaming

“You are live on channel four, please don’t swear”

This popular tagline in the famous Big Brother show is a prime example of the acceptance and prevalence of livestreaming in today’s society. Time and time again, there is the need to stream an event live to a target audience and in some cases, the entire world. Since technology has successfully wrought the magic of live streaming, various industries have employed its use in the fulfilment of their objectives. Religious bodies, sporting organisations, news platforms, the entertainment industry and even private individuals are only a few in the myriad of its users.

WHAT EXACTLY IS LIVESTREAMING?

Basically, live streaming is online streaming media recorded and broadcast simultaneously in real time. In simple terms, it is the broadcasting of live video to an audience over the Internet, real-time. So, someone in Wisconsin can record and broadcast an on-going event live to the entire world and it is immediately available for viewing all over the world, irrespective of geographical differences.

Live streaming is a bandwidth-intensive and very demanding process. Since most of the video files span over a long period of time, they are often quite large and can overload slow internet connections. Apart from the speed, there are other issues that plague live streams like buffering, stream interruptions, lags and other quality problems.

A quality viewing experience is a determinant of an effective live stream. If the target audience has to watch a poor quality stream, its purpose may as well be defeated. Instead, a smooth seamless streaming experience allows your audience view your content in the best possible light.

And this is where the CDN comes in.

WHAT IS A CDN?

CDN stands for Content Distribution Network. According to Wikipedia, a CDN is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centres. It is a network of servers distributed around the world, and linked via high-speed internet cables. Primarily, its purpose is to provide high availability and high performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end users. Today, CDNs supply a large portion of the Internet content today. From web objects(text, graphics and scripts) to downloadable objects(media files, software, documents), applications(e-commerce, portals),live streaming media, on-demand streaming media and social media sites, CDNs use software to intelligently distribute traffic throughout the network, routing data fast to the closest servers to any user.

WHY YOU SHOULD USE A CDN.

Till date, CDN is the fastest and most reliable way to broadcast your content to a wide range of viewers all around the world. CDNs can very well accommodate viral viewership spikes and larger than expected live audiences.

Now if you are live streaming a fashion show from your single server and all of a sudden, something really spectacular happens and it just goes viral. While this is good for your content publicity, there could be disastrous consequences. A lot more people, say a million begin to try to tune in to the event, requesting data from your server. Your single server, unfortunately, does not have the capacity to deliver and so your machine is overloaded, crashes and nobody can access your

stream. On the other hand, a CDN is a network ofservers, usually with high distribution. So even if a lot of requests come in, they can be distributed across hundreds, thousands and even millions of servers, causing no service interruptions in your live stream.

Also, since the goal is quality viewer experience, CDNs allow you to achieve the best sound quality and video resolution, minimizing buffering and delays to the barest minimum. CDNs also deliver content at low latency, using superfast superhighways to send streams all over the world.

Presently, there are diverse CDNs, even private ones, available and to make the best choice, there are certain features to consider in a CDN intended for live streaming.

ESSENTIAL FEATURES TO CONSIDER IN A CDN FOR LIVE STREAMING

  • The number of servers

A good CDN for live streaming should have a large number of servers. The number of servers would go a long way in determining speed and scalability. The higher the number of servers in a network, the more bandwidth the network can handle. So even if there is an unexpected increase in the number of requests, the load is evenly distributed among the servers and viewers get fast responses and a quality viewing experience. If the CDN has a few servers, it might cause congestion and give very slow responses and is most probably not your preferred choice

  • Geographic distribution of  the servers

Another important feature to consider in your live streaming CDN is a good distribution of servers. It is not enough to have many servers concentrated in a geographical region, a good CDN should have servers evenly distributed around the world.

CDNs usually operate via points of presence, often called PoP. Pops are edge servers in the CDN network that deliver content directly to viewers. So a very good live streaming experience would also be determined by the viewer’s closeness to a PoP edge server.

