How a CDN Offers Fast, Secure Performance at Affordable Rates

Any Internet service that uses traditional web hosting isn’t getting the most out of their bandwidth. A CDN can improve speed regardless of the size of downloadable files, spike in user traffic, and the type of content served to users. Before you implement a CDN, you might wonder how a CDN offers fast performance. Here are a few items a CDN support for better performance and security.

SSL/TLS Support

Web users are more concerned with privacy than they were a decade ago. It’s important that a CDN offers encryption support using SSL or TLS for your public-facing applications. CDNs support SSL/TLS to keep user data secure. Supporting web encryption also protects end users from man-in-the-middle attacks (MitM) attacks.

Support for HTTP/2

Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP) is the protocol for transferring data from a web server to a user’s browser. HTTP/2 is the latest version of this protocol that allows SSL and non-HTTPS sites to transfer data. The improvements in HTTP provide better performance and faster transfer of data. CDNs that support this new protocol version offer the fastest speeds available to users and origin servers.

Several Network Locations and Data Centers

A CDN’s Point of Presence (POP) provides the application with several cached instances on edge servers located at a data center. These edge servers deliver content based on the requestor’s location. Instead of having one origin server deliver content from one location, a CDN delivers content from several locations based on the recipients geographic location.

The CDN you choose should have several POPs for faster speeds.  Not only can you leverage a data center’s advanced technology, but by using a CDN you also use PoPs for proximity to your users. By providing users with a content delivery system close to their location, it’s delivered much faster. Should one server crash or be unavailable due to network issues, a CDN will deliver content from the next closest location. CDNs provide constant content delivery without the worry of crashed servers or downtime due to broken equipment.

Analytics and Performance

Most traditional hosts don’t offer traffic analytics. You can get analytics using applications embedded on a website, but these applications are mainly for SEO and traffic. A CDN can give you resource usage statistics and performance that gives insight to server performance. These statistics help application developers and site owners detect when resources must be upgraded. CDNs also provide usage statistics on your application as a whole rather than statistics based on user traffic as they access specific pages.

Content Purging

CDNs speed up content delivery by caching static content from an origin server. This content is cached on every edge server across each PoP. When content is old and must be updated after a new deployment, a CDN provides tools to purge this outdated content and force the edge server to download the most recent information. This provides application owners with the ability to ensure that customers receive the latest content from the origin server.

Overall, a CDN speeds up any application regardless of the speed of a traditional origin server. These services are better for security, reliability, integrity of the application, and performance.

 

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How a CDN Can Speed Up Your Video Content

Most people have watched at least one  YouTube video, and streaming from this site is never slow. Users expect streaming from any site to be as fast as YouTube browsing, and it can be done with the right infrastructure setup including a CDN implementation.

On-Demand Video Streaming

Deployed video content comes in several different formats. You should decide which one is right for you, and any format that you choose will be compatible with a CDN setup.

The first format is a direct download. This isn’t the most common, because the user must be able to download the video and run it on a local desktop. Short video files aren’t too large, but longer video requires a few gigabytes. A CDN will cache this data and deliver downloads faster than forcing users to connect directly to one origin server.

Progressive downloads are much more popular. When a user requests a progressive download video, the server sends content bit-by-bit. Users are able to view content within seconds of accessing the video page. As the user watches the video, the video is downloaded in the background. If you’ve ever lost an Internet connection while streaming video, you’ll notice that you can continue watching for a few more seconds even after losing connectivity. This is progressive downloading at work.

HTTP streaming is similar to progressive downloads, except this format determines the speed of the recipient’s video player. When resources and Internet speed are low, the player downgrades the size of the download. The content transferred requires fewer bits, and the user can still watch content even with a slower Internet connection. If you’ve ever watched a Netflix video, quality of video reduces when your Internet connection slows down.

With all three off these options, a CDN can help speed up transfer of data. Users connect to a CDN’s edge server that’s closest geographically to the viewer. Using cached content and CDN servers closer to the user will speed up delivery and create high-quality output regardless of the type of video content that you deploy.

