Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have risen to prominence over the past few years. And in today’s globally connected and media-hungry world, CDNs are becoming increasingly important – not only as a way to save on bandwidth costs and help balance network loads, but to provide a reliable level of service to people in every corner of the globe. However, CDN Hosting differs from normal web hosting in a few key ways. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what makes CDN Hosting different, and discuss some of the pros and cons of opting for a CDN instead of hosting everything yourself.
Are CDNs the best solution for any website?
With ADSL and fibre connectivity becoming increasingly ubiquitous around the world, it’s possible to deliver more content and larger files to more people. But as broadband technology has improved, more people than ever before are connecting to the internet and expecting the same levels of service. In standard web hosting, all content is sent to the user from the source. By contrast, CDN hosting involves storing locally cached copies of your site’s content on edge servers around the world. For instance, when someone in Japan requests content from your site, the edge server closest to the user is located, and the content is delivered along the shortest route possible. As such, CDN Hosting isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution: if your site is hosted locally and the bulk of your customers are local, you probably won’t see much of an improvement.
CDN Hosting takes some of the pressure off your network environment, but it’s not an all-in-one solution.
There are many options for CDN Hosting – from the plethora of commercial options available, to creating your own – and each option comes with its own pros and cons. Outsourcing to a third party means letting go of the wheel to a certain extent, but with that comes the peace of mind that the experts are handling things for you. There’s also the question of scale to consider – should your website traffic explode overnight, you won’t need to worry about buying new servers or renting more server space. By and large, though, the biggest benefit of CDN Hosting is the reduction of latency. As far as user experience goes, latency is typically the most influential factor, and being able to deliver content to people around the world at the same level of service goes a long way to keeping your users happy. However, it’s unlikely that opting for CDN hosting will solve all your problems. For starters, some of the most common problems for content delivery, outside of latency, are third-party content and server-side lag – neither of which can be solved through CDNs. Even the biggest CDN success stories involve supplementary technologies like Front End Optimisation (FEO) and Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) to ensure they can meet the demands of their users.
So what does that mean for CDN Hosting?
CDN Hosting has undoubtedly made the internet more accessible for people around the world, especially in the case of content-heavy, media-rich sites. But that doesn’t make it the go-to solution for anyone looking to improve user experience and delivery times. To find out more about whether you should investigate Content Delivery Networks for your hosting needs, download our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Relationship.
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