The other day I wrote a post, “What Is A CDN?” where I explained what exactly a CDN (Content Delivery Network) is, how it works, and what it does.  I’d like to elaborate a bit on the post and go into a few of the things you can do with a CDN, how it could be beneficial to your site (large or small), and how you can do it for a relatively low price.

There are typically a few different types of Zones you can configure with a CDN – push, pull, vod, and live (still relatively new).

Push Zones are built for larger files that rarely change. The data is uploaded to a storage array which is then automatically pushed to all of the servers in the CDN. The files remain until modified or the zone is deleted. (e.g. PDF’s, Installers, E-Books)

Pull Zones are for your every-day files. A Pull Zone will automatically pull the data from a location that you specify upon the first request for the file. The data is automatically deleted from the server after an customizable amount of time. (e.g. CSS files, Image files, JavaScript files) – Note: this is the type of zone I’m using for BestTechie.

VOD Zones are built for video and audio streaming. The data is uploaded to a storage array which is then automatically pushed to all of the servers in the CDN. The files remain until modified or the zone is deleted. (e.g. Flash, Windows Media, QuickTime)

Live Zones are built specifically for live video or audio. The live content is received from a stream that is specified. The stream is then rebroadcast to the end users from a domain (or sub domain) of your choice that points to the CDN. The stream remains active until the zone is deleted. (e.g. Live video, Radio station, Live Webinar).

Scroll: digital publisher savior or false prophet?

Using a CDN can really speed up your website, I’ve noticed that BestTechie has been much snappier lately ever since I migrated all of my static data to the CDN.  And as I’m mentioned in the past as to why page load times are important, you can see the need for a fast loading website is imperative and a vital part of success.  People don’t want to wait for a slow website.

In terms of price and cost, I have found an excellent CDN (I believe) who have great prices, great support, and excellent server locations all over the world.  My CDN recommendation is MaxCDN.  They are currently hosting a signup special where the first 1,000GB are $10 (the usual price is $99).  It’s a pay as you go service so you only pay for what you need.  Sites big, medium, or small should take note of this offer, if you are serious about growing your website you definitely need to look into using a CDN.

  • From my perspective, traditional content delivery is fine for most sites, even large ones with a fair amount of files. In my experience with using a CDN, its almost always for video feeds and VOD. In fact, having used most of the large ones, their control panels are nearly exclusively for creating video feeds. I have also found the cost to be exhorbitant when traffic steps up but have used CDNs for clients needing the extra boost and multi stream-type delivery needed for live video feeds to be viewable on many types of devices.

    For my money, I will still stick to traditional server style delivery for static files. Beisdes, large content storage of any kiind should not slow your web pages down, it isn’t like youre loading all your stored download and video files to the browser before your page loads. What is the point in incurring extra hosting fees for document storage?

    Final word; traditional storage for static content files, CDN for live, streaming video and VOD.

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