Live Video Content

With live video, you won’t be able to cache content but you can still integrate a CDN. Using a CDN, you can increase bandwidth and transfer speeds. The biggest problem with live video is the spikes in traffic to view the content, and you stream direct from your location to the user. Users experience. With a CDN, you can add more bandwidth to the user’s connection and transfer video content at optimal speeds regardless of the amount of traffic that requests live stream video.

Remember that you still need enough server resources on your origin server to store and deliver content to the CDN, but overall implementing CDN resources can increase performance on video content.

Any website owner that wants to host content should use a CDN, and before you think it’s an expensive part of site infrastructure, it’s actually an affordable way to speed up web content including video streaming to your viewers.

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Why Your Website Could Still Be Slow Even with a CDN

While a CDN is an affordable way to speed up applications, the way you configure your network and origin web server can still affect performance. Adding a CDN to your infrastructure is guaranteed to improve reliability and performance, but the amount of improvements that you receive from a CDN addition depend also on your own web application server. With any web application, you can still experience slowness should you not consider certain configurations and resources available from the origin server.

Insufficient Hardware Resources

Your origin server is the main application server where the CDN pulls data and caches it. Should your server have low resources, even a CDN can’t do enough should you have a spike in traffic. You still need a fast server with enough resources to handle traffic. Low resources such as RAM, CPU and hard drive power will reduce the efficiency of your web application. When you determine that you want to integrate a CDN into your infrastructure, you should also ensure that your main application server also has enough resources to handle the data transferred to the CDN network.

Slow Network Resources

When a CDN server pulls data from your origin server, the speed at which the content can be transferred depends on several factors including your network resources. If you have low bandwidth from shared hosting or you don’t have the network speeds to keep up with demands, you could see a slow transfer of this data.

Bandwidth is especially important when you have large files that must be transferred from your own network to data centers across the CDN network. Most ISPs have efficient bandwidth traffic for customers, but web applications hosted on a local network should have enough bandwidth installed on the local network to transfer large files quickly.

Third-Party Software Installations

Having dependencies in your applications is nothing new for developers, but any third-party additions to your web application should be tested for performance. Some dependencies could be the entire issue for a web application’s performance.  Performance issues could also be from third-party tools installed on the web server.

Before installing any dependency or third-party tool on the web server, test it in a staging environment. Performance and any interaction with production software should be tested especially with critical servers.

Cache Settings

Although a CDN edge server caches content, your web application should also be set to cache static content. Static content is any HTML, JavaScript or CSS code that does not change regularly. Because this content is static, you don’t need to do a full lookup on the server to generate a server response.

In some cases, the administrator might have conflicting cache settings where one overwrites the other and changes the cache configurations. These server response settings can be tested after deployment in both staging and production environments.

Once these settings are configured, you can re-test your application and use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. With the right server resources and CDN configurations, your website will be fast regardless of seasonal traffic and spikes in popularity.

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Is Adding a Game CDN to Infrastructure Expensive?

Whenever you think of adding hardware to your infrastructure, the immediate assumption is that it will cost thousands of dollars upfront. The fact is that a game CDN is actually an inexpensive way to improve performance, increase availability and reliability, and better your content security. It costs much more to have your server crash due to high levels of traffic compared to the low-cost, scalable addition of a CDN.

Gaming Content Delivery

For game developers, content is always pushed to clients. Whether it’s a mobile app or a desktop gaming application, content is pushed to users during updates and expansions. It’s during this time that severe performance degradation happens. Too many users connect to the server at once, and at the very worst it could crash due to too much traffic. It’s similar to a DDoS, but the traffic is legitimate and isn’t malicious.

A CDN can completely eliminate the overhead during these deployments. Using a CDN, content is pushed to data centers that house edge servers in different geographic locations. These edge servers store updates and expansions in server cache, which is a very fast way to store data. Data stored in cache is processed by the server without the database lookups of normal requests.

