WebdesignJan Kahmen8 min read

What is a Content Delivery Network (CDN)?

CDN as an abbreviation stands for Content Delivery Networks. This is a large number of servers that are organised in geographically distributed groups.

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Content Delivery Network: Definition

CDN as an abbreviation stands for Content Delivery Networks. These are a large number of servers that are organised in geographically distributed groups. Their close cooperation makes it possible to provide content for the website faster and more reliably.
This internet content can be JavaScript files, entire HTML pages, videos, images or style sheets. Basically, there is hardly any limitation for CDNs. For this reason, their popularity continues to grow: especially large websites such as Amazon, Facebook and Netflix already rely on this technology. If the CDNs are configured correctly, they simultaneously protect against dangerous DDoS attacks and thus strengthen the security aspect.

Who needs Content Delivery Networks?

Companies that experience high traffic or international users benefit from the use of CDNs. In particular, the request for data from different regions can quickly push a website to its limits. This is because the data has to be transported across several nodes to its destination. This circumstance manifests itself in a long loading time of the website. However, it is very important to minimise loading times and thereby increase the usability of the page. Content delivery networks help here and optimise the transmission process.

  • Online retailers increase their conversion rate through faster loading times.
  • Public authorities benefit from high availability and can consistently fulfil their duty to inform.
  • Software providers can reliably provide their downloads and updates. Streaming services ensure reliable and fast delivery of their digital content.

How a Content Delivery Network works

Content Delivery Networks consist of connected servers. They are designed to deliver content quickly, reliably, securely and cost-effectively. One important aspect is the exchange points between the individual networks, which contribute to improved connectivity and speed.
Such internet nodes are the main locations of various internet providers. From here, traffic can be transferred to different networks. If there is a connection to such points, the providers can ensure high-speed data transmission. This saves costs and increases the speed of data transmission.
In addition, CDN servers focus on various optimisations of the transmission between the client and the server. If the data centres are strategically placed, security is also increased, as disruptions and overloading can be prevented.
Advantages and disadvantages of a CDN
The use of content delivery networks offers both advantages and disadvantages. As in any field, it is therefore important to consider these points beforehand. This is the only way to find out whether the company's goals can be realised with the project.

  • Better loading times and high stability.
  • The costs for your own hosting are reduced.
  • Extensive analysis possibilities.


  • The set-up as well as the operation go hand in hand with a high effort.
  • If the provider has no security precautions, incidents can occur.
  • Control of the data is handed over to an external service provider.

The problem with dynamic content

Dynamic content is a popular element in content marketing. Whether it is shopping baskets or news tickers is secondary. However, such content cannot be stored on the cache server. The reason for this is that each user receives individual internet content. This is precisely why such content is generally not suitable for the Content Delivery Network. Nevertheless, most providers have implemented a workaround to ensure accelerated data transmission.
Choosing the right CDN provider
Companies interested in CDNs are initially confronted with a wide range of offers. Although most service offers seem attractive at first glance, there are some aspects to consider:

  • Traffic management: For global traffic management, efficient load distribution should be ensured. For this reason, many providers offer an origin shield as well as additional caching layers.
  • Geographical characteristics: Companies must first check whether the providers operate globally or are active in the relevant regions. In doing so, GDPR compliance should always be taken into account in order to guarantee data storage in compliance with the GDPR.
  • Network security: It is particularly important that an additional service for network security is available. Such services protect against distributed denial of service attacks, for example. Secure bot management is also important.

The cost of a good CDN

The costs for good content delivery networks can vary greatly depending on the CDN provider. However, as a general rule, the costs increase with the size of the bandwidth. In fact, there are some free solutions, but they are not suitable for large-scale web applications.

There is also this to know

CDNs are a central technology for accelerated traffic. When choosing a CDN provider, it is important that they have sufficient expertise in IT security. After all, these systems are a central element for the success of the company.

How the Content Delivery Network improves the loading times of a website

Important key figures on page experience can be viewed directly via Google Web Vitals. To optimise this and other experiences, much emphasis is placed on SEO, content marketing and Page Speed. A healthy and well thought-out design is just as important as other technical basics. One such basis is the Content Network. The content delivery network thus contributes significantly to reducing the loading times of a website.
The basis for such a content network is targeted load distribution. To ensure optimal performance, CDN solutions are distributed globally and offer users extensive resources. A combination of CDN and CMS brings a decisive advantage: due to the geographical distribution of the servers, users can access all data faster. The special features of this combination of CDN and CMS can be excellently seen in the Google Web Vitals.

How to keep a website online with a CDN

In addition to a well thought-out SEO and good page speed, another important factor influences the success of a website: Its availability. This is a critical component that can be affected by various aspects. These include hardware failures as well as traffic spikes or even cyber attacks. Unlike a normal web server, the CDN server ensures that the site is always available. The result is that potential downtime can be avoided.
The basis for this is optimal load distribution. The evenly distributed network traffic makes it easier to scale the traffic.
The Content Delivery Network and Security
When it comes to data security, the Content Delivery Network has a lot to offer: Data security is a fundamental and essential part of this technology. The website is protected by up-to-date TLS/SSL certificates. These contribute to a high standard of authentication, integrity and encryption.

Conclusion - a CDN can be worthwhile

Anyone who operates a high-traffic website will benefit from using CDN solutions. They distribute the load of the traffic excellently. Especially when it comes to transferring large amounts of data, they are the ideal solution. After all, a lot of pictures or videos can otherwise make the website slow and sluggish. In addition, websites that can be accessed from many countries benefit from this approach to web design. There is a simple reason for this: the data can be provided directly from the nearest server.

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