Most live streaming CDNs are concentrated in major cities in the US and Europe, leaving a  very sparse and sometimes, completely non-existent number of servers in other regions. So these regions are assured of very low quality video live streams, super slow download speeds, many buffering problems and incredibly long video start up times.

If you have an exclusive target audience, your servers should be concentrated in their geographic region. If however, your content is more general and your audience global, it is recommended that you use a CDN with a global distribution of servers.

  • Average experience

You should also consider the performance of your live stream CDN, as per its speed. It is important that your choice of CDN has high speed as it would greatly reduce buffering problems It is usually difficult to compare CDN speed directly since it depends on a size and some other variable factors. To get a sense of CDN speed, you can look at various comparisons of different providers. However, we can look at average performance to get a sense of CDN speed. Most of the comparisons make an average of the CDNs performance over long periods of time to determine which is fastest.

  • Live streaming features

For your particular live stream, you should also consider what features come along with the CDN package you choose. Some CDNs provide a greater range of features than others. For instance, on some CDN networks, it is easy to run live channel provisioning. In this case, you can launch as many live streams as you need to, simultaneously.

  • Security

If you intend to broadcast sensitive material, you should consider a CDN that provides security systems. Your CDN can help to prevent distributed denial of service (DDos) attacks. These attacks mostly occur when a site or resource is flooded by multiple, simultaneous attempts of breach. If your CDN is redundant and has multiple access points, your content’s security may be breached easily.

  • Analytics

Most CDNs with good quality give you detailed analytics of your livestream. Basically, this gives you data on how many viewers saw your content, the geographical location with the most participation and other relevant information. These analytics can also be categorized by region, file, type of data and so on. These analytics could also be used as a marketing tool or for reference purposes.

  • Pricing

There are generally many factors that influence the pricing of CDNs. Factors like the volume and the geographic location of your target audience go a long way in determining how much you would pay for each livestream. Now if you have spikes in your volume, ie your video goes viral and more people than you anticipated begin to tune in, many CDNs will price you at a higher rate. It’s referred to as “burst” rate pricing.

Amazingly, some CDNs have a standard price for delivery all round the world. So whether your traffic goes higher than the ceiling or lower than the floor, there are no extra charges. Most of them are however peer-to-peer based CDNs.

Conclusion

Finally, since most CDNs are quite expensive, it is important that your preferred choice should be cost-effective. There are both paid and free CDN options available.

Check out www.cdn.net for globally distributed CDN for live streaming at cost effective rate, as low as $0.06/GB!

 

Considerations and How To Build Your DIY CDN

Cisco reported that Global IP traffic would increase by a triple fold in the next five years. Also, IP traffic will surge at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26 percent from 2017 to 2022. Additionally, IP traffic is projected to reach 50GB for every capita by 2022, up from 16 GB in 2017. Consequently, the same site reported that the number of gadgets associated with IP systems would surpass worldwide populace by 2022.

Now, I hope you understand why there seems to be internet congestion some of the times, if not most. Little wonder there is an exponential demand for CDNs for both commercial and individual purposes, especially in China. Anyway, if you are amongst those lucky few who desire to build their CDN but haven’t been able to wrap their heads around the process, well, I have got good news for you, sit calmly, and buckle up as I take you through the journey of building your CDN.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CDN VERSION

The initial phase in creating your CDN is choosing the right vendor—this could either be free or premium. It is much easier to find the right option, even though you’ll have to do your exploration to get things done. There are two essential perspectives with regards to picking your CDN provider:

  • Choose a web hosting company offering CDN as an integral part of its services, such as WP Engine.
  • B.             Select an external service provider and manually configure the connection between the standard web server and the CDN.

On Cloud or On-premise?