When a user requests data, the request is sent to the closest edge server available. If for any reason this server is overloaded or unavailable, a CDN will send traffic to the next closest server available. It’s the difference of losing traffic and customers to a crashed server or having users connect to available resources.

Performance and Scalable Costs

Performance enhancements in the IT world usually means high costs and employee time to install the equipment. It usually means employees must spend time maintaining the new equipment. This isn’t the case with a CDN deployment. The site can be configured to use the CDN, and after its configuration no maintenance or changes are needed. Configure your servers, and that’s all it takes. The CDN takes care of the rest.

Costs don’t have to be astronomical to get started with a CDN. You can pay as you go and start with $.0125 per gigabyte at CDN.net. What’s beneficial for developers is that costs scale with your game (or any application) popularity. If your peak traffic is seasonal, your costs are lowered based on slower months. When your season is back to high traffic, then you harness a CDN’s performance benefits with scaled costs.

A crashed server can cost a large, enterprise level application to cost millions in downtime. The cost to implement a CDN is far lower compared to the catastrophic downtime that can happen when you host only one server at a specific location. You can still keep your host and any origin servers, so implementing a CDN into your infrastructure takes very little time.

Several well-known gaming communities use CDNs to create a reliable and stable platform for customers.  Without one, developers risk losing gamers to high ping times, choppy content delivery, and poor speeds. Implementing a CDN into your infrastructure is a valuable way to maintain reliability, and it’s an inexpensive part of your deployment.

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Using a CDN for Top-Notch Speed at Scalable Costs

Determining your software infrastructure is one of the most critical parts of the development process. When you’re in the development stage, resources aren’t an issue. After you deploy and publish your application, too few resources can lead to a crashed product. However, having excessive resources is an expensive part of IT. You don’t need to spend thousands upfront to have a reliable, scalable infrastructure platform for your software product. Using a CDN, your application can harness resources when it’s needed without the high costs of traditional hosting services.

Performance Benefits

The cloud has given developers and new companies the ability to scale costs as they grow. Traditionally, to host your own software you needed your own small data center in your office. You needed routers, cabling, servers, firewalls, and the IT people to manage it. It would cost new businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars to host their own application. Now, new businesses have the option of cloud hosting.

Cloud hosting gives businesses the ability to create virtual machines or pay for dedicated servers in the cloud host’s data centers. With a CDN, developers can then add performance to the service using edge servers cache. The difference between the virtual machine and the edge servers on a CDN is the amount of resources available to the servers. A virtual machine for a new business has enough resources to support users. The CDN’s servers download content from these virtual machines and cache data. Cached data served to users is much faster than forcing a server to process requests each time content is rendered.

It’s important to note that a CDN works with your cloud host. It’s an affordable addition that speeds up your application considerably. A CDN is especially beneficial for developers (such as gaming developers) that deliver content continuously, and then need users to download large files for updates.

Scaling Costs as the Application Grows in Popularity

Marketing and advertising are expensive, so every new application has  a set number of initial users. Most MVPs start with a targeted group of users that test out the product for viability on the market. If it’s determined that the product is worth a full-blown version of the software, marketing and development continues. An MVP needs different resources than a full application marketed to the masses.

You can provide fast performance at low costs based on the amount of resources that you use. The great part of cloud hosting combined with a CDN is that you pay as you go, so if you have less traffic one month or your business is seasonal, you pay less than when you have high levels of traffic due to busy months. As your application increases in popularity, your costs go up but only when revenue increases as well.

Scaling costs benefits large and small businesses and changes the affordability of IT, which was traditionally too expensive for a bootstrapped startup. Not only are CDNs affordable, but they also add reliability and speed to your application. At such a low cost, the benefits are worth the added infrastructure for your software.

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How a CDN Can Add Scalability to Your Applications

With any startup application, cost is always an issue. Developers don’t want to cut corners, but when a budget is set it’s difficult to determine the most important factors to include with the initial launch. IT infrastructure is generally expensive, so any upfront costs take a huge cut of your budget. Not every factor in IT has to break your budget. With a CDN, you can scale costs as your application popularity grows.

