Your IP: Unknown · Your Status: ProtectedUnprotectedUnknown

Skip to main content

Content delivery network

Content delivery network

Content delivery network definition

A content delivery network (CDN) is a distributed system of servers across the world that caches internet content near end users. Its main goal is to improve website load speed and performance by bringing its content closer to users. To achieve that, it stores a cached version of the website’s content in multiple locations, also known as points of presence (PoPs). Each PoP has a number of caching servers responsible for delivering the content to visitors nearby.

See also: overlay network, server hosting, point of presence

Content delivery network benefits

  • Shorter page load time. Because the user can access content from the nearest server, a content delivery network helps a website load faster.
  • Global reach. With servers around the world, a CDN can help a website reach users in many different countries more efficiently.
  • Scalability. A content delivery network can handle large spikes in traffic, making it easier for a website to deal with lots of visitors at the same time.
  • Reliability. Because there are multiple servers, if one fails, the CDN can still deliver content from another server.
  • Bandwidth reduction. By caching content on the edge servers, CDNs reduce the data load on the origin server and save bandwidth.

Content delivery network security and privacy concerns

  • Data privacy. Content delivery networks could potentially access, store, and cache sensitive information. For example, because of the way CDNs distribute content, they could track users’ location based on which server is accessed.
  • Data security. Since CDNs store and cache data across many servers, this widespread distribution can be a point of vulnerability. A breach in one of these servers could expose sensitive data. Besides, CDNs are usually provided by third-party services. If these services have vulnerabilities or are compromised, the content could be at risk.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security