Another crucial decision you need to make is whether you want to distribute a content distribution network using Cloud or physical means for either the source server and for its points of presence (PoPs). It is essential you know you can choose to implement a part of your CDN using cloud solutions, while the other on-premise. Here are some things to keep in mind when making this decision:

  • Accessibility: does the cloud supplier I need to utilize have machines accessible in the area I need to serve content to? You should put into considerations whether the company has its own data centers in the region for which you want to provide content?
  • Performance: Is performance better with a cloud solution or on-premise solution?
  • Cost effective: Since web traffic loads per Second, will it be cheaper to pay for or own the entire infrastructure? Likewise, will it be less expensive to utilize IaaS or to employ a particular group to keep up such engineering?
  • Security: you should identify what are the security advantages and disadvantages of the various choices for your business?

 

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER AND ROUTING

Get yourself the best ISP for your needs and furthermore think about what will fulfill each route demand to the nearest PoP. A few variables worth of thoughts beneath maybe put into consideration:

  • Availability and Dependability: As with any part of the preparation for good infrastructure, you should make sure the internet service provider is always available as much as needed because it is the pillar of your business.
  • The internet Speed: for both your average day and high demand day, the connection speed will be sufficient for seamless operations.
  • Geographical presence: Look for an ISP covering the area which you want to provide services.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Carefully check and spread the costs of services, as the costs of Internet service providers vary considerably depending on different factors, and you have to strike the right balance between services and charges.

 

While it is true that there are numerous options of the internet service provider and routers in the market to choose from, it is vital that you want the one that meets your configuration as well as your traffic expectations needs.

ORIGIN SERVER AND POPs

Now, you may be wondering what this has got to do with building your CDN. The truth is that it has got everything to do with CDN because it will serve as a large reserve with disseminated hubs that help to convey content quicker to end clients. Hence, it is necessary to put into consideration the geographical location of the local server(s) as well as each of your PoPs you intend to use.

The reason for the decision of the source server is because you want your web server to be as close as possible to get full control over its content. However, to determine where and how many points of presence are needed, there are some factors to consider:

  • Where is the location of your primary audience? Do you anticipate that your business should expand to some specific districts? If so, which regions? Additionally, it’s essential to examine where and how they are concentrated to convey the ideal experience desire.
  • The latency between your source server and your target audience base: this will assist you in deciding where to find each PoP.
  • Traffic patterns: By analyzing them, you can provide an excellent user experience and optimize the infrastructure.

INSTALL VARNISH DIY CDN SOFTWARE

The Varnish is incredibly adaptable because it is incredibly flexible thanks to the exclusive VCL configuration language. VCL gives you a chance to set reserving guidelines and choices at the edge. Here are the few points of interest for Varnish.

  • It is free—that is it without charges
  • Varnish 6 also supports compression
  • Open the source code— so you can change anything if it is necessary.
  • Also, with Varnish 5, there is flexibility to write your own rules in the VCL file.
  • Latest Varnish is terrific, and help is accessible online as far as instruments/docs/help gatherings
  • Varnish Generator
  • VCL Fiddler

CONFIGURATION OF VARNISH

For a functional and straightforward configuration, you need the following: Here is a valuable content to help you with Varnish CDN.

  • With the following command, Varnish will be able to identify the backend it can talk to Open “/etc/varnish/default.vcl” and specify your backed IP address and port
  • The next is Configuration of the port on which Varnish uses to attends to incoming request:

Open “etc/default/varnish.param” and set “-a”: 80.

When you have comprehended the sort of CDN framework that best addresses your issues and your group of the targeted audience, and you have as well adhered to these outlines in this article to assemble your private CDN utilizing Varnish—in some couple of hours you will have built—your CDN. Your special CDN ready for action.

Conclusion          

There is no gainsaying that when you need your site to load quickly for every one of the eyeballs that visit it, a content delivery network is an unquestionable requirement. Other than accelerating your webpage, a content delivery network gives your website additional security benefits, your website will devour fewer assets from your web hosting plan and can improve your website’s SEO. All these will result in improved conversion rate, reduce bounce rate, and overall joyful guests visit.