Easy Integration

One factor to infrastructure and development being so expensive for an initial launch is integration. You need the right equipment and the right application programming to seamlessly combine them all into a user-friendly environment. A CDN makes integration easy for everyone involved in the development process. It’s a lightweight solution that brings performance and security to an application. A CDN takes away much of the technical overhead so that developers can focus on application code.

Security

Application security is one of the most difficult things to implement for new developers. Developers don’t have the knowledge of a security expert, so they need help with protecting their assets including customer data. A CDN can protect from several attacks including DDoS activity. Traffic and application files are distributed among several different data centers. Should an attacker launch a DDoS attack against one specific data center, traffic can be rerouted to others. Another benefit is using the CDN’s DDoS detection systems. DDoS attacks are notoriously spontaneous and no warning is given before they happen. A CDN has the right infrastructure in place to alert administrators and application developers that an attack is currently in progress.

Reliability

When you host an application in one location, should that one location crash the entire application fails. This interrupts service for your users, and it can frustrate users so much that they quit using it. Reliability is a necessary component for any application. There’s no excuse for any application to fail when it’s using a CDN. A CDN can keep an application active even should your origin server crash. While you figure out technical issues on your origin hosting servers, a CDN keeps content cached on their own edge servers allowing users to still get content 24/7.

Better Performance

Traditional hosting servers aren’t able to keep up with the demands of a global market. There are many more users connected online, and a global application might have to support thousands of concurrent users. When thousands of users connect to the same origin server, performance suffers. This is especially common for gaming developers during initial launch of a new game or after an expansion release. By distributing content across several servers, developers are able to lessen the load on servers and offer a closer data center relative to the user’s location.

Cost

Because you pay as you go, costs for a CDN also scale with application popularity. You pay a low monthly cost as development happens, and you only pay increased fees as you gain more users. A CDN brings more than just IT benefits, but with pay as you go plans you have a way to keep costs low while building a user base from marketing and press.

 

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How Game CDNs Support Changes in the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry is changing. Games that could fit on a floppy disk have evolved to high-resolution, large files that need several DVDs to store them. The alternative route of delivery from a developer is a download stored on the host server. Games that compile to an executable that contains several hundred gigabytes of data can take hours to download for a user with slow Internet connectivity. Add the issue of thousands of user accessing these download files at the same time, and a popular large gaming service could struggle to stay accessible. This issue can be avoided with a game CDN.

Blizzard World of Warcraft Launch Day Failure

In 2004, Blizzard released its MMO World of Warcraft and set up its servers that allowed users to download the game and any patches and expansions in future releases. What Blizzard didn’t expect was the massive amount of users that wanted to download on release day, and the result was poor performance and crashes when thousands of players attempted to download the installation files at once.

Most developers would love to hear that their game was too popular for servers to handle, but for gamers it’s extremely frustrating to download a game from a server that can’t handle the spike in traffic. User experience is affected, and it can even reduce revenue from users that get frustrated and give up.

Blizzard continued to have this issue with most of its expansions, and most World of Warcraft users knew that downloading content on release day would be a hassle. Some bought the DVDs instead, and others just waited for the bugs to get fixed. Blizzard now has millions of subscribers and has moved content to better content servers including a CDN.

How a CDN Changed Blizzard’s Game Performance

Any gamer who loved WoW knew that expansion days were when the game would slow, and many of them avoided playing the first day of a release. This poor user experience has been alleviated using a CDN. Blizzard integrated a CDN into its infrastructure, and what was once a disaster for gamers is now relatively fast. Downloads are fast, and gamers can access the game even when it’s busy from new players.

Blizzard does this by deploying content to a CDN. Gamers download content from a data center that’s in close proximity of their location. They no longer access one origin server at one Blizzard data center. By distributing the content across a CDN, the bandwidth and resources are separated instead of having thousands of users connecting to one origin server.

