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What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?
3/17/2023 - Brian O'Neill

routers and switches

What is a Content Delivery Network?

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) refers to a group of servers strategically distributed across widespread geographical regions with the goal of reducing content loading speeds (latency) for client devices in those regions.

It’s important to note that servers in a CDN don’t host content directly, however; rather, they simply cache content from an origin server at the network edge. In this way, they reduce the physical distance content must travel to reach a particular group of client applications/users.

What are the main benefits of CDNs?

By reducing the distance content must travel to reach a client application, CDNs greatly improve web content loading times in their locale, thereby improving the user experience.

If, for example, a popular video streaming service based in North America is preparing to launch an episode of a TV show for a global audience, it can leverage its CDN to cache the episode data in Europe-based servers so it can be accessed easily by European consumers upon release. Without a CDN in place, viewers based in Europe would be forced to wait much longer than North American viewers to buffer and watch the new episode. Each individual request to load that content would need to travel across the Atlantic Ocean and back.

While CDNs are primarily deployed to benefit content consumers, they also benefit the content provider in a few noteworthy ways. For example, caching content at the network edge reduces the volume of traffic making requests to a company’s origin servers, improving local performance and, by extension, cheapening web-hosting costs. A widely distributed content delivery architecture also passively decreases the likelihood of hardware failures and provides extra redundancy when failures do occur.

What other utility do CDNs offer?

Websites which rely on user-generated content (UGC) uploads can also leverage their CDN in reverse, increasing the speed at which their global diaspora of users can upload content from their device. This not only improves the user experience, but it also presents a new chokepoint for security redundancy. Similarly to reverse proxies, CDN servers can be configured with Virus Scanning software to weed out threats while new content uploads are conveniently cached at the network edge.

Can I Secure My Website's CDN Uploads with Cloudmersive Virus Scanning APIs?

Cloudmersive Virus Scanning APIs can be deployed within a CDN to quickly identify any viruses and malware present within your cached content. Advanced custom rules can be configured to block additional content threats including invalid files, executables, scripts, password protected files, macros, and many more.

For more information on how you can leverage our Virus Scanning APIs to protect your network, please feel free to contact a member of our sales team.

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