Or if you find this too much of a hassle, check out www.cdn.net for out-of-the-box, globally optimized performance CDN provider for as low as $0.006/GB.

 

 

HOW TO: Accelerate Streaming and File Download in China

Internet Congestion in China

It is no longer an open secret that China’s internet sluggishness has taken the country’s economic growth to ransom. According to a report, 24% of respondents said that connectivity issues had led to lower productivity, and 31% pointed to China’s Internet as making it more difficult to exchange data and documents with their company headquarters, partners and clients.
China may have the majority of Internet users in the world, but the average broadband speed is only 2.4 Mbps, according to a new report published, placing it in the 141st spot among 200 nations ranked, as indicated by another report.
Conversely, the United States is the twentieth quickest broadband speed nation, with an average broadband speed of almost 26Mbps.
It is important you know that slow internet connectivity in China can be fatal to your business. Your business may not be completely closed, but it will undoubtedly limit visibility and Performance and ominously reduce sales. In this case, optimizing the pages that load the speed must be a high priority.
The problem of the slow Internet connection in China is partly the result of the intensive monitoring of Internet consumption and the growing demand for existing infrastructure. There’s a great deal of information requiring a lot of follow up.
The Internet is the most difficult aspect of life in China for many foreigners. This could be due to the number of some favorite sites like Google, Facebook being blocked by the Chinese Great firewall, causing the Internet to be very slow. Here are some quick tips for solving these problems:
Website page Size – The bigger your webpage including the mobile version, the slower it will be to load.
Site Components – If you have online networking content on your page, it may not be wholly resolved or appear looking fragmented.
DNS Lookup Issues – How the Chinese framework work is that China’s framework must search for your DNS record on the global web which moderates requiring time and it probably won’t resolve immediately after your first click.
One of the best remedy to this slow Internet as well as streaming online in China is the application of CDN. Well, in case you are not familiar with what CDN is, and how it works below is a good exposition.

What is a CDN?

In addition to your local hosting, the use of the Content Delivery Network (CDN) is another effective way to improve the speed of your site. Why? Because the use of local hosting service alone does not necessarily guarantee to improve the speed of your web, this is because some enormous web content-format such as images, videos, and downloadable files, requires much more bandwidth and storage space for efficient upload and file management utilization. The Content Delivery Network (CDN) solution aims to increase the speed of the site.

CDN

What’s more, you may ask? Well, CDNs also store help store third-party content on high-speed devices and send them from a server that is physically closer to your site visitors. Today, almost all broadband content is delivered via CDN. This developing utilization of CDNs is the consequence of its capacity to distribute content worldwide while maintaining high-speed broadcast. As a result, many libraries and third-party sources are now placed on CDNs to improve site performance execution.
How can a CDN improve Performance in China?
It is no longer news that CDN is very important in China because of its size and the particular architecture of its Internet. There are only three major Internet service providers in China, whose networks are poorly and ineffectively connected. This is not an ideal script when loading your site. As a result, the network is often overloaded with high latency and packet loss. Little wonder, the service fluctuates across China. Thus, the connection in one part of the country may be fast while sluggish and slower in another city.
This is why the content distribution network is an effective solution that you can implement. CDN distributes its content on several servers in China to offer the best possible Performance to its traffic.
Maybe you are still not convinced with CDN. No worries beneath are the few Benefits of CDN

• It enhances Performance
This is by far the biggest benefit of using CDN. It brings the site content to your visitors with a great deal of proximity, and your site thereby benefits from faster and better routing, which will improve your site performance.

• User Experience
Client user’s experience is significant, ask big company like Amazon, which claimed that speed increases every 100 milliseconds, which improves sales by 1%.For online activities, your site shouldn’t last more than up to 3 seconds to come up. 57% of online consumers state they’ll leave a site in the event that it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

• Dependability
With CDN, your site’s traffic is continuously directed to the quickest server. If a server in the CDN network is idle, visitors are sent to another server. This creates an extra level of redundancy that improves the dependability of your site.