The change in Blizzard’s infrastructure can be seen by any gamer who downloads the executables and plays the game. Compared to years ago before WoW developers incorporated a CDN, the reliability and speed for gamers has severely improved.

Pay-As-You-Go Service at CDN.net

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft isn’t the only game that’s improved performance of content delivery. The gaming industry has moved to CDNs to create a better user experience for gamers who expect fast ping times.

Adding a CDN to gaming infrastructure seems expensive, but you can pay as you go and save costs based on scalability. As your game increases in popularity, you pay more for bandwidth but you start with a low cost until the business grows.  It’s one piece of the puzzle that improves user experience from the very beginning instead of allowing a game server to crash on release day.

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Leveraging Pay-As-You-Go CDN Pricing for Developers

Improvements in website performance usually come at a price, and these small costs add up to larger IT spending to support the web application. Most costs require a flat increase in your monthly fees, but what happens when you need to scale up or down based on revenue? Your bill is too expensive during slow seasons, but you need to scale up during busy seasons. With CDN.net and new pricing pay-as-you-go structure, you can pay for only the resources that you use.

Do You Even Need a CDN?

Before implementing any extra infrastructure, developers want to know that the added expense is worth the effort. CDNs have revolutionized the way many larger networks do business. Gaming developers can deploy patches without performance degradation. The movie industry leverages CDN speed for streaming. Even the IoT market can take advantage of a performance boost.

A CDN gives you the power of a distributed network with data centers and edge servers located across the globe. They are especially valuable to developers that need reliability, scalability and fast download speeds for their distributed files. CDNs have recently been an integral part of applications that require large data downloads or frequent updates.

When developers use a CDN to better distribute content, they not only offer better speed to users, but they remove a lot of the strain on resources that could crash their servers. Content is sent to a CDN’s edge servers at data centers across the globe. These edge servers cash the content and distribute it to users located in close proximity. Developers no longer have thousands of users access a server to download several gigabytes at a time. Even some of the fastest web farms still suffer performance issues when this happens. Instead, using a CDN will distribute the content and take the load off of the web servers.

Another advantage is reliability and uptime. When housing your own servers, you could suffer from downtime either from a bug in software, hardware failure, or a loss in ISP connectivity. Most enterprise-level networks have disaster recovery backup systems, but for small businesses these are expensive and often ignored. A CDN will keep your content cached and available for users even while your origin server suffers from downtime.

Advantages of a Pay-As-You-Go Model

With a CDN, you can scale your service up or down but flat rates can be expensive during slow times. With CDN.net’s pay-as-you-go model, you only pay for the resources that you use. This price then scales with your system, so it drops when you have slow periods and scales up when you truly need the performance boost from traffic spikes.

A CDN might seem like an unnecessary cost upfront, but the performance boost will eliminate the possibility of lost revenue due to a website that can’t handle a traffic spike. Users lose confidence in web applications that aren’t able to load, perform poorly, or don’t deliver content in a reasonable amount of time. With a CDN, you eliminate these hassles and provide a good user experience for any user regardless of where they are located.

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3 Ways CDNs Improve IoT

Technology’s future weighs heavily on the expansion of IoT. The Internet of Things offers a large array of automation in homes and industrial environments. These devices can power an entire home if it’s IoT ready. Because IoT devices must be able to “phone home,” they need reliable connections to the cloud. Developers need a platform that can scale as more users are added to the environment.

Medical Devices and Reliability

The medical community is usually last to adopt new technology, but this isn’t true for IoT. IoT is widespread in hospitals. They use these devices to communicate with a central network or a vendor’s central communication site used to collect data and store it safely. If a vendor’s site fails, the Iot does not function correction, and this can be dangerous in a hospital environment. These medical devices need a platform that’s reliable every day of the week and at any hour of the day.

A CDN has better reliability than a traditional server farm, because a CDN has data centers across the globe. A failed ISP connection or even a loss of a critical router could mean a severe interruption in service for IoT devices that need to connect to an API. With a CDN, connections can be rerouted to another available server with limited interruption while the outage is repaired.

