Push vs pull – which CDN is best? Why can’t I have it both ways?

Often you see posts describing the difference between push and pull CDN but which is best for you? And why can’t you have it both ways? CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, a network of multiple locations that deliver your content to the nearest user, as opposed to one server location, which can take time to deliver the content.

CDN allows users speedy access to your web content, less time loading and buffering, but there are difference types of CDN. So which one is best if they both do the same thing in the end? I’m going to try and show you the difference between push and pull CDN and convince you that sometimes the simplest way is the best way when it comes to content delivery.

What are Push and Pull CDNs? – Well it’s all in the name 

Push CDNPush CDN

Content is distributed proactively to edge servers in your chosen CDN locations and the web content is automatically populated in the CDN PoP closest to your end-user’s location. So when the end-user sends a request for a file (html, video, css etc) the CDN has it all ready it a neat package and it’s delivered seamlessly into their browser.

The catch: Push CDN means the user (that’s YOU) has to form these links to files, and format it all to “push” it out to the CDN, and this will need to be maintained. So whenever there’s an update or change in the content you need to PUSH it back out to the CDN.

Pull CDNPull CDN

When the end-user sends the request for the web content it “pulls” it down from the nearest edge server (cdn location). All the content is cached in one place and the CDN does the work to pull it down into the end-users browser.

The catch: It needs to be said, that the first person to send a request to a new CDN location will find it hasn’t yet pulled that information and cached it ready for viewing. Making their experience seem no different to a site without CDN enabled. But once that first request has been made, the content is cached, and there it will stay until you tell it otherwise.

But which CDN is best? Push vs Pull

Here at CDN.net we provide a PULL CDN. We believe it’s the best option because you, the user, have fewer configurations and less to maintain. Once you’re up and running that’s it… All done! CDN is enabled and you can use lots of free ping checkers online to prove that.

Pull CDN is often used for smaller files, such as website images, javascript, css and html files. Making it the ideal CDN for web designers, especially for those working on website template platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or Magento. When all you need to get started is your CNAME record and an out-of-the-box CDN plugin.

If you’re a web designer and use a web platform such as WordPress it can all be done with a CDN plugin such as W3 Total Cache. You tell the CDN plugin your CNAME record, which is given to you on your CDN package purchase and the plugin does the rest for you. You can read how to integrate cdn.net with WordPress here, using W3 Total Cache Plugin.

In fact we’ve created a few pages to show you how to set up CDN for the platforms Drupal, Joomla and Magento. Magento has it’s own native support for CDN, so there’s no need to download an external plugin at all.

How much does CDN cost?

CDN.net provides a range of packages to match your particular requirements. You choose what you need, where you need it and pay for it when you use it. It’s all here in the pricing page.

If you still need convincing that CDN.net is the simplest CDN option for you, then why not try it for free for 30 days and see what happens. CDN.net provides a FREE CDN trial for those that can find it. (Clue: click the link!)

What about CDN for live streaming and video on demand

CDN.net’s low latency CDN can serve multi-format video without stutters and buffering. Once the content is cached on the closest edge server to your end-user there it will stay until it expires.

Live streaming – CDN.net is based on OnApp CDN and the live streaming capabilities are enabled by Wowza Media Server 3, the leading high-performance media server.

  • Adobe – RTMP / RTMPE / RTMPT
  • Android – RTSP/RTP
  • Flash – HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS)
  • Apple – HTTP Streaming (HLS) for iPhone, iPod, iTouch
  • Microsoft – Smooth Streaming for SilverLight

Video on Demand – deliver video with YouTube-style features like fast forward and rewind:

  • HTTP Pseudo Streaming support includes FLV (Flash Video – .flv) and MP4 (QuickTime container – .mp4, .f4v, .mov, .m4v, .mp4a, .3gp, and .3g2)
  • 264/AAC content in MP4 container files can be delivered to any supported player
  • Playback is up to 1080p
  • Uses Nginx to serve videos through normal http

Video on Demand is available for:

  • Adobe® Flash®
  • Apple® iOS: iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod® touch
  • Microsoft® Silverlight®
  • Apple QuickTimeTM
  • AndroidTM, Blackberry® & other 3GPP platforms

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