• Scalability
Scalability is of a great benefit of using CDN. This is how it helps, without using a CDN; each visitor enters the content from your web hosting company and as a result, overloads the server. But When a CDN is used; the visitor loads the content from each server on the network.

• SEO
The speed of the site is an imperative element in determining the rank of searches. Using a CDN can improve the speed of your site and improve its ranking. Google will rank your pages faster and increase the speed and frequency of your site.

• Minimal Costs
CDN can help you save significantly in case your web hosting provider charges per bandwidth; you can reduce the bandwidth usage by your web hosting provider. Infrastructure costs are also lower because the CDN manages all static resources.

Is a CDN necessary for China?

On the off chance that you choose not to have your site in China, at that point a CDN is the elective answer for you to improve site speed. With CDN, you can improve the speed of the user experience by providing most of the rich web content, such as images and long scripts, through the content distribution network since speed is one of the yardsticks between a successful website and an average site. Consequently, CDN in mainland China for a website hosted abroad can significantly improve the loading speed of local visitors. Also, the expense of utilizing CDNs might be lower than that of a regular server.
Truth be told, we would, in any case, prescribe utilizing a CDN regardless of whether your server is located in China because CDN works so well in enhancing your site. Should you decide to use one, it is important to understand that using CDN in China also requires an ICP license. Therefore, before investing time and resources in finding future CDN providers in China, start by taking care of ICP

Which CDN should you choose?

Although it doesn’t require rocket science but CDN have numerous components to think about when picking the most appropriate CDN for your business. Thus, we won’t delve into the subtleties of how to choose the best CDN suppliers in China, but for more valuable content on CDN and how it works and the nitty-gritty of it visit www.cdn.net

Compare AWS Cloudfront vs. CDN.NET

Content delivery network delivers the content to users and webpages with the help of distributed servers. It is the best method to communicate with other users, share content and engage. However, over the past few years, the field of CDN has seen some major advancements.

What is CDN.net?

CDN.net was founded in 2012 and has been called the “Uber of CDNS.” Headquartered in London, UK, CDN.net is built on the federated CDN platform of OnApp.

Depending upon the region of the users, CDN.net offers a mere sub-50ms latency. This is exceptional when compared to the other CDN providers. The users can control their active PoPs and are billed only for active and in-use Pops. The top clients for CDN.net include WizqDurrell and Kaaloga.

What is Amazon CloudFront?

Amazon has also stepped up its game and created CloudFront to deliver content. It can be used as a stand-alone application, or in combination with other Amazon web products. It can easily be combined with Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Amazon S3 to utilize the maximum potential of Amazon services.

The top clients for Amazon CloudFront are NHL and Nasty Gal. The pricing plans are more complex than the other CDN providers.

What Are the Features Offered?

Let’s compare these and find out the best platform for instant and best content delivery service.

