What is a content delivery network (CDN)?
A content delivery network, or content distribution network (CDN), is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and data centers. and data centers. The goal is to provide high availability and performance by distributing the service spatially relative to end-users. CDNs came into existence in the late 1990s to alleviate the performance bottlenecks of the Internet, even as the Internet was starting to become a mission-critical medium for people and enterprises. Since then, CDNs have grown to serve a large portion of the Internet content today, including web objects (text, graphics, and scripts), downloadable objects (media files, software, documents), applications (e-commerce, portals), live streaming media, on-demand streaming media, and social media sites.
CDNs are a layer in the internet ecosystem. For example, content owners such as media companies and e-commerce vendors pay CDN operators to deliver content to their end-users. In turn, a CDN pays Internet service providers (ISPs), carriers, and network operators for hosting its servers in their data centers.
CDN is an umbrella term spanning different content delivery services: video streaming, software downloads, web and mobile content acceleration, licensed/managed CDN, transparent caching, and services to measure CDN performance, load balancing, Multi CDN switching and analytics, and cloud intelligence. Additionally, CDN vendors may cross over into other industries like security, DDoS protection, web application firewalls (WAF), and WAN optimization.
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A content delivery network, or content distribution network (CDN), is a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and data centers.