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What is CDN, and how does it work?

When an individual searches for content on the website, data from the server travels across the internet before presenting itself before the user. CDN offers the necessary assets required to load heavy internet content like complex javascript files, images, stylesheets, and huge video files. Sites like Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix rely on CDN to serve web traffic.

How Does a CDN Work?

CDN works by creating a Point of Presence (PoP)at multiple geographical locations. In short, CDN works by placing content or data in many places at once. This way, users enjoy superior coverage, and data is delivered easily and faster. For example, if someone accesses your US-based website from Ireland, they get data served from a local UK-based PoP. This accelerates the response time and reduces latency & redundancy.


Caching allows several copies of information; they are stored to be extracted while searched to make the delivery faster. CDN uses caching to store a large amount of content on several servers. Here’s how CDN caching works:

  • When a visitor requests website content, the origin or main server gets the request.
  • The main server responds to the user directly and sends a replica of the answer to the CDN PoP that is nearest to the user’s location
  • The CDN PoP registers the copy of the response in the form of a cached document.
  • When the user requests the same website content the next time, the caching server responds instead of the origin or main server.
Dynamic Acceleration

Caching usually doesn’t work well for dynamic content. In such cases, instead of sending content requests directly from users to the main server, the nearest CDN server intervenes and does the job. The closest CDN server passes the request to the main server, and since they already established a trusted connection, they wouldn’t face network latency or data loss.

Edge Logic Computations

Programming the CDN server to perform computations can also help make communication easy between the user and the server. With logic computations, the server can inspect and modify user requests and caching behavior. It can validate the user requests and modify content before sending it to the end user.

How does CDN benefit your business?

1. Improves Website Load Time

When content is distributed to local CDN servers closer to the users, content gets delivered faster. Users experience a faster page load time, and the bounce rate for websites eventually decreases.

2. Bandwidth Cost is Reduced

Websites pay some big bucks for hosting due to high bandwidth consumption. CDN helps reduce this cost through caching and optimizations.

3. Content availability is Increased

Website functioning is affected when there’s a large flow of traffic or hardware failures. Since CDN is distributed in function, it can handle a large amount of traffic and can also withstand hardware failure to a great extent.

4. Website Security

A well-configured CDN helps protect websites from malicious attacks like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. DDOS attacks the main server by sending fake and irrelevant traffic to the website. Since CDN distributes traffic among intermediary servers, the effect on the main server is reduced.

Though there are other factors associated with page load speed enabling CDN will definitely play a small part. Speak to us to help identifying the right service provider!
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