  • Points of Presence: CDN.net offers 179 PoPs, whereas Amazon CloudFront offers only 41 PoPs. CDN.net wins in this category by offering more locations for content delivery to the users. Its quick, fast and can relay the data efficiently.
  • Purging Capabilities: Some CDNs offer quick and instant purging, while other may take up to an hour or more. CDN.net offers “Purge All” functionality to the users. Additionally, the instant purge feature takes less up to 30 seconds for purging.
  • Real-time Support: CDN.net offer real-time statistics for the users, but CloudFront doesn’t. The stats help the users determine the quality of their content distribution and allow them to manage their content in an efficient manner.
  • Quick and Online Signup: All the major CDN service providers offer online signup nowadays. CloudFront and CDN.net offer quick set up and sign up options.
  • SSL Certificates: While both services offer shared SSL certificates for protection and security, CloudFront also provide custom SSL certificates for free. CDN.net will charge for custom SSL certificates, and this is the reason it lacks behind in this category.CDN.net offer full support for Shared SSL, Custom SSL and Wildcard SSL Certificates.
  • Multiple CDNs and CDN Balancing: None of the services offer support or integration for multiple CDNs. Furthermore, they also lack in the CDN balancing category. Many of the recent CDN services offer integration with multiple CDNs and CDN balancing tech for an optimal usability. However, CDN.net offers modern CDN balancing techniques to the users. This makes CDN.net fully customizable and more efficient than other CDNs.
  • Human Support: One of the most important features of any CDN service is the quick and helpful support services provided by the organization. CDN.net offers free email support from 8 AM to 8 PM. If you want 24⁄7 support, you will have to pay for that. In case of CloudFront, you can find support on community forum for free. You will have to pay extra for phone and email support.
  • Third-party Integration: Almost all the major services offer stand-alone APIs nowadays. CloudFront offer exclusive API support for Purge, Statistics and Configuration Management. Users can easily link these up in their code, and view run-time stats. However, CDN.net hasn’t offered any support so far.
  • RMTP Streaming and Video On Demand: CDN.net offers RMTP streaming functionality for the modern devices. RMTP and HLS streaming is on top of the market right now, and this feature puts it on top of the CDN providers. CDN.net also fully supports video-on-demand feature.
  • Origin Push, Origin Pull and Origin Shield: We have all debated the perks and the cons of Push and Pull CDNs from time to time. Push requires more effort on the user’s end, as the user has to create links to the file before sending them to the server. Pull CDN, however, is easier to manage. With Pull CDN, the content is fetched from the nearest edge server. All the content is cached in one place, and the CDN does all the work. CDN.net offers both the functionalities. However, additional costs are charged for Push feature. CDN.net also offers full support for Origin Shield.
  • Other Bells and Whistles: Both the service providers offer anti-DDos, DNS resolution and WAF options for the users. This increases the security of the platforms and allows them to communicate effectively without facing any hindrances on run-time. Control panel is also offer in both the services. This makes it easier to configure, manage and run the CDNs. CDN.net also offers Gzip compression, HTTP2 Protocol, SPDY Protocol and access to Raw logs.

What Are the Pricing Packages?

In terms of pricing, both the services strive to offer reasonable yet competitive packages for the users. Here is the overview of the pricing system for the services.

Price Comparison: AWS Cloudfront vs CDN.net

What Do We Have to Say?

CDN.net and Amazon CloudFront go toe-to-toe in terms of Content delivery, pricing and features offered. However, if we had to pick a winner, it would be CDN.net. It offers a higher level of support due to its years in the industry.

Furthermore, it is highly customizable, user-friendly and quite intuitive for beginners. CloudFront is relatively younger and has a lot to conquer before moving up in the world of CDNs.

If you want a CDN which can easily be integrated with your existing systems, then CDN.net should be your answer. It offers exclusive APIs for support. Moreover, if you want a CDN which triumphs in overall reputation, speed, efficiency, and optimization, then CDN.net is the perfect solution to all your requirements.

What is CMAF and the implication for HLS

HLS Upgraded with Support for Fragment MP4 Files and More

So far, HLS and DASH have been competitors in the streaming industry, but with the recent developments, HLS has now become compatible with DASH. What does this mean for the industry? What does this mean for the streaming protocols? How will this impact the current and traditional streaming practices? Those are some questions that we will try to answer today.

What Do We Know So Far?

Support for Fmp4:

Apple recently announced its support for fragmented MP4 files. Apple has finally included byte-range addressing for fragmented MP4 files, which means that the file will be playable in HLS without having to multiplex it into the traditional MPEG-2 Transport Stream. This new update will make HLS compatible with the current standard, MPEG-DASH.

This will definitely increase your storage footprint by 2 times, and the CDN efficiency will also be reduced. Furthermore, the converted content will not be reusable across different devices.

