Project Planning and Management

Content Delivery Networks

Read More

March 1, 2012 Posted in Project Planning and Management

If you run a very high traffic web site and you would like to:

  1. Reduce your server load
  2. Deliver web pages, images or data quickly to a worldwide audience
  3. Minimise your bandwidth costs
  4. Have a quick and easy solution to all three of the above…

You may wish to consider offloading content to a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

What are CDNs?

Content Delivery Networks do exactly what they sound like they do – deliver content. They primarily do this by acting as a cache, though most CDNs will allow you to load content directly to them. Some CDNs will also let you stream flash files and video. Each CDN serves content via a multitude of Points of Presence (POPs) around the world, so latency (ie, the time it takes to receive a request) is minimised. As their primary (and only) purpose is to serve up enormous amounts of data, they are geared up to do this very quickly and at very reasonable costs.

How does it work?

As with all caches, the original content always resides on your server. You simply change the URL references on your web page to point to the CDN, rather than your server. A URL is set up on the CDN, which points to a matching location on your server, being the root location for the files – you don’t need to set up a URL for each file.

If a request comes in, the CDN will first check its cache to see if it has the file. If it doesn’t, it will load it from your server. This process is called ‘Origin Pull’.

Example:

This simple example shows how we can modify your site to start utilising a CDN. If your site is template based, the changes can be made relatively quickly and easily.

Original URL: www.4mation.com.au/images/ubeaut.jpg

CDN URL: www.cdn.net/4mation-images points to www.4mation.com.au/images

The URL thus becomes: www.cdn.net/4mation-images/ubeaut.jpg

Mini Case Study

Using the above technique, we were able to offload approximately 15 gigabytes of data traffic per day from a client’s site, resulting in a sizeable reduction in server load as well as a considerable reduction in monthly bandwidth costs. So, not only did the client save money, but his site actually became faster!

Get started with a CDN today

If you’d like to know more about how CDNs work, or how they can be of the best benefit your site, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly and helpful staff.

For insights, tips and news join our newsletter