Content Delivery Networks (CDN) allow dedicated server administrators to offset some of the load from their servers, using strategically distributed servers hosted by a CDN service. Although the most basic goal is to reduce load on the server, it can also be used proactively to increase overall access speed, increased fluidity of dynamic websites, and reduce bandwidth by serving content to users from locations geographically closer to their connection point.
Some common CDN features include:
On-demand storage – Usually served on a per-gigabyte basis, this can be used for backup, caching, or general storage.
Dynamic site acceleration – Dynamic sites normally require access to a database server and constant on-the-fly creation of web pages. A CDN may offer a method of caching repeatedly accessed pages and even hosting the databases or applications themselves.
Media Delivery – In the world of social media and streaming content, a CDN can deliver HD-quality video, high-quality audio, and other media, without bogging down your servers.
Electronic Software Delivery – If you deal in software, first-time downloads and upgrades can be costly, and bandwidth can add up quickly. CDNs offer affordable delivery systems.
Analytic software – In addition to providing the delivery of content itself, many CDNs also provide analytic services to track your usage statistics, and even provide marketing tips to help you make your content distribution more effective.
Ad Delivery – Some CDNs offer ad services that can distribute your custom ads with little effort on your part.
Using a CDN is a great way to reduce stress on your server’s hardware and also make the distribution of content a less involved process for the already busy system administrator.