Previously, you had to multiplex your content into MPEG-2 Transport Stream, and then you had to multiplex your content into fragment MP4 files in order to be used with the native HTML5 playback. However, with the recent development, you will only have to multiplex your content once, and it will be supported by HLS and MPEG-DASH.

This development and support function was announced at WWDC16. Here’s a snapshot to give you a clear idea of how the HLS m3u8 will look:

If you want to test the support functionality by yourself, you can do that at the official HLS Test Asset released by the Apple developers. There are also some additional guidelines to help you understand the conversion method in a better way.

Here’s the key features when it comes to HLS support for Fmp4 files:

  • HLS content compatible with DASH and vice versa.
  • Encode and multiplex your content once.
  • Use the encoded files with HLS or DASH.
  • Reuse the same content for HLS and DASH to improve the CDN efficiency.
  • Negligible changes in HLS playlists.

DRM Protected Fmp4 Segments:

Simple support for fragment MP4 files isn’t the only thing new with HLS. It now also supports DRM-protected fMP4 segments using MPEG-CENC (Common Encryption). It is supported by all the major browsers, and MPEG-DASH already supports DRM protected Fmp4 files.

Offline Playback:

Users can now persist videos on their respective devices and can view them later on without the need for an active internet connection.

The applications will control the downloadable renditions of the video as well. This way, the application can only download the important media files and audio tracks for the users and save memory in doing so. FairPlay content can now also be played without any connection to the license server.

Here are the key points to give you a better idea:

  • Supports FairPlay streaming with cbcs mode.
  • Syncing the DRM technologies together.
  • Encode the data once and use it with Widevine, PlayReady, PrimeTime and FairPlay.
  • Control downloadable media renditions.
  • Offline playback available for times when you don’t have access to an internet connection.

In-Playlist Timed Metadata:

The new functionalities of HLS also support a new metadata format. It shares some common features with the ID3 tags, but it will not be packaged in the media stream. It will fetch the entire information in advance when you download the manifest, and you can use it for features like navigation control, etc.

If you want to take a cursory look at the new In-playlist timed metadata, here are some key points for you:

  • Similar feature support as ID3 tags.
  • Advanced information control when you download the manifest.
  • Advanced information can be used for navigation, etc.
  • Contains bindings for SCTE-35 tags.

The Bottom Line:

With the new updates, Apple has taken the first step to harmonize the DRM technologies together. The new HLS protocol will also bring together different streaming protocols, reduce storage footprint and allow you to use the same encoded files for different protocols.

This will make it easier for the users to switch from one technology to another. It will surely have a huge impact on the media and the streaming industry. We just have to wait and watch the effects as more and more users start using the new features.

Top Live Streaming Software For HLS

Live streaming is not just picking up your cellphone and broadcasting your video. Hundreds of micro-operations work in the background to make your live streaming easy, smooth and possible. Live streaming software use specific tools and encoders to connect you with the world.

Hardware and software encoders work together seamlessly in the background to connect your video with the different devices across the globe. Furthermore, there are encoders and streaming protocols which go into work when you start streaming live. HLS and DASH are the top standard protocols for live streaming nowadays.

Live Streaming Software for HLS

There are hundreds of online software available which claim the best live streaming qualities in the market. Let’s take a look at the top live streaming software compatible with Apple’s HLS.

Wirecast:

Telestream invented Wirecast for capable, efficient and professional quality video streaming and quick encoding. It allows the users to switch between multiple sources, overlay graphics on the live feed and also stream high-quality video with ease.

You can also mix different audios, add some graphics or video effects while live streaming to your fan base. Here is a cursory look at Wirecast and its key features:

  • Supports unlimited video and audio sources, such as cameras, mics, IP cams, capture cards, and NDI
  • Built-in graphics tools for quick video effects and overlay
  • Integration with Facebook Live and Twitter
  • Multi-Bitrate Support for continuous playback on devices
  • Instant Replays and scoreboard
  • Turn iOS devices into mobile live video sources
  • Local Output
  • Stream to multiple destinations at the same time

You can purchase the simple version for $695, whereas the pro version is priced at $995. It is compatible with Windows and MacOS.