Game CDNs and Real-Time Content Delivery

Gaming developers need a way to continuously deliver content without interrupting the user experience. Before CDNs, gaming developers would take servers down for hours as they updated their game’s content. As the content updated, gamers were unable to play their favorite games.

With a CDN, content delivery for a widely distributed global game has changed. The developer can host the latest patches on a CDN and continuously deliver content to any gamer across the global, including IoT devices. Mobile games have long been the popular choice for gamers on the go, and a CDN ensures that these customers are always able to retrieve content quickly without any downtime.

Driverless Cards and the Future

Google and Uber are in an epic race to become the first company that engineers a reliable driverless car. Consumers will no longer need to pay attention to the road and turn on all distractions. Instead, consumers will be looking for ways to pass the time on their long drives to work. This opens an opportunity for IoT manufacturers to come up with ways to stream content directly to the user.

Users can take conference calls, sit in presentation meetings, and even watch their favorite movies. Streaming content will no longer be a dangerous activity, but developers need a way to stream content quickly even if the user is in a rural area. With a CDN, developers can come up with ways to entertain driverless car users and keep them productive even when away from work.

The future of IoT is bright, and it’s unknown at the same time. One thing is known, however. These devices need a reliable connection that can also handle millions of users. With a CDN, IoT platforms and systems can support continual streaming, large data transfers, and the scalability for growth.

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Using a CDN to Support Changes in IoT Technology

Decades ago, you could assume that a user connecting to your site had either a desktop computer or a laptop. Now, numerous desktop, mobile and IoT devices could be connecting to your application. Each one of them have their own resources, screen resolution, and UI methods. It’s almost impossible to foresee the number of devices that could potentially use your site in the future, but there is one thing that you can always depend on — a CDN will support speed and performance even when users have a slower connection.

Speed and Mobile Devices

Since Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, mobile device use has skyrocketed. Users no longer prefer a laptop to browse the web. Instead, they prefer a smartphone or tablet. Many gadget geeks have the latest iPhone or Android the minute it’s released to the public, but plenty of others stick with older devices. These older devices don’t have the bandwidth and resources to support large amounts of data.

Mobile device connections in rural areas exacerbate the slowness issue, and then a user halfway across the globe will load application pages slower than any other city location. With a CDN, you offer a performance boost when the user is able to connect to a closer server and get content delivered much faster than a traditional origin server.

Even a web farm can’t offer the speeds of a CDN. You can have several servers behind a load balancer, but the user is still forced to connect to a server halfway across the globe. With a CDN, users with slower connection see a performance increase when they are able to connect to the closest CDN edge server based on their current  geographic location.

Supporting IoT Speed

Internet-ready devices aren’t a new trend, but technology continues to evolve and improve IoT’s ability to communicate with the cloud. IoT has had some growing pains — security has been a source of many issues pertaining to IoT. These devices are also not made to support high bandwidth or large data transfers. Depending on the IoT device, communication with the Internet is necessary for functionality.

Developers create APIs to work with IoT devices, so they need a host that offers speed, reliability and scalability as more users connect their devices and rely on uptime. A CDN pulls data from the origin server and hosts it in cache. Should any one server fail, failover servers are available to support traffic.

What makes supporting these devices is the unknown. What’s current today won’t be current tomorrow. These devices might only transfer small amounts of data at the current date, but it’s possible that video and images could be integrated into these devices functionality.

With a CDN, the developer does not need to worry about speed and performance on the API server. The CDN scales along with the increase in user base, so the developers just need to focus on the stability of their code and deploying updates. They no longer worry about the numerous devices and the ability to render data quickly. The bottleneck is no longer the developer’s API but the ability of the device to work with the application’s data.

With IoT, the future is unknown but what is known is that these devices can perform regardless of where the future takes them based on the speed and reliability of a CDN. Developers can no longer rely on infrastructure at one location but rather build a system that uses several data centers across the globe.

 

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