Over the years the Internet has proved to be a critical concern for businesses and individuals. As speeds improved more could be done and shared online. Now, we have reached a point where high-definition videos can easily be shared online when in the past grainy and pixelated images were the norm. Increased speeds and bandwidth are often attributed to this steep rise in quality. However, consent delivery networks (CDN) are often, and erroneously, left out of the discussion. In this article, we will look at what exactly is a CDN and how you should choose one to meet your organization’s needs.
What exactly is a CDN?
So you have fast Internet with bandwidth so wide to rival a small ocean, but what happens when your servers, hosting provider, or cloud platform hit a snag and must go offline? If your content was stored in one location then it must also be rendered offline. Downtime can become an incredibly costly affair and the longer you’re offline the costs of downtime can exponentially increase.
CDNs were developed to counter this issue. This is done by hosting content across several data centers, sometimes in different countries entirely. This means that if one location is down due to a calamity or just routine maintenance the content that is the lifeblood of your organization can still be delivered to customers and potential customers. Content delivery networks then should do as advertised on the tin, and continually deliver content. So choosing your provider across a host of cdn providers can be vital to future success.
How to Choose the Right CDN Provider?
When researching the right CDN provider for your needs it is easy to become overwhelmed with the opinions of experts or what is the correct CDN strategy. Your first port of call is choosing the right CDN partner. To simplify matters we have provided three rules your chosen provider needs to meet before you sign on the dotted line.
Network Size and Distribution
This is vital. If your provider only has a few servers and they are barely spread geographically then they are not for you. Several of the most popular CDN providers have over 100,000 servers sometimes a lot more. Some providers will spread these across Europe and North America which can suit businesses in those locations but for a truly global reach look for a provider who has server locations in South America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Setting up your infrastructure to work in tandem with a CDN is not the simple plug-and-play process many of us wish it to be. There is a strong likelihood you will encounter snags and this is when your chosen provider’s customer support will make all the difference. Here we advise you to find out if the support offered is in-house rather than a third-party call center with in-house being the vastly preferred option. Chat, email, and phone options need to be available along with 24/7 support.
Your accounts department will thank you for taking this one seriously. Before signing up you need to know exactly how you will need to pay, how their pricing is structured, and how will pricing differ when you move up the tiers. Many providers charge on a data-used basis, per gigabyte as an example, and prices may also change based on geography. All of this needs to be researched to see what is the best fit for you.
If you approach choosing your CDN provider with these three rules in mind you will likely choose the provider that meets your current and future content delivery needs.