VidBlasterX:

It is one of the best live streaming software compatible with HLS in the market. It offers a wide range of customization to the users and takes a brand-new approach towards live streaming. Let’s break it down in easily understandable categories:

  • Modular interface for maximum customization
  • Hot-key actions with scripting
  • Supports overlays and lower thirds
  • Support for Chroma Key
  • Live streaming and recording up to 4K resolution
  • Integration with social media platforms and OVPs
  • Audio mixer and video effects available at the run-time
  • Multi-view support to enjoy live feeds from multiple sources

The software is available in three different versions: Home, Studio, and Broadcast. The yearly subscription prices for these versions are $9, $99, and $999 respectively. It is only available for Windows OS at the moment, but will be made compatible with other OS in the future.

OBS Studio:

It is easily the best open-source live streaming software available right now. It started as community-based project for live streaming, but has now evolved into a powerful live streaming software compatible with HLS. Here are the key features that OBS Studio has to offer:

  • Live streaming, recording with audio and video mixing, filters, and transitions on the run-time
  • Scriptable hotkeys
  • Support for green screen
  • Graphics overlay for live feeds
  • Remote control via web-sockets
  • Advanced Screen switching between multiple sources
  • Powerful online support from the community

It is available for free, but one of the biggest disadvantages is the absence of multi-bitrate support. However, it is compatible with all the modern OS, such as Windows 7 and later, OS X/Mac OS 10.8 and later, and Linux.

Xsplit:

Video gamers use this live streaming software for its quick streaming and recording functionalities. It is a simple, yet powerful streaming software for quick broadcasting needs. Here are some key points for your consideration:

  • Support unlimited sources, such as cameras, mics, and IPs, etc.
  • Removes the background and only shows the webcam
  • Professional features and enhanced audio system with noise cancellation
  • Chroma key (green / blue screen) support
  • Integration with Skype
  • Record streams locally, edit and broadcast them
  • Seamless chat function for quick comments and feedback
  • Other custom plugins and integrations
  • Edit and upload recordings with built-in video effects and audio mix

Xsplit is a subscription based software. You can get this software to test for free, but once the free trial period expires, you can purchase the personal license for $89.95 for a 3-year subscription and $14.95 for a 3-month subscription. The 3-month subscription for Premium license is $24.95, while the lifetime license is for $199 only.

VMix:

It is not only a powerful live streaming software, but also a powerful and quick encoder for videos. It offers support for unlimited video sources, and can encode any format of video efficiently.

It offers NDI support and also multi-bitrate support for continuous live feed over varying internet speeds. Let’s take a look at other bells and whistles it offers:

  • Live streaming, recording for up to 4k resolution
  • Support for NDIs and capture cards
  • Supports unlimited video sources, such as cameras, cards etc.
  • Multi-bitrate support for all the users with different internet speeds
  • Built-in titling tool that includes animation support
  • Instant-replay
  • Slow motion feature.

While it is only available of Windows PC, it is still a powerful software for all your streaming needs. In order to ensure that the software supports your hardware, vMix offers a 60-day free trial. Once you decide to buy it, the basic version if free. However, the pro version is available for $1200. The pro version can easily support a powerful and complex studio setup for streaming.

The Bottom Line:

In reality, there are hundreds and thousands of live streaming software available in the market right now, and they all claim to be the best at what they do.

It all depends on your needs, platform and device. The encoders need to be compatible with your device and your targeted platforms. Furthermore, if you are not into raw broadcasting and want to add some spicy feature and effects to your feed, you need to opt for software which offers run-time graphics overlay and effects.

Whatever you choose, make sure to test it for free first or watch review videos on YouTube beforehand. You don’t want to buy a subscription for something you don’t want to use. So, compare, test and then make the decision.