So what is a CDN anyway, and why is a Multi CDN Better?

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A CDN or Content Delivery Network places web server clusters (PoPs or points of presence) in strategic geographical locations across the globe to improve the responsiveness and locality of the content (images, videos, javascript, CSS, etc.) it hosts for end-users. The aim is to improve the end-user experience by ensuring that web sites are fast, reliable and robust, deliver a consistent service level and exceed the performance expectations of all end-users no matter where they are in the world. 

So if I’m not using a CDN, then how is my website currently serving content to visitors?

In most cases your server is likely serving your website content  using the following method.

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As you can see in the image above, all content is being served from one central server. If your target users are located in a small geographical region around your server, then this method might be all you need. However, when users start visiting your site , from the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world, they will start to encounter website load time issues. Last time we checked the speed of light had not gotten any faster!

We’ve built a handy tool which lets you test your site speed from various points across the globe. Test out  your site speed test here and let us know how you go.

Okay, I now understand how web servers traditionally work, how do CDNs work then?

As we briefly touched on at the start of this article, a CDN works by replicating content across a network of servers located across the globe. The aim is to beat the speed of light issue by bringing your website content closer to your users.

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As we can see in the above image, instead of users having to load content from one server (which might be far away from them), they instead load content from whatever CDN server is located closest to them.

By reducing the distance between the user and where the content is being hosted,  the content doesn’t have to travel as far (reducing the latency), which in turn reduces the website load time. Consider that websites often have over 100 objects that need to be retrieved for a single page view – that is a lot of round trips! The faster you can make each trip, the better.

So ideally you want to have as many PoPs (points of presence) around the globe as possible, to allow your users to load your site as fast as possible. This is where multi CDNs really shine.

CDNs sound like a really good idea, but I haven’t heard of a Multi CDN, what is that?

When selecting a traditional CDN you’re limited to the regions and services they support. If they have a major outage then your website breaks. In some regions one CDN provider might be slower than their competitors, and in other regions they could be faster. The larger, so-called “enterprise” CDN providers with large networks coverage are usually extremely expensive.

The MetaCDN Multi CDN combines a range of existing CDN providers into one large global network, as seen in the image below. The MetaCDN technology dynamically optimizes and blends cloud services from leading cloud and network infrastructure providers across the globe to rapidly, securely and reliably accelerate web content to users wherever they are.

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By combining multiple CDN providers into one network, you get access to their aggregate power and reach, with the peace of mind of automatic failover to redundant networks in each region.

Why a Multi CDN is better:

  • CDNs are selected based on what will be fastest for the individual user. If there are multiple providers in one region, we will serve content from the fastest one.
  • If a CDN providers network goes down, we will route traffic through another provider. This means we can guarantee a 100% service uptime.
  • You get access to a huge amount of CDN locations, which wouldn’t have been possible with one provider.

If you’re interested in testing out our Multi CDN, then head over to MetaCDN and test